Concerns over big tech competition and cybersecurity continue amidst Facebook’s Senate Banking Committee hearing Tuesday on the company’s Libra cryptocurrency.
“I believe in markets, I think that competition is the lifeblood of markets,” Hilton said. “That’s how you get innovation. That’s what our system is built on and in these vital sectors of the economy you basically have no competition.”
Hilton said there is “no real competition” among search engines, social networks and advertising. In particular, he criticized Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp and Instagram as well as Google’s acquisition of YouTube.
“I think it’s really urgent that we break up these companies,” he said. “Now there’s a first step you can take, which is to reverse the acquisitions they were wrongly allowed to make.”
Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion in February 2014 and Instagram for $1 billion in April 2012. Google acquired YouTube in November 2006 for $1.65 billion.
Hilton said he supports antitrust laws that would help break up big tech companies and added that most antitrust laws primarily center on the consumer’s needs. Hilton said laws should begin to focus more on startups that are looking to compete with the major tech companies.
“I think it’s really important for other factors to be taken into consideration,” he said. “Other startups that want to be the next Google, or the next Facebook or the next whatever it may be. We should be looking out for them as well. It’s getting harder and harder to break through.”
However, Hilton said he would not put Amazon in the same category as Facebook and Google because the e-commerce giant doesn’t have a total monopoly in certain corners of retail, such as book sales.
He added that Amazon is “actually quite a small part” of the entire retail market.
Hilton said big tech’s role in American democracy is also of great concern because of its dominance.
“If you had 100 Facebooks, it wouldn’t matter if one or two of them were completely biased.”