President Biden has named Lina Khan, a prominent critic of Big Tech, to chair the Federal Trade Commission, two people known to be aware of the decision, a move that signals the agency is likely to continue cracking down on the giants of the industry.
A public announcement of the decision is expected on Tuesday, one of the people said.
Earlier in the day, the Senate voted 69-28 in favor of Ms. Khan, 32, for a seat on the agency. The commission investigates antitrust violations, fraudulent trade practices and data protection violations in Silicon Valley.
Ms. Khan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In her new role, Ms. Khan will lead efforts to regulate behavior that has been highlighted for years by critics from Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple. Speaking before a Senate committee in April, she said she was concerned about how tech companies could use their power to dominate new markets. She first caught on as a critic of Amazon. The agency is investigating the retail giant and filed an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook last year.
Her appointment was a victory for progressive activists who want Mr. Biden to take a tough line against big corporations. He also gave Tim Wu, a law professor who has criticized the power of tech giants, a job in the White House. He has yet to appoint someone to head the Justice Department’s antitrust division, another top regulator in the industry.
Mr. Biden’s decision crowns an unusually rapid ascent for Ms. Khan, who graduated from Yale Law School in 2017. She was the first full-time employee in a think tank program that became the Open Markets Institute, a group of writers and researchers who helped raise corporate consolidation concerns a mainstream issue in Washington.
While she was a law student, she wrote an article explaining how modern antitrust laws had failed to test the power of Amazon, which was heeded by policymakers, fellow lawyers, and the press. She then went on to work for an FTC commissioner and a House Justice Committee team investigating the tech giants. Last fall, she joined the faculty at Columbia Law School.
Her appointment was immediately welcomed by many Democrats.
Senator Amy Klobuchar, chair of a Senate antitrust subcommittee and a regular critic of the technology industry, said Khan’s “deep understanding of competition policy will be critical as we strengthen antitrust enforcement.”
Ms. Klobuchar noticed Ms. Khan’s new role at an afternoon competition hearing before the White House made an official announcement.
“We need all hands on deck if we are to take on some of the largest monopolies in the world,” she said.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said, “With Chairman Khan at the helm, we have a great opportunity to make major structural change by reviving antitrust enforcement and fighting monopolies that threaten our economy, society and democracy.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.