Amazon and Google are lobbying small businesses who use their services to oppose antitrust bills aimed at breaking up major tech companies, enlisting them to pressure lawmakers, Politico reported.
The companies are conducting a public relations campaign in an effort to drum up opposition to antitrust legislation proposed in the Senate, including a bill sponsored by Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar that goes after companies like Amazon and Google for prioritizing their own services in online shopping platforms, according to Politico.
The tech giants are using email campaigns, Zoom calls and online petitions, to spread the message that the bills would harm small businesses that rely on their platforms, Politico reported. Several technology trade groups, including the Connected Commerce Council, are also working to encourage small businesses to oppose the legislation.
Google and Amazon have been messaging small business customers and partners since October, sending emails directing businesses to blog posts arguing against the bills, the Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported. The posts have included links to statements from trade organizations opposing the bills, including the Computer & Communications Industry Association, the Connected Commerce Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The email initiative drew the ire of several lawmakers advocating for the antitrust legislation, including Republican Colorado Rep. Ken Buck, who called the companies’ efforts a “gaslight campaign.”
One small business owner who sells her products on Amazon, Kristen Rae of Inspire Travel Luggage, met with her representative, Republican Rep. Darin LaHood of Illinois, in a Zoom call organized by Amazon’s public policy team after receiving an email from Amazon arguing against the bills, Politico reported. Two other unnamed members of Congress told Politico that they received phone calls and emails from small business owners who had seen Amazon’s messages.
The Connected Commerce Council also arranged a meeting between Rae and Democratic Illinois Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Tammy Duckworth, Politico reported. The organization told Politico that it arranged 23 meetings between small business owners and lawmakers regarding the bills.
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