US lawmakers examining the role of social media in elections plan to meet with counterparts from the UK the week of Feb 5. Apparently, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) would meet with British Members of Parliament Damian Collins and Paul Farrelly, who are on the committee looking into social media platforms across the Atlantic.
Government rules for the internet have been debated for nearly as long as the internet has existed, even before a professor coined the term “net neutrality” 15 years ago. The internet has changed our lives and grown beyond what anyone could have imagined. And it’s done so, for the most part, with very few—but often changing—rules. Regulators under four different presidents have taken four different approaches. Courts have overturned regulatory decisions. Regulators have reversed their predecessors.
Telecommunications companies like AT&T and Verizon are racing into the digital advertising space — currently dominated by Google and Facebook — now that Washington has given them the ability to sell data to third-party advertisers. The growth rate in the digital ad market is expected to decrease over the next four years, according to eMarketer, meaning that any market share internet service providers are able to gain will eventually come at the expense of other advertising-based businesses, mainly Google and Facebook. AT&T's proposed merger with Time Warner will be a linchpin in the
Commissioner Michael O'Rielly of the Federal Communications Commission said that regulators should not crack down on big tech companies like Facebook and Google. "I’m not interested in imposing like regulation on the edge community or the high technology community to create some kind of parity level" with internet providers, Commissioner O'Rielly said.
Major conditions imposed by regulators as part of Comcast's merger with NBCUniversal expired Jan 20, renewing debate over AT&T's takeover of Time Warner that the Justice Department is trying to block. When approving the merger in 2011, the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission required Comcast-NBCUniversal to abide by more than 150 conditions.
Chinese internet giants like Tencent, Baidu and Alibaba are ramping up investments in US tech and media companies. They're also building data servers and acquiring ad tech businesses in the US that can help them monetize media engagement from citizens living in America, like students or tourists. There's a misconception that the Chinese push into the Western media tech market is to target new American users or to compete directly with US tech companies.
Sinclair Broadcast Group's proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media would give the conservative-leaning company control of an additional TV station in Des Moines (IA) — one of the most important presidential primary media markets in the country. Sinclair's possible acquisition of an NBC affiliate in Des Moines underscores Democrats' worries about the deal giving a right-leaning company significantly more control over local news. The Sinclair-Tribune deal is expected to be approved by regulators this quarter.