Rumblings about the role of Big Tech in American society have coalesced into a storm long coming, with revelations that the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are contemplating sweeping antitrust investigations of Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple.
At any point in the past few years, these companies could have acted preemptively to head off the storm.
In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008–09, when bankers were the villains who nearly brought down America, tech and Silicon Valley were seen as rare bright spots in the American economic firmament, their founders and executives extolled as heroes.
But the winds have shifted, so decisively that Congress, too, is joining the act.
One prominent lawmaker has announced hearings about anti-competitive practices that are hurting consumers, and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has already called for the break up of the large firms, saying that they “have too much power over our economy and our democracy.”
These concerns appear a rare area of bipartisan agreement, enjoying support among both Republicans and Democrats.