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Social Media Giants Duck for Cover as Washington Gets ‘Fed Up’

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(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. has touted its new plan to integrate the company’s messaging products and use encryption as a privacy enhancement. Insiders also say it could help stave off any effort by Washington to break up the company.

Tech giants are hunkering down in the face of a mounting bipartisan backlash after outrage over the failure of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter Inc. to swiftly remove video of the New Zealand massacre. President Donald Trump slammed Facebook, Google and Twitter on Tuesday for siding with Democrats, while the House’s top antitrust lawmaker called for an investigation of Facebook.

The onslaught is set to intensify as the 2020 presidential campaign gets under way, even as the candidates are spending big money on the tech platforms to spread their messages. Attacking the companies serves both sides: Conservatives can be seen as fighting liberals in Silicon Valley, while progressives can attack corporate power.

Republican Congressman Devin Nunes of California sued Twitter on Monday, while Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a Democratic presidential candidate, last week complained Facebook has too much power, winning an unprecedented retweet from Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a Trump ally. On Tuesday, Representative Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat and the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, demanded that social media companies testify about violent content.

“There is a sea change politically on Capitol Hill,” said Jonathan Tepper, the author of the “The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition.” “The left and right are completely fed up.”

Not long ago, tech giants like Facebook, Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc. were seen as the darlings of American capitalism. They went from startups to dominating markets like internet search and online retail, in the process joining the ranks of the most valuable companies in the world. Merger watchdogs were largely hands off as the companies gobbled up smaller firms to solidify their positions or enter new markets, as Facebook did with Instagram and WhatsApp.

Read the full article on Yahoo.com

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