Platforms

Our working definition of a digital platform (with a hat tip to Harold Feld of Public Knowledge) is an online service that operates as a two-sided or multi-sided market with at least one side that is “open” to the mass market

How Democrats' big plans for Big Tech shrunk to tiny steps

Pledges to tackle data surveillance practices, harm to children's mental health, and tech giants' power over wide swaths of the economy haven't yet translated into passing new laws, and the clock is running out. High-profile bills that would heap new regulations on the tech industry have advanced, but they've yet to cross the finish line into law. On antitrust, the House of Representatives passed a bill in September 2022 that will raise filing fees for large mergers, using the proceeds to fund antitrust enforcement efforts.

Partnerships Are Key for Rural Telecom Operators in Burgeoning Edge Computing Market

For rural operators looking to take advantage of edge computing, partnerships will be key to their success. Taking a “build it and they will come” approach may not be the right strategy. Instead, the opportunity could be in partnering with “hyperscalers” (massive companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon) that are looking to deploy edge computing equipment in rural America but don’t have the local resources/ capabilities to do so. Key information from this report includes: 

The Role of Alternative Social Media in the News and Information Environment

In recent years, several new options have emerged in the social media universe, many of which explicitly present themselves as alternatives to more established social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – especially by opposing free speech restrictions they say are rife at those sites. These newer sites have created a small but satisfied community of news consumers, many of whom say one of the major reasons they are there is to stay informed about current events.

Social Media Company Liability Draws Supreme Court Scrutiny

The US Supreme Court will decide whether social media companies can be sued for hosting and recommending terrorist content, taking up two cases that challenge their liability protections. The cases mark the court’s first test of the broad immunity social media companies have enjoyed under a provision known as Section 230, part of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. But the law has drawn criticism from both Democrats and Republicans amid questions about whether social media companies have become too powerful. In one case, Alphabet Inc.’s Google is trying to defeat a suit involving Nohemi Go

House approves antitrust bill targeting Big Tech dominance

The House of representatives approved antitrust legislation targeting the dominance of Big Tech companies by giving states greater power in competition cases and increasing money for federal regulators. The Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act passed by a 242-184 vote. It was separated from more ambitious provisions aimed at reining in Meta, Google, Amazon, and Apple and cleared by key House and Senate committees. Those proposals have languished for months, giving the companies time for vigorous lobbying campaigns against them.

Orange and FCC Commissioner Carr push for tech companies to pay broadband providers for network use

Orange Group CEO Christel Heydemann and Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr, called on technology giants to contribute a “fair” share to broadband infrastructure costs, arguing such companies are driving a need for continued upgrades and have disproportionately benefitted from telecommunications investments to date. Regulators in the US, EU, and South Korea are weighing rule changes that would force the likes of Alphabet, Amazon, Meta, and Netflix to pay telecom companies for the large amounts of traffic they generate.

As broadband providers seek payments from Big Tech, Google criticizes “sender-pays” model

Big Tech companies shouldn't have to pay for Internet service providers' network-upgrade costs, a Google executive said amid a push in Europe to have tech companies pay for broadband expansions and improvements. In November 2021, the CEOs of 13 large European telecommunications companies called on tech giants to pay for a portion of the Internet service providers' network upgrade costs.

Florida to Supreme Court: Let us regulate social networks as common carriers

The State of Florida asked the US Supreme Court to reinstate its social media regulation law that made it illegal for sites like Facebook and Twitter to ban politicians. Florida's petition said the Supreme Court should answer the questions of whether the First Amendment prohibits states "from requiring that social-media companies host third-party communications, and from regulating the time, place, and manner in which they do so," and whether the First Amendment prohibits states "from requiring social-media companies to notify and provide an explanation to their users when they censor the u

Two Republican judges just let Texas seize control of Twitter and Facebook

Conflicting lower court rulings about removing controversial material from social media platforms point toward a landmark Supreme Court decision on whether the First Amendment protects Big Tech’s editorial discretion or forbids its censorship of unpopular views.

Biden-Harris Administration Hosts United We Stand Summit on Taking Action to Prevent and Address Hate-Motivated Violence

On September 15, 2022, President Biden hosted the United We Stand Summit to counter the corrosive effects of hate-fueled violence on our democracy and public safety. Announcements from the tech sector at the summit took a step towards recognizing the important role companies play in designing their products and platforms to curb the spread of hate-fueled violence both online and off: