FTC chair Lina Khan laid out her vision and policy for the Federal Trade Commission or FTC in a memo. The said memo was sent out to the agency's staff on Sept. 22 and was made public today.

FTC's New Principles

The goals that Khan presented were overseen by five commissioners who voted on policy statements and enforcement actions, according to CNBC.

The FTC enforces antitrust law together with the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, and they seek to protect the public from unfair business practices done by major corporations. They also investigate privacy violations.

Khan outlined a total of five principles:

The first one is to have a "holistic approach to identify harms." Khan stated that the FTC should recognize that antitrust violations and consumer protection violations can harm independent businesses, consumers, and workers.

Also Read: Amazon to Face FTC Probe Over MGM Acquisition: Reports

The antitrust framework is focused on consumer harm, and it is often viewed as the increase and decrease of product prices to know if there is any violation.

However, Khan argued that the framework needs a broader approach because they need to assess the harm caused by digital platforms, which usually charge little to no fees in exchange for growth.

The second one is to focus on "targeting root causes instead of looking for one-off effects." Khan stated that the agency's staff should look at how certain business models can help firms violate antitrust and consumer laws.

The third one is to integrate more analytical tools and skillsets for empirical assessments of business practices.

The fourth one is to be forward-looking and to be quick in mitigating harm. Khan stated that this principle includes paying attention to next-generation innovations, technologies, and nascent industries.

The fifth and last one is to democratize the agency by ensuring that it is in tune with the real problems Americans face every day.

FTC's Policy Priorities

Khan also laid out three policy priorities for the agency:

The first one is to address consolidation across several industries by revising merger guidelines for businesses. The agency must also deter illegal deals and those that overwhelm the commission resources.

The second one is to go after the dominant intermediaries and extractive business models. Those that centralize control and profits despite risks, costs, and liabilities warrant scrutiny as these types of relationships between the firm and entities can be a ground for abuse.

The third one is to assess how contracts set up unfair methods of competition. Khan noted non-competes and repair restrictions in the memo that she sent out.

Khan's Role at the FTC

Khan's time at the FTC is backed by progressives who view her as a fresh voice for the agency that has been criticized for failing to enforce the right punishment for tech companies that violated the law, according to Texas News Today.

Khan has been one of the leading voices for antitrust enforcement, and she even sparked a movement with her 2017 Yale Law Journal titled "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox."

Lina Khan's article was the reason why major tech firms asked the FTC to remove her from the ongoing antitrust investigation against them due to "bias," according to Bloomberg.

Facebook also filed a petition in July to recuse Khan, citing unfair treatment.

Despite the overwhelming support, Khan also has her share of critics. Two Republicans from the agency, Noah Joshua Philips and Christine Wilson, have criticized the voting session practices and stated that certain votes were rushed.


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Written by Sophie Webster

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