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Amazon declines to join Google, Facebook and Microsoft in French “Tech for Good Call”

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As antitrust suits loom, a digital tax appears as additional government option

Related to French “digital tax” hopes, and which may have future repercussions for other tech related regulation attempts, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook have” signs on for the “Tech for Good Call”. Amazon has declined which Apple continues to negotiate, according to reports. 

A list was released by the French government with signatures of 75 executives of tech companies who have signed up to the initiative so far. Notably, the list included Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft President Brad Smith. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Apple’s Tim Cook were absent, however. 

Read more: Apple is Coming: Facebook, Amazon and Google Surveillance facing US scrutiny and danger from New Software

For nearly three years President Emmanuel Macron of France has attempted to  convince  tech giants to begin collaborating with governments to seek remedies for a list of global challenges. Examples are; fighting hate speech online, preserving privacy or paying a so-called “digital-tax”, presumably to offset negative economic effects of the overwhelming dominance of big tech.

Reuters reports that Macron’s advisers said on Monday that the president had asked tech companies to sign up to a new initiative called “Tech for Good Call” underlining principles for the post-COVID world. This development comes as “anti-big-tech” sentiment is increasing, particularly during the massive profit spike the giants are enjoying due to a devastating world-wide pandemic.

A general publicity based initiative could be leverage for negotiations to rein in tech giants

Also, according to Reuters, the “Tech for Good Call” includes a non-binding pledge to “contribute fairly to the taxes in countries where (they) operate”; refrain & prevent  the dissemination of “child sexual abuse material, terrorist or extreme violence online contents”; and “support the ecological transition”, in addition to other things.

Read more: Cracks in The Wall: Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook Silently Declare War

Though not legally binding, it is expected that the French will use this tentative agreement to in negotiations during upcoming global forums on regulating Big Tech.

In addition to antitrust suits underway in the US and Europe, the idea of a “digital tax” is being explored and attempted with France and Australia leading the way.

In an article in today’s Wall Street Journal, citing multiple sources, that federal and state regulators are preparing four or more antitrust cases against the two online giants, separate from the antitrust case that the DOJ and 11 states launched against Google in October

The building chorus for regulation against Google and Facebook stem from the extremely dominant position each holds online, with Google having near total control of search traffic and advertising, while Facebooks monopoly in social media concerns its use of that position to monetize private data through advertising.

Also, according to Reuters, the “Tech for Good Call” includes a non-binding pledge to “contribute fairly to the taxes in countries where (they) operate”; refrain & prevent  the dissemination of “child sexual abuse material, terrorist or extreme violence online contents”; and “support the ecological transition”, in addition to other things.

Read more: Cracks in The Wall: Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook Silently Declare War

Though not legally binding, it is expected that the French will use this tentative agreement to in negotiations during upcoming global forums on regulating Big Tech.

In addition to antitrust suits underway in the US and Europe, the idea of a “digital tax” is being explored and attempted with France and Australia leading the way.

In an article in today’s Wall Street Journal, citing multiple sources, that federal and state regulators are preparing four or more antitrust cases against the two online giants, separate from the antitrust case that the DOJ and 11 states launched against Google in October

The building chorus for regulation against Google and Facebook stem from the extremely dominant position each holds online, with Google having near total control of search traffic and advertising, while Facebooks monopoly in social media concerns its use of that position to monetize private data through advertising.

“The supportive chorus of elected officials is giving assurance to [the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)] and the [Federal Trade Commission (FTC)] that they have the political support they need to blunt [the companies’] efforts … to pressure the agencies to back off or water down their cases,” former FTC Chairman William Kovacic told WSJ.


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