Google is emailing businesses that use its services to warn them about proposed antitrust legislation targeting major tech companies, a Google spokesperson confirmed.
The search giant is sending emails to small and medium-sized businesses that use Google services, like Ads and Analytics, with links to a blog post providing information on recent antitrust bills, Axios first reported. The post encourages businesses to subscribe to future updates about the legislation.
The bills, advanced out of the House Judiciary Committee in June with companion legislation currently being developed in the Senate, take aim at Big Tech’s allegedly anticompetitive practices. The bills target certain types of mergers, online platforms preferencing their goods and services and other potentially anticompetitive practices.
“Some of you have also expressed concerns about proposed regulations in Congress that would have unintended consequences for your business and could disrupt many of the digital tools you rely on every day,” Google’s blog post reads. (RELATED: Top House Antitrust Lawmakers Held Meeting With Facebook Whistleblower)
The post argues that if enacted, the antitrust bills would be “making your digital marketing less effective” and “hurting your productivity.”
Google also directs readers to statements opposing the bills from the Connected Commerce Council, Chamber of Progress and U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Progress statement deals specifically with a bill proposed by Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Chuck Grassley designed to prevent platforms from prioritizing their own services.
When reached for comment, a Google spokesperson confirmed Axios’ report, saying the company was contacting customers to better inform them on antitrust matters.
“As we’ve said, we’re concerned that Congress’s controversial package of bills could have unintended consequences, especially for small businesses that have relied on digital tools to adapt, recover and reach new customers throughout the pandemic,” the spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “We know our customers have questions, so we’re working to keep them informed about how these bills could impact the tools they rely on everyday to run their businesses.”
Amazon is employing a similar tactic, directing sellers to a website that encourages businesses to sign up to receive information on the antitrust bills.
“If enacted, these bills would jeopardize Amazon’s ability to operate a marketplace for sellers, potentially resulting in hundreds of thousands of American small and medium-sized businesses losing access to Amazon’s customers and services,” the site reads. “This would obviously hurt small businesses’ ability to generate the revenue they do today, and hurt hundreds of millions of consumers who appreciate the broad selection and lower prices that our selling partners provide.”
The site also directs visitors to statements opposing the bills from the Computer & Communications Industry Association, the Connected Commerce Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Republican Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, who co-sponsored the antitrust legislation, called Amazon’s behavior “a gaslight campaign.”
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