California moved to reinstate Obama-era open-internet rules, challenging Trump administration rollback efforts and setting the state on a path to have the strongest net-neutrality rules in the nation. The California bill would forbid internet service providers from blocking websites, intentionally slowing down a website or app, or accepting payments to make online services go faster.
Some White House officials view next-generation 5G wireless service as a “key area of competition,” and they say that the threat from China, in particular, justifies a “moonshot” government effort like the construction of the interstate highway system. A National Security Council memo urges the Trump administration to consider extraordinary efforts to clear the way for the new technology or even to help build it in order to counter the growing economic and political threat from China’s aggressive efforts to develop 5G.
The House Judiciary Committee approved far-reaching legislation to curb the market dominance of tech giants, including Google and Facebook, but much of the effort faced intensive lobbying by affected firms that slowed the committee’s work and foreshadowed a pitched battle in the Senate. The centerpiece of the six-bill package, a measure to bar big tech companies from favoring their own products in a range of circumstances on their platforms, was ap
Facebook and Google agreed to “cooperate and assist one another” if they ever faced an investigation into their pact to work together in online advertising, according to an unredacted version of a lawsuit filed by 10 states against Google. Ten Republican attorneys general, led by Texas, are alleging that the two companies cut a deal in September 2018 in which Facebook agreed not to compete with Google’s online advertising tools in return for special treatment
A coalition of state attorneys general sued Google, accusing the search giant of operating an illegal digital-advertising monopoly, in part thanks to an auction-rigging deal with rival Facebook. The complaint, filed in US District Court in Texas, alleges that Facebook emerged in 2017 as a powerful new rival to the Alphabet unit’s established dominance in the market for online advertising.
Federal Trade Commission staff members are recommending that the agency bring an antitrust case against Facebook, but commissioners haven’t yet reached a decision. The five-member FTC met privately via videoconference to discuss next steps, without taking action. The commission is facing political complexities, particularly with the Nov. 3 election looming. FTC Chairman Joseph Simons during his tenure has at times faced challenges in building coalitions among his Republican and Democratic colleagues.
More antitrust cases are likely to be filed against Google soon by state attorneys general, even though partisan-tinged wrangling has clouded the path forward. At least two separate though overlapping groups of attorneys general are investigating the company concurrently. One effort, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) focuses on online advertising and could lead to a lawsuit being filed within weeks.
Powerful technology companies are expected to face increased scrutiny no matter who wins the Nov. 3 election, but President Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden differ on some of the problems posed by Big Tech and how to solve them. President Trump and his appointees likely would maintain—and possibly accelerate—the broad-scale regulatory scrutiny of technology companies that marked his first term.
A draft of an executive order President Donald Trump is expected to sign on May 28 would seek to limit the broad legal protection that federal law currently provides social-media and other online platforms. The draft order would make it easier for federal regulators to hold companies such as Twitter and Facebook liable for curbing users’ speech, for example by suspending their accounts or deleting their posts. The executive order would mark the Trump administration’s most aggressive effort to take action against social-media companies, which the president has threatened to do for years.