WeChat, TikTok Reported to be Added to US Tech Antitrust Bill



· 1月20日

The news came after the Federal Trade Commission chair vowed to strengthen the antitrust enforcement and TikTok's marketing head was said to step down abruptly.

BEIJING, January  19 (TMTPOST)—Tencent’s popular social media WeChat and ByteDance’s short video sharing platform TikTok could face new U.S. regulations as senators considered adding them to a antitrust bill.

Source: Visual China

Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, and Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, plan to offer an amendment to their antitrust bill on Thursday to change the definition so as to include WeChat and TikTok , the U.S.-based political journalism company Politico cited sources on Wednesday.

The bipartisan bill, which seeks to curb domination in tech industry by banning platforms from giving advantage to their own products, could be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee as soon as Thursday. It has spurred Silicon Valley giants’ opposition and the Chamber of Progress, a group backed by tech companies including Apple, Alphabet’s Google, Amazon and Facebook’s parent Meta, earlier Wednesday warned the Biden administration of political risks the bill imposes because to reinforce regulations on the tech industry is not voters’ major concern and to support the bill could hurt Democrats ahead of midterm elections in November. White House is going to hold a meeting this week with tech critics and representatives from small digital companies to discuss ways to rein internet giants, Bloomberg quoted people familiar with the matter.

The news came right after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) chair Lina Khan, vowed to strengthen the antitrust enforcement the same day. FTC won’t “back down because of these companies flexing some muscle or kind of trying to intimidate us”, said Khan, a prominent big tech critic who made her name by a paper titled "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox", in an interview with CNBC. Khan saw “a fierce sense of urgency” to act on antitrust issues. “I think there’s an opportunity here to really change and learn from the mistakes of the past and that’s what we’re going to try to do,” she said.

Prior to Khan’s comments, FTC and Department of Justice announced to launch a thorough review on corporate merger guidelines on Tuesday, when TikTok’s head of marketing Nick Tran was said to step down abruptly. Tran, who joined in the company in September, 2020, was ousted for “going rogue” the top management with multiple marketing stunts, the New York Post learned. 

At Tuesday’s statement about the abovementioned review, Khan said the agencies launched a public inquiry to seek input and information on specific areas such as use of market definition in analyzing competitive effects, unique characteristics of digital markets and threats to potential and nascent competition.

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