Amid heightened concerns about social media censorship, Tennessee Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn is pushing legislation to challenge the power that Apple and Google have over the app store market.
Blackburn, who is a vocal critic of Big Tech monopolies, discussed her efforts to challenge the app store "gatekeepers" with Breitbart.
She noted that Apple gets a 30% cut of all app store sales, putting developers at a huge financial disadvantage.
"I have had conversations with the people from Apple, with Tim Cook. This is a huge revenue stream for them," she said.
Currently, Blackburn noted, iPhone users cannot download apps that don't "go through the Apple App Store, and I think you the consumer should decide what apps you want on own your phone and not [Apple CEO] Tim Cook.”
Blackburn said that Google is "less restrictive" with its app store but there are still obstacles for developers. Her bill, which has support from Democrats such as Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), "would remove Apple and Google as the gatekeepers," she said.
"It would open up the app marketplace, so you could get apps directly from the app innovator and it would remove Apple and Google’s ability to take 30 percent of the profit on those apps from these app innovators.”
The push comes amid a flurry of legislative activity surrounding Big Tech in the final weeks of the congressional session, with another bill, this one opposed by Blackburn, losing momentum as the end of the year approaches.
The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) has been sold as a lifeline to struggling independent media, but according to critics, it would empower legacy media "cartels" and enable more censorship of conservatives on social media.
Blackburn called the bill "garbage" and criticized backers for trying to include it in an annual defense spending bill, an effort that failed.
The focus on Big Tech comes as the Biden administration and its Democratic allies ramp up pressure on Twitter and its new owner, Elon Musk, for an alleged rise in "hate speech."
On Elon Musk's Twitter:
- Slurs against Black people have tripled
- Slurs against women are up 33%
- Slurs against Jewish people are up 61%
- And slurs against gay men are up 58%
These numbers are abysmal – and unacceptable.
Today, @RepMarkTakano and I are demanding action.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) December 8, 2022
The Tesla CEO has also angered the left by exposing the inner workings of the pro-Biden censorship machine under Twitter's previous owners, which many suspect helped Biden win the 2020 election.
Musk had recently claimed that Apple threatened to remove Twitter from its app store, which led to renewed concern over Apple's market power. Apple has also been drawing scrutiny for its ongoing role in aiding communist China's repression by limiting the AirDrop feature on iPhones.