Mobile billboards are arriving in front of houses owned by Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer in Washington DC and Brooklyn, aiming at persuading him to schedule a vote on bipartisan antitrust legislation which will check the powers of technological giants.
Billboards mounted on trucks are playing 26-minute wide clips of HBO Host John Oliver supporting the legislation in his TV show on HBO.
An advocacy group named Fight for the Future are paying for the ads.
According to Evan Greer, who is director of Fight for the Future, if Chuck Schumer is a majority leader, he should start acting like one and not like a minority leader. He added that Chuck Schumer is the only person who is standing between the bill and its passage.
In the show hosted by John Oliver, he took up the issue of the legislation and pointed out that Schumer’s daughters were working in these tech companies which will be affected by the bills. One daughter is working as a lobbyist for Amazon, while another daughter is working at Facebook as a product marketing manager.
According to Greer, Chuck Schumer is trying to protect these big tech companies for personal reasons.
Two bills named the American Innovation and Choice Online Act and Open App Markets Act are pending to be introduced in the house and senate,
If passed, both these bills can do a lot of damage to tech companies, which make use of their market positions and platforms to drive business in their favour.
Anti-competition practices of companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook would be exposed and stopped.
According to the US law, there should be at least 60 votes from the senate for the bills to proceed, while many think that the bills have bipartisan support, several lawmakers from both the Republican Party and Democratic Party have commented against the bills.
Some lawmakers, especially from the Democratic Party, made it clear that the legislation should not curb content moderation practices.
Last month, a democratic senator from New Hampshire, Maggie Hassan, reportedly objected to legislation on a conference call.
Angelo Roefaro, the spokesperson for Chuck Schumer, told the media that the senator supports the bill and is working with Senator Amy Klobuchar to get the votes.
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act is co-sponsored by six Republicans: Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Steve Daines of Montana. A seventh Republican, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, supported it in committee.
The associated Open App Markets Act, which would restrict Google and Apple from rigging their smartphone app stores against competitors, has some of the same sponsors, plus two additional Republicans, Senator Marsha Blackburn and Marco Rubio.