US President Joe Biden has named Lina Khan, a 32-year-old antitrust law scholar and a leading critic of Big Tech, as the chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC’s mission is to investigate issues regarding antitrust law, data privacy, and false advertising. Confirmed by the Senate with a 69-28 vote, Khan is the youngest chair in the FTC’s history. She will be responsible for setting the FTC’s yearly plan, staff, and procedures in her role.

Khan rose to prominence as a law student at Yale after a 2017 paper titled “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” in which she criticized Amazon’s growing power as a harmful monopoly. Khan argued that lower prices are not always beneficial for consumers and that they are hurting small businesses. Later joining the House Judiciary Committee, she played a critical role in a 16-month investigation of competition in digital markets. Her work led to a 449-page report published last year that criticized Big Tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Alphabet for market abuse and called on Congress to make it hard for large tech companies to acquire smaller rivals.

Zoom Out: Khan’s appointment suggests that the Biden Administration wants to create a more regulated environment for Silicon Valley’s tech giants. The nomination followed Biden’s appointment of Tim Wu, another leading critic of Big Tech, as the White House adviser on competition policy. In the future, this could potentially lead to splitting Big Tech into smaller companies, making rival acquisitions larger, or imposing greater taxes on these tech giants.

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