American Innovation and Choice Online Act will hurt small business
I am the proud owner of gingham+grace, a women’s clothing boutique that features both virtual and in-person shopping experiences. I scraped the money together to start my dream while working a full-time job and being a mom to twin boys.
Those few thousand dollars spawned the first few pop-up shows, which, in turn, allowed me to start virtual pop-up shows on Facebook. I now have a 1,500-square-foot showroom in Harbeson, and utilization of online tools has allowed me to develop a devoted customer base in Delaware and more than 30 other states.
During the pandemic, I became more digitally focused. Google, Facebook and Instagram have allowed me to continue to engage existing and new customers, and I have been fortunate to survive and thrive. I know I am not alone.
Millions of businesses have been able to survive through the offering of digital services and by accessing online marketplace opportunities. Despite that fact, Congress is considering tech regulation legislation, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, that will disrupt access to those digital tools at a perilous time in our economic recovery when public health restrictions may resurface.
This bill would prohibit platforms prioritizing their own products and services. This could disrupt Facebook Live, which is critical to my business; Amazon could be banned from providing free two-day shipping on its own Prime products; Google could no longer display its shopping results and would be prevented from displaying Google Maps or local business reviews. During the pandemic, communities supported their local businesses, but this bill would make it harder for local customers to easily find information about their neighborhood businesses through Google search.
There seems to be hope that we are turning the corner on the pandemic, but uncertainty remains. Now is not the time to expose businesses to new costs or burdens.
Congress should stand up for their constituent businesses and oppose S.2992/HR3816 and HR3825.