Biden urged by 32 advocacy groups to reject Big Tech influence

FILE PHOTO: The logos of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google in a combination photo. REUTERS/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Joe Biden was urged to reject the influence of Big Tech companies on his administration, by 32 antitrust, consumer advocacy, labor and related groups in a letter sent on Monday.

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that more executives from technology companies than outspoken tech critics were named to Biden’s transition team, offering clues on who will ultimately influence his administration’s thinking.

The letter urged that the Biden administration exclude executives, lobbyists and consultants working for or with companies such as Facebook Inc, Inc, Alphabet-owned Google, Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp . The groups argue that the companies’ business practices hurt consumers and the U.S. economy.

Signatories include Public Citizen, American Economic Liberties Project, Open Markets Institute, Progressive Democrats of America, the Revolving Door Project and Athena.

“We believe that your administration must confront the threats posed by the monopolistic Big Tech companies. ... however, we can only bring these companies to account if you do not rely on affiliates of these very companies to make up your government,” the letter said.

Microsoft, Google and Facebook declined to comment. Amazon and Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment. All companies, except Microsoft, are facing federal and state investigations against their business practices.

“We believe that eliminating the decades-old revolving door between Silicon Valley and your administration will only help your cause,” the letter added.

In October, Reuters reported Amazon and Big Tech were cozying up to the Biden administration with cash and connections.

Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Richard Chang