By Michael LewisThe Washington PostBusiness InsiderIn a sign that digital commerce is on the verge of transforming the way Americans buy, buy and shop, the Federal Trade Commission has announced that it will begin issuing subpoenas to digital media companies for information about the amount of money they’re making and whether they are paying their workers a living wage.
The FTC has previously issued subpoenas for the financial statements of Facebook and Google.
However, these companies have been reluctant to hand over their financial information and have often said they would fight back if subpoenaed.
“While the commission has a strong interest in protecting the interests of consumers, we will not allow companies to dodge our responsibilities,” said FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen.
“We are not going to stand for companies hiding behind secrecy.”
The FTC’s actions are in line with a proposal that was floated last week by former US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.).
The proposal called for the creation of an agency with the authority to enforce antitrust laws in a way that protects the interests and profits of companies that are willing to comply with a law and that do not engage in anticompetitive behavior.
The proposed FTC is expected to release its first report in the fall.
The proposal is likely to be challenged in court, and some critics have said the proposed new agency could potentially be used to create a similar regime for the entertainment industry.
The proposal is supported by both President-elect Donald Trump and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D.-Mass.).
“It’s great that the FTC is taking action against big companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon,” Warren said on Wednesday.
“These are the biggest and most powerful companies in the world.
They have a direct economic interest in ensuring that people are able to shop, buy, and use their services.
It’s time for them to join us in standing up to the big companies who have monopolized our economy.”
The proposal has been a contentious issue for the FTC in the past.
The agency was criticized in 2016 when it announced it was launching an antitrust investigation into whether Amazon had violated antitrust laws by using its platform to price its Kindle e-reader.
Amazon eventually settled the FTC’s investigation.
However, the FTC was able to hold the company accountable for its anticompetition conduct and said it would enforce its antitrust laws with greater effectiveness and fairness.
In March 2017, the agency announced it would be launching a new anti-trust investigation into Google.