Hawley hits back at Facebook’s dark money group targeting his anti-trust push

Hawley: Biden spending plan is bringing socialism to US

Senator Josh Hawley discusses Biden’s spending plan and warns of Big Tech’s impact on free speech.

Sen. Josh Hawley isn’t surprised that a Facebook-affiliated dark money group, the American Edge Project, is targeting him, the self-proclaimed “fiercest critic” of Big Tech in Washington. 

He argues Facebook is just “desperately afraid” of the tech competition he is trying to promote. 

This week, pro-tech advocacy group American Edge Project, which has collaborated with Facebook and ex-political figures on the Democratic and Republican side, released an ad on Facebook addressing news that Hawley’s book has become a bestseller. “Instead of promoting policies that will forfeit America’s edge to our foreign competitors, Senator Hawley should promote policies that support American innovators. Misguided policies could threaten our nation’s vibrant startup and small business economy,” the group wrote on Facebook.

“The monopolists are squirming!” Hawley wrote on Twitter. 

American Edge Project spent between $500 and $599 on the ad, which was shown in Virginia, Maryland and D.C.

The group contends that small businesses need tech platforms to sell their products and services. Former GOP New Mexico governor Susana Martinez, former Democratic Rep. Chris Carney from Pennsylvania, and Bradley Smith, a former Republican commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, are leading the group. John Ashbrooke, a former top aide to Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is consulting for the group. They argue lawmakers shouldn’t “weaken companies that share American values as they compete in the global marketplace.” 

The group has come after Hawley a number of times this month. 

Hawley, in an interview with Fox News, said that the threat that America would lose innovation to other nations under his antitrust legislation is Big Tech’s “latest talking point.” 

“Really it’s hilariously funny when you think of how these companies have sold out this country over and over again. These are companies that were eager to do business with Communist China.

“Their latest lobbying line is America needs Facebook so Chinese tech companies don’t take over the world. What we really need is competition in our digital markets in the tech space.”

“In my view, the best way to compete with the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese tech companies is not monopoly, it’s competition and innovation,” the senator added. “That’s what Facebook is desperately afraid of.”

Hawley said he sees growing bipartisan interest in new antitrust legislation, pointing to proposals from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who chairs the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee. “I really think that there could be a lot of common ground there,” he said. 

Last month, Hawley introduced a bill that would broadly ban mergers of companies worth more than $100 billion, and a separate bill that would ban companies that own online marketplaces or search engines from owning online hosting services. 

In his new book, “The Tyranny of Big Tech,” Hawley writes about legislation that he’s introduced in the past, including banning the “infinite scroll,” where websites such as YouTube or TikTok allow people to scroll without end and issue automated recommendations. 

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