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

President Biden’s Tech To-Do List

President Biden is inheriting tricky tech questions including how to rein in powerful digital superstars, what to do about Chinese technology and how to bring more Americans online. Here’s a glimpse at opportunities and challenges in technology policy for the new Biden administration:

Biden’s policies on technology

President-elect Joe Biden is set to have a very different relationship with the tech industry from when he served as vice president. Tech companies have grown more powerful over the past four years — and more perilous. They have continued to amass data and wealth. But they have been used as tools for election interference and disinformation, contributing to the divide in the nation.

Amazon, a Longtime E-Book Discounter, Is Accused of Driving Up the Price of E-Books

The law firm Hagens Berman filed a lawsuit in a federal district court in New York alleges that a deal between Amazon and five major book publishers has led to higher e-book prices for all consumers, because it prevents rival retailers from selling any of these publishers’ e-books at a lower price than on Amazon.

Misinformation dropped dramatically the week after Twitter banned Trump and some allies

San Francisco-based analytics firm Zignal Labs has found that online misinformation about election fraud plunged 73 percent after several social media sites suspended President Trump and key allies.

Podcast: Former FCC Commissioner Calls for a Presidential Commission on the Future of the Internet (with Michael Copps)

Former-Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps has called on the new Biden administration to establish a Presidential Commission on the Future of the Internet. He contrasts the regulation of the broadcast industry in the public interest with the relatively hands-off treatment of internet commerce and cites privacy, disinformation, and antitrust concerns, as well as the impact of social media giants on local news outlets, as reasons why a comprehensive policy review is in order.

FCC Chairman Pai says tech giants need to explain themselves

Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai says online platforms should be forced to explain their practices in the much the same way he required of broadband providers like Comcast and AT&T. Chairman Pai paired those transparency requirements with his 2017 repeal of net neutrality rules. He also took a dig at online companies that supported net neutrality rules for broadband providers who appear to be "unwilling to abide by" similar rules themselves.

What Was Donald Trump’s Twitter?

Each of the big social platforms handled the challenges of the Trump presidency in its own unique way, scrambling to address or neutralize various urgent and contradictory concerns from users, advertisers, lawmakers and occasionally the president himself.

The consequences of social media’s giant experiment

The actions of Facebook and Twitter to ban President Donald Trump are protected by Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Act. This is the same Section 230 behind which social media companies have sheltered to protect them from liability for the dissemination of the hate, lies and conspiracies that ultimately led to the assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. These actions are better late than never. But the proverbial horse has left the barn.

Finding the Limits of Free Speech Online

President Trump used social media to encourage his supporters to storm the Capitol to attempt to maintain his power.

President Trump lashes out at social media companies following Twitter ban

President Donald Trump said that the social media sites had made a “catastrophic mistake” and acted in a politically “divisive” manner after punishing him for comments the companies said threatened to incite violence.