Feb 26, 2019

Ashkan Soltani Sees FTC’s New Tech Antitrust Task Force As a Sign They Are Taking Antitrust Issues Seriously


Critics Are Wary of the FTC’s New Tech Antitrust Task Force

By Issie Lapowsky

AS THE US wrestles with what to do about the tremendous power its technology giants have amassed, the Federal Trade Commission is launching a new task force, which will keep tabs on the industry's competitive landscape and assess mergers both past and present. But critics say the creation of the task force is little more than an exercise in virtue signaling for a regulator that has lately failed to bring any meaningful action against tech monopolies.

In a call with reporters Tuesday, the FTC’s Bureau of Competition director Bruce Hoffman said the new 17-member task force will have the power to investigate both future mergers and finalized ones. Hoffman declined to name any specific companies that might soon face investigations, but this news won’t likely be welcome to companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google. All of them have consolidated their respective markets in recent years, and are already facing increasing calls for antitrust action from the public and members of Congress...

While some tech critics, like former FTC chief technologist Ashkan Soltani, saw the announcement as a sign that the agency is taking antitrust issues seriously, others worried the task force amounts to little more than bureaucratic reconfiguring for FTC lawyers...


Ashkan Soltani is a MIMS alumnus (2009), and an independent researcher and technologist specializing in privacy, security, and behavioral economics. 

Last updated:

February 27, 2019