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Elizabeth Warren: It's time to break up Amazon, Google, and Facebook

Senator Elizabeth Warren says if she becomes president, she’ll move to break up Amazon, Facebook, and Google.

“Today’s big tech companies have too much power — too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy. They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation,” said Warren in a post on Medium.

Warren says her administration would make big changes to the tech industry to promote competition, including breaking up Amazon, Facebook, and Google.

The 2020 presidential candidate argues tech companies are “throwing around their political power to shape the rules in their favor and throwing around their economic power to snuff out or buy up even potential competitor.”

The proposal comes as tech companies have come under intense scrutiny on Capitol Hill for their use (or misuse) of users’ data — and as lawmakers call for legislation to protect consumers and their privacy.

In this Jan. 9, 2019 photo, media and guests mingle before a tour of Facebook's new 130,000-square-foot offices, which occupy the top three floors of a 10-story Cambridge, Mass. building. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

So far, Warren’s campaign promise is the most aggressive plan to regulate the tech industry.

Warren says her plan involves two steps.

First, she wants Congress to pass legislation that labels companies with revenue above $25 billion and that provide a marketplace, an exchange, or third-party connectivity as “Platform utilities.”

Warren would not allow those companies to own both the platform utility and the participant on that platform.

“Amazon Marketplace, Google’s ad exchange, and Google Search would be platform utilities under this law. Therefore, Amazon Marketplace and Basics, and Google’s ad exchange and businesses on the exchange would be split apart. Google Search would have to be spun off as well,” said Warren.

In this Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, photo, a woman carries a fire extinguisher past the logo for Google at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai. Internet traffic hijacking disrupted several Google services Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, including search and cloud-hosting services. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Next, Warren would appoint regulators who “are committed to reversing illegal and anti-competitive tech mergers.”

Warren said she would want to unwind Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods and Zappos, Facebook’s acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram, and Google’s purchase of Waze, Nest, and DoubleClick.

“Unwinding these mergers will promote healthy competition in the market — which will put pressure on big tech companies to be more responsive to user concerns, including about privacy,” said Warren.

Warren unveiled her proposal before heading to an event in Long Island City, New York — where Amazon withdrew plans to build its new headquarters.

Facebook and Amazon told Yahoo Finance the companies are not commenting on Warren’s proposal.

Yahoo Finance reached out to Google, but the company has not responded.

Jessica Smith is a reporter for Yahoo Finance based in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter at @JessicaASmith8.

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