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White House announces that big tech critic Tim Wu will join White House

Big tech critic Tim Wu will join White House as special assistant to the president as Joe Biden seeks to address ‘monopoly’ issues

  • Wu has written skeptically about tech behemoths
  • He will join as a special assistant on National Economic Council, WH confirms
  • Biden believes it is ‘important to promote competition and address monopoly and market power issues,’ Press Secretary Jen Psaki said
  • But she said the hire did not convey new policy 
  • Wu compared Facebook practices to Standard Oil in the 1880s 

Tim Wu, a sharp critic of big tech who has argued for using antitrust laws against tech behemoths is joining the White House as a special assistant on the National Economic Council.

Wu, who taught at Columbia University and served on the Federal Trade Commission and worked for the New York Attorney General, wrote the book The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the hire Wednesday, but insisted the move did not convey new White House policy. 

Big tech critic Tim Wu is joining the the White House as a special assistant on the National Economic Council

‘We don’t have new policy to announce,’ she said. ‘The president believes … that it’s important to promote competition and address monopoly and market power issues,’ she said.

Wu has a ‘wealth of knowledge and experience about technology and competition policy that will help ensure President Biden’s agenda supports working families, strengthens the middle class and protects consumers. 

He helped develop the concept of ‘net neutrality’ to keep service providers from discriminating against types of communications. 

His appointment is backed by progressive groups and those who want to break up large tech ‘monopolies.’ 

'The president believes … that it’s important to promote competition and address monopoly and market power issues,' White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday

‘The president believes … that it’s important to promote competition and address monopoly and market power issues,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday

White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed reports that Wu will join the White House National Economic Council

White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed reports that Wu will join the White House National Economic Council

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos contended with repeated criticism from President Trump during Trump's term

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos contended with repeated criticism from President Trump during Trump’s term

Wu taught at Columbia University and wrote about the dangers of extreme concentration of wealth

Wu taught at Columbia University and wrote about the dangers of extreme concentration of wealth

Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump repeatedly railed against Amazon and tech firms like Facebook and Twitter while in office.

Following the 2016 elections, lawmakers grilled tech CEOs on their business practices, with lawmakers from both parties joining in with tough questions and speeches denouncing some of their conduct. 

Biden himself said last January that he favored revoking Section 230, which provides liability protection for online media companies for information third parties put on their sites. Trump has also repeatedly blasted the provision. 

Wu wrote in his antitrust book: ‘Extreme economic concentration yields gross inequality and material suffering, feeding the appetite for nationalistic and extremist leadership.’

‘You cannot simply buy your way out of competition,’ he wrote in a 2020 New York Times op-ed after the FTC and states filed a lawsuit against Facebook.

‘Facebook’s strategy was similar to John D. Rockefeller’s at Standard Oil during the 1880s. Both companies scanned the horizon of the marketplace, searching for potential competitors, and then bought them or buried them,’ he wrote. 

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