President Donald Trump escalated his ongoing clash with Amazon, Google and Facebook, suggesting in an interview Thursday that the booming companies may be in a “very antitrust situation” – though he stopped short of saying they should be broken up.
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“I won’t comment on the breaking up, of whether it’s that or Amazon or Facebook,” Trump told Bloomberg News. “As you know, many people think it is a very antitrust situation, the three of them. But I just, I won’t comment on that.”
Trump reportedly declined on multiple occasions during the interview to elaborate on whether the companies should be broken up under antitrust laws. However, he repeated his claim this week that Google has treated conservative voices “very unfairly” on its platform.
The president has criticized Google throughout the week, alleging the tech giant suppressed conservative news outlets in search results in favor of left-leaning organizations. During an Oval Office press conference, he warned that Google, Facebook and Twitter “better be careful” to avoid bias.
Trump also tweeted a video that accused Google of failing to promote live streams of his State of the Union addresses in 2017 and 2018, as it had done during former President Barack Obama’s two terms in office. Google disputed that allegation and said it does not filter search results by political ideology.
Trump has also traded barbs with Amazon and its CEO, Jeff Bezos, on several occasions both before and during his presidency. Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon's Worldwide Consumer segment, dismissed the notion the ecommerce giant is a monopoly in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last October.
“I think there’s a big difference between horizontal breadth and vertical depth,” Wilke said. “In every one of the [Amazon’s business segments], we have incredible competition. In worldwide retail, we’re less than 1%. We think our job is to keep inventing for customers in each of these areas, and we hope that if we continue to invent well, they’ll choose us to be one of the folks who wins. I don’t think any one of these areas is a football game where there’s only one winner.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) called Thursday for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google’s digital advertising practices for any antitrust violations. Google and Facebook earn the vast majority of revenue from digital advertising on web traffic.