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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Tech giants enlist mom and pop shops as antitrust allies - Los Angeles Times

Last updated Friday, December 3, 2021 20:42 ET , Source: NewsService

Online platforms made Mimi Striplin’s dream of selling handmade jewelry possible. Initially selling her earrings and purses on Etsy Inc., Striplin built enough of a customer base to quit her day job, market her wares on Facebook and eventually open a shop on Spring Street in Charleston, S.C., where new customers and devoted fans find her on Google Maps.

This year she spoke with the offices of her South Carolina senators to warn that antitrust bills introduced in Congress risked complicating the online tools she uses not just to reach customers, but also to organize her team, inventory and shipping.

Her argument wasn’t just on her own behalf. She was part of an accelerating campaign by giant technology platforms to use small-business owners to lobby against a series of antitrust bills aimed at Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Amazon.com Inc., Facebook and Apple Inc.

To build a chorus of popular opposition to this legislation, Google posted alarming alerts to the millions of marketers and business owners who use the company’s tool for buying ads and promoting themselves in search. A message at the top of Google’s online dashboards now warns these customers that “proposed legislation could make it harder to find your business online.”

But large tech companies aren’t the only ones tugging on congressional heartstrings with stories from Main Street. A network of anti-monopoly and civil society groups are also using small businesses to make the exact opposite claim — that Big Tech preys...



Read Full Story: https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/story/2021-12-03/tech-giants-enlist-mom-and-pop-shops-as-antitrust-allies

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