US lawmakers back Big Tech regulation bills in marathon session

US lawmakers debated into the early hours Thursday over details of legislation aimed at curbing the power of Big Tech firms with a sweeping reform of antitrust laws.

House Judiciary Committee members clashed while tweaking bills with potentially massive implications for large online platforms and their users.

Legislation being forwarded to the floor of the House of Representatives could force an overhaul of the practices of Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook, or potentially lead to a breakup of the dominant tech giants.

Critics argue the measures could have unintended consequences that would hurt consumers and some of the most popular online services.

Representative David Cicilline, who headed a 16-month investigation that led to the legislation, said the bills are aimed at restoring competition in markets stymied by monopolies.

"Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are gatekeepers to the online economy," Cicilline said during the hearing.