Majority supports antitrust review of tech giants: poll

More than two thirds of U.S. voters believe that tech giants like Google and Facebook should be subject to federal antitrust reviews, according to a Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey released exclusively to The Hill. 

Sixty-eight percent of respondents said that internet giants have largely built products and offer services with the goal of maximizing their profits and accumulating market power, according to the survey. Just as many believe that those companies should be put through antitrust reviews.

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In fact, 67 percent of respondents said that they believe tech giants have taken steps to reduce competition in the market. About a third, however, said they feel those companies have “largely acted in a fair way.”

Large tech companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook have come under increasing scrutiny in Washington, drawing accusations that they have amassed monopoly power in the tech industry. 

So far, at least two Democratic presidential candidates, Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren says gun control depends on Dem control of Senate, urges people to donate The Democratic debates left the underdogs behind The Hill’s Morning Report – Mass shootings put spotlight on Trump, Congress MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersHow Ferguson, Mo., now could help reform public education funding Political blame for mass shootings is not a solution The Democratic debates left the underdogs behind MORE (I-Vt.), have called for federal regulators to break up those companies. And just last month, the Justice Department announced a wide-ranging antitrust review into how those companies have amassed market power and whether they acted in anti-competitive ways.

Seventy-one percent of voters said they support the Justice Department’s examination of large tech companies, according to the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey, while 29 percent oppose the decision.

While voters were largely supportive of antitrust reviews of big tech companies, more than two-thirds said that the services they offer ultimately help consumers, while 63 percent said that tech giants like Amazon and Google were “helping” innovation in the U.S. economy.

At the same time, 62 percent of respondents said that those companies have helped create jobs in the U.S. 

Respondents were largely split, however, on the question of how helpful those companies have been in promoting competition. Fifty-one percent said they were helping competition in the economy, while 49 percent said that they were hurting it, according to the poll.

“Big tech has to take seriously now that, even though consumers are very pleased with their services and products, that there is public backing of full-scale antitrust investigations,” Mark PennMark PennPoll: Majority wants Trump, Congress to clinch immigration deal Majority supports antitrust review of tech giants: poll Trump approval rating holds steady at 45 percent: poll MORE, the co-director of the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll, said. “This is a significant development.”

The poll surveyed 2,214 registered U.S. voters online from July 31 to Aug. 1.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll throughout 2019.

Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.

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