Last month, Colorado Congressman Ken Buck published a new book called Crushed: Big Tech’s War on Free Speech. The book, released to local media fanfare, makes the case that the rise of “Big Tech” serves as a unique threat to the “very core of our political system” with serious implications for free speech and healthy market competition.
In the book, Buck calls out companies like Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon, which he believes dominate the market with their “money, monopoly power, and hubris that comes with the unchecked exercise of power.” He argues these companies participate in harmful “self-preferencing practices” to keep themselves on top of market competition and coerce consumers into purchasing their products.
These arguments are based on flawed logic and misunderstand both the nature of self-preferencing and the impact it has on consumers. Rather than being a nefarious mechanism to keep competition down, self-preferencing is when a “firm modifies its operations to privilege its own, another firms’, or set of firms’ products or services.” In other words, self-preferencing is simply the action a company takes to promote its own products, something almost all companies do and have done for a very long time.
Published in its entirety in Medium.