Google once had Barack Obama’s ear, served as a revolving door for White House staff and saw its political agenda advance. In Donald Trump’s Washington, some conservatives say it’s gotten so powerful it should be regulated like a public utility.
Google is not alone in a fall from grace. Tech companies — including Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. — that were previously lauded as innovators are facing increased scrutiny over their size, their hiring practices and whether online news feeds skew liberal.
“The mood in Washington, at least on the right side of the aisle, is more critical of companies like Google and Amazon,” said Fred Campbell, a former Republican FCC aide and director of Tech Knowledge, which promotes market-based policies.
The shift in tone comes as Congress and the Trump administration consider changing tax, energy and immigration policies important to Silicon Valley. A regulation that protects data flows is already slated for gutting by the Federal Communications Commission, and, in Congress, a law has been proposed that would bring internet companies under a privacy regulator. Another would increase legal liability for website operators as a way to combat online sex trafficking.
Meanwhile, tech’s made no secret of its distaste for Trump policies. Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Apple Inc. and Facebook issued critical statements after the president proposed a ban on transgender people in the military, stepped away from the Paris climate accords and issued a ban on travel from majority Muslim nations.
The Aug. 12 street violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, provoked another rift. After the president…
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