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Biden to nominate tech antitrust pioneer Lina Khan for FTC commissioner

Biden to nominate tech antitrust pioneer Lina Khan for FTC commissioner


Khan brought Big Tech scrutiny mainstream

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Antitrust: Lina Khan
Photo by An Rong Xu for the Washington Post

President Joe Biden has announced his intent to nominate Lina Khan, a legal scholar and leading voice in the growing tech antitrust movement, to serve as a commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission.

The pick signals that the Biden administration is preparing to take on some of the tech industry’s most powerful and influential companies. In 2017, Khan authored an article for the Yale Law Journal titled “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” which exploded in popularity in progressive economic policy circles. Khan has also served as an aide to the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on antitrust throughout its yearslong investigation into anticompetitive behavior in the tech industry. 

Khan’s nomination follows the appointment of Tim Wu, a Columbia Law professor, to work on technology and competition policy at the National Economic Council. Wu coined the term “net neutrality” and has been a prominent voice on the subject of antitrust regulation against Big Tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google. 

Biden’s choice of Khan to serve at the FTC comes as regulators, lawmakers, and the courts are facing immense pressure to take on Big Tech. The House Judiciary kicked off the second leg of its antitrust investigation last month and it’s poised to introduce competition legislation to rein in tech this spring. 

In February, current FTC Acting Chairwoman Rebecca Slaughter made remarks suggesting that the agency will take an aggressive approach to tech. Slaughter laid out her enforcement priorities, including competition in markets and algorithmic discrimination.

 “[M]any of the largest players in digital markets are as powerful as they are because of the breadth of their access to and control over consumer data,” Slaughter said at the time.