Five tech stories to watch in 2020

Five tech stories to watch in 2020

In 2019, the swirl of scrutiny and souring public opinion around Big Tech coalesced into serious regulatory threats as every relevant government body in the country launched investigations into the largest and most significant technology companies in the world.

Lawmakers pointed fingers at tech companies like Facebook, Google’s YouTube and Twitter as they worked to assign blame in the aftermath of horrific mass shootings and acts of terror, which went viral online. And they lambasted the social media companies for allowing lies and smears about politicians to spill unabated across their platforms.

The upcoming year is almost certain to bring an intensified level of antagonism and friction between the top tech companies and the U.S. government, with a stronger threat of regulatory action than ever before.

Here are the top tech policy stories to watch for in 2020.

In 2020, the word “antitrust” will become near-synonymous with “Big Tech.”

During the second half of 2019, the Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), nearly every state attorney general and a key House Committee all announced separate antitrust probes into the unparalleled power and dominance of the top tech companies. The level of scrutiny signals the government intends to rein in those companies, but it is unclear when or how.

Only the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple is certain to wrap up during 2020. The man leading the probe, House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee chairman Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), is vowing to put out a report about their findings in the “early part of 2020.”

Then, Cicilline says, he will unveil legislation designed to update centuries-old antitrust laws for the digital age.

“We want to introduce legislation with sufficient time to actually act on it,” Cicilline told The Hill.

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