Tim Wu, Big Tech Critic, Named to National Economic Council

Columbia Law School Prof. Tim Wu in his Manhattan home in 2014.

Photo: Craig Warga for The Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON—President Biden on Friday named Tim Wu, a prominent critic of large technology companies and advocate for stricter antitrust enforcement in sectors across the economy, to a position on the White House National Economic Council.

Mr. Wu will leave his post as a Columbia University law professor to serve as special assistant to the president for technology and competition policy, the White House said.

The post will give him influence as the Biden administration develops policies affecting tech and other sectors, though it lacks the direct authority of other leadership positions. Mr. Biden still hasn’t announced nominees for key antitrust positions, including the head of the Federal Trade Commission and antitrust chief at the Justice Department.

Mr. Wu has advocated for breaking up large tech firms, including Facebook Inc., and praised the government’s lawsuits against that company and Alphabet Inc.’s Google last year. He was the author of “The Curse of Bigness,” which contended that monopolistic companies stifled innovation.

Mr. Wu has cast himself as part of a broader movement to reinvigorate antitrust enforcement as a way of combating the power of large corporations.

“The simple premise of anti-monopoly revival is that concentrated private power has become a menace, a barrier to widespread prosperity,” he wrote in November 2019.

Mr. Wu declined to comment Friday.

He previously served as an adviser at the Federal Trade Commission and as a White House economic adviser during the Obama administration.

He was an early advocate for “net neutrality,” the principle that internet-access providers should treat all traffic on their networks equally, and is credited for coining the term. The Federal Communications Commission under Mr. Biden is expected to restore net-neutrality rules that were repealed under former President Donald Trump.

In recent years, Mr. Wu has joined other progressives in advocating for stronger antitrust laws and government enforcement of antimonopoly statutes. He will be in a position to influence the White House’s position as the newly Democratic-led Congress considers changes designed to bolster antitrust enforcement.

Facebook blocked people in Australia from viewing or sharing news articles as lawmakers debated a bill to compel social-media companies to pay for content. The legislation is being watched globally and could offer a model for other countries. Photo: Josh Edelson/Getty Images (Originally published Feb. 18, 2021)

The Biden Administration

Write to Ryan Tracy at ryan.tracy@wsj.com

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in the March 6, 2021, print edition as ‘Critic of Big Tech Tapped as Biden Aide.’


Leave a Reply