September 29, 2021
Are Big Tech Companies Colluding?
Some Republican and Democratic critics of “big tech” have alleged Facebook and Google may be engaged in illegal collusion around certain advertising markets. In a new insight, Jennifer Huddleston and Juan Londoño review the collusion allegations, note the unusual nature of these allegations against tech companies, and warn against over-zealous enforcement
Collusion is a specific type of violation of antitrust law that is distinct from monopolization or attempted monopolization. Antitrust enforcement is appropriate if companies make illegal agreements to restrain trade as such agreements could harm consumers and the free market. Still, policymakers and enforcers should not misuse this important policy to over-zealously condemn legal intra-industry cooperation. Such over-enforcement could deter information sharing or the development of industry standards and practices. As with other issues in antitrust, it is important that enforcers and policymakers remain focused on a principled approach that uses the appropriate tools to protect consumers and ensure the benefits of a free market rather than politicize this powerful policy to go after disfavored industries.