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
Section 230 has been the subject of bipartisan criticism in Washington, with both President Trump and former Vice President Biden arguing that the controversial law should be revoked. As the election has approached, a flurry of legislative proposals have taken aim at the law. This paper argues that the next administration should take a more targeted approach, focusing on changes that will deter some of the most harmful forms of speech while also preserving the features of tech platforms that are essential to online expression.
In the last two decades, the digital marketplace has transformed the majority of the economy and the daily lives of billions of people worldwide. This transformation has delivered great gains to consumers and unlocked whole new technological opportunities for society to thrive. However, amidst these gains, palpable consumer harms and anti-competitive behaviors have also become clearer, and the bottom-up innovative dynamism that ushered forth the digital marketplace is increasingly under threat.
While it is not out of the question that California’s tough privacy law plus follow-up action by other states could encourage Congress to enact legislation, working out issues regarding the right to sue and state preemption controversies would be easier with a Democratic President, House, and Senate than divided party control. In the latter situation, Joe Biden would have to find a few Senators willing to buck their party and vote with him to resolve those issues. Such a coalition could happen, but these kinds of negotiations always are lengthy and complicated.
Joe Biden's transformation into president-elect Saturday kicks off a new era for tech, giving an industry that's found itself increasingly at odds with government the chance for a reset. Biden's ascent could see the restoration of some tech-friendly Obama-era policies but is unlikely to end the bipartisan techlash that grew during Trump's term.
President Donald Trump fired off a missive in the wee hours Nov 6 suggesting yet again that social media platforms should be punished for labeling his tweets about vote counts as misleading and hiding a number of his posts. "Twitter is out of control, made possible through the government gift of Section 230!" he posted on Twitter.
The Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority to interpret Section 230. Congress did not give the FCC any role in interpreting the law, or, importantly, in adopting rules to implement that interpretation. Section 230 concerns liability for various torts as litigated between private parties. The FCC has no role—only the parties and state and federal judges do. Indeed, the legislative history of Section 230 makes clear that Congress didn’t want the FCC to have any role with regard to Section 230 or with regulating online platforms.
Tuesday, November 3, is Election Day. And as you may well be trying to decipher the latest polls to predict who'll be running the federal government for the next four years, policymakers haven't taken a break. Here's a quick recap of the major news of the week.
Current Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has led the agency for nearly four years, and it’s unclear how much longer he plans to stay on. A President Donald Trump win carries a high likelihood that FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr will be selected — not elected — as the next chairman. And his first task will certainly be to regulate social media in America.
Tech on the Rocks Ep 10 | Rage Against the Machines: Is our Election Technology Safe and Secure? (Part II)
With the most consequential election in a generation just days away, we continue to ask ourselves: are state and local governments ready for this? With recent cyber intrusions from adversaries such as Russia and Iran, a historic surge in early voting, and fears about post-election disinformation on social media, there’s a lot to be concerned about. While this election will be a monumental task for local officials, Verified Voting’s Interim Co-Director and political scientist Mark Lindeman tells us that there are ways to ensure that every vote is counted fairly.