- US President Donald Trump is not a fan of Europe fining America’s big tech firms.
- But while he defended the companies, he also said his administration is exploring antitrust investigations that could result in the US levelling its own fines.
- His ambiguous position might be a ploy to keep the likes of Amazon, Facebook, and Google in limbo.
If Amazon, Facebook, and Google are nervy and a little confused by Donald Trump’s policies on big tech, then his comments on Sunday will have done little to reassure them.
The US president told “Axios on HBO” that his administration is looking “very seriously” at whether to launch antitrust investigations into the three companies.
Trump’s inspiration: Europe. Or more specifically, the $US5 billion fine the EU slapped on Google in July for abusing the dominance of Android.
Trump railed against the fine on the day it was issued, tweeting that the EU has “taken advantage” of the US and is punishing “one of our great companies.” He doubled down on this sentiment on Sunday, saying he didn’t like the EU sanctions.
But that doesn’t mean that the US president is averse to stealing the EU’s ideas. His logic is simple: If anyone is going to fine Google, it should be America.
“The European Union takes a lot of money out of our companies and I actually went to my people and said ‘you know, if they’re gonna do it we should be the one doing it, not them.’ These are our companies,” he told Axios.
Exploratory work is already underway, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions meeting with state attorneys general to discuss whether social-media companies are “intentionally stifling” free speech and obstructing competition.
And Trump has shown an appetite for attacking the likes of Google and Twitter for what he sees as their liberal bias, though his agenda against tech pales in comparison to his anger at the media.
Instead, the president is both praising and threatening Amazon, Facebook, and Google. All of which serves to keep these companies in limbo, which, as Axios points out, is exactly where Trump wants them.