With federal investigations looming and President Donald Trump making statements in favor of regulation, Big Tech companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook are being forced to weigh their options.
Now a left-wing activist group called SumOfUs has advocated the companies voluntarily split themselves up. The group pressures companies and claims to be “fighting for people over profits.” It’s also been part of the “resistance,” and protested Trump in the past.
It attended Alphabet’s (the parent company of Google and YouTube) June 19, shareholders’ meeting to propose: “that shareholders could receive greater value from a voluntary strategic reduction in the size of the company than from asset sales compelled by regulators,” according to Tech2.
“A group of Google employees is backing five of the proposals, which it helped craft,” Tech2 added.
None of the proposals presented were accepted. According to MarketWatch, “Alphabet said its current policies address the proposed measures,” but did not comment further.
According to Tech2, the proposals were long shots because “Alphabet’s top two executives, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, hold 51.3 percent of shareholder votes.”
But many different groups are demanding changes from the tech giants. Tibetan and Uighur ethnic group leaders have spoken out against Google’s work in China, and community activists in the Silicon Valley have pressured the company to fix the area’s housing problem. Both groups intended to rally at the shareholders meeting.
Google is also facing pressure from the federal government. According to the May 31, Washington Post, “The Justice Department has taken early steps toward opening a federal antitrust investigation into Google.”
Trump has said he supports regulation of all the tech firms. According to Tech 2, Trump said “U.S. regulators should follow Europe’s lead and look closely at tech companies’ monopolies.” Trump also claimed Google’s “search engine unfairly produces results unfavorable to him.”
In this environment, the future is uncertain for Alphabet and other companies. Tech2 suggested the current investigations and public backlash could indicate a future with “a growing focus on the prospect of antitrust action.”