“Monopoly rents are being imposed upon every website that is ad-supported and every company—small, medium, or large—that relies on internet advertising to grow its business,” Lee said in a statement. “It is essentially a tax on thousands of American businesses, and thus a tax on millions of American consumers.”
Meta declined to comment on the bill. Apple, Google and Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Big Tech claims that it simply presides over an open and free market, but in a truly free market the same party can’t represent the seller, the buyer, make the rules, and conduct the auction,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “And that is unacceptable in a free enterprise system — it hurts consumers and it hurts competition.”
The bill’s chief target appears to be Google, widely considered the largest player in online advertising due to its dominance across the ad stack that connects publishers and websites on one hand, and advertisers and marketers on the other.
The legislation imposes ownership restrictions on companies that report more than $20 billion a year in digital ad revenue. For example, such a company could own an ad exchange, but not the software that helps advertisers bid on ad inventory nor the software that helps publishers offer inventory for sale.
A second requirement would apply to a wider range of companies, those with at least $5 billion in annual digital ad revenue. For these businesses, the legislation would impose a legal obligation to, among other things, prevent conflicts of interest stemming from owning multiple parts of the ad stack; provide customers with transparency; and act in their best interests.