Unchecked Power: The Root of Big Tech Issues

Omidyar Network shares its point of view on creating a fair and competitive technology ecosystem by restricting big tech power.

The dominant technology companies, such as Google and Facebook, self-declare as “platforms”. This means they own and operate essential infrastructure, provide services on which other companies depend, and engage in multi-sided markets. They deliver widespread conveniences and value to their users through their significant reach, features, and services. Yet, their unchecked market dominance, and social and political power is seriously threatening our individual freedoms, economies, and democracies.

From widespread, online disinformation and discrimination against vulnerable groups to questionable tactics to kill competition and pervasive surveillance practices, we have ample evidence that the status quo is creating adverse conditions for individuals and society at large

We, at Omidyar Network, believe that it’s time to rein in the power of these platforms and hold technology companies accountable for their role in fueling inequality and enabling harmful practices.This requires several remedies; starting with a better understanding of the harms created via these platforms. We also need a diverse toolbox of solutions—not just antitrust action and pro-competition regulation, but also privacy and data-use safeguards, better content standards, and clearly defined and sustained lines of public oversight.

To better steward technology and shape the rules of the road for the future, we believe that all people—including those who use tech or are directly affected by these companies’ business practices—should have a voice in how these platforms operate.

To learn more, read our perspective on curbing big tech power here.