Tech giants Google and Amazon use a variety of methods to protect their interests. For example, according to CNBC, the Connected Commerce Council (3C), which poses as representatives of small business owners, is actually a well-funded advocacy group for Google and Amazon, which are its only sponsors.
On its website, 3C describes itself as a non-profit, membership-based organization whose sole purpose is to “promote small business access to essential digital technologies and tools”. But the list of its members includes small companies that are not even aware of the existence of 3C. More than 20 companies contacted by CNBC said they had never heard of 3C and didn’t know why they were listed as members. However, the organization’s website lists Google and Amazon as partners.
“Big Tech knows voters and their representatives aren’t very responsive to complaints from trillion-dollar corporations, so they chose to portray small businesses as the real victims of antitrust.” Michelle Kuppersmith, executive director of the nonprofit Campaign for Accountability, said.
To be fair, 3C has several active small business members who told CNBC they value 3C’s offerings and agree that it will protect their interests in Washington.
3C only has 304 Facebook followers*, but she’s been an active advertiser since creating her page in 2018. Ads sponsored by 3C often support the position of Google and Amazon, which fund the organization. In particular, the tech giants are fighting several bills in the US Congress that impose antitrust restrictions on tech companies or facilitate their full divestment. For example, 3C has opposed a bill that would ban companies, including Amazon and Google, from advertising their own products on online marketplaces at the expense of their competitors.
* It is included in the list of public associations and religious organizations for which the court made a final decision, activities on the grounds of Federal Law No. 114-FZ of July 25, 2002 “On Combating Extremist Activity”.