Progressive tech critic Lina Khan was sworn in as chair of the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday, the agency said in a release.
WASHINGTON, June 15 – Joe Biden has appointed Lina Khan, a notable critic of the influence of large technology companies, to chair the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The ruling promotes the 32-year-old Columbia University Law School professor to a compelling antitrust role in the US president’s policy-making administration, as lawmakers in Congress pledge to crack down on anti-competitive behavior among the biggest tech groups.
Khan was approved in a 69-28 vote, with Republicans joining Democrats in an occasional show of bipartisan support for Khan’s ideas on reining in tech’s most powerful companies. As FTC chair, Khan will succeed Rebecca Kelly Slaughter who moved into the role of acting chairwoman in January.
“It is a tremendous honor to have been selected by President Biden to lead the Federal Trade Commission,” Chair Khan said in a statement. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to protect the public from corporate abuse.”
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted that the administration’s selection of Khan was “tremendous news.”
“With Chair Khan at the helm, we have a huge opportunity to make big, structural change by reviving antitrust enforcement and fighting monopolies that threaten our economy, our society, and our democracy,” Warren said in a separate statement.
President Biden nominated Khan back in March, sending an immediate message that Biden would not continue the friendly relationship Big Tech companies enjoyed with the White House under former President Obama.
Khan’s confirmation is a sign that the FTC will be prioritizing tech antitrust matters, a priority that will run parallel to Congressional efforts to bolster the FTC’s enforcement powers. The FTC famously forced a $5 billion fine on Facebook for privacy violations in 2019, but the record-setting fine was only a glancing strike for a company already worth more than $500 billion.