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

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:

Google Loses Most of Appeal of EU Android Decision

Google lost most of its appeal to overturn the largest antitrust fine it has so far faced globally, a boost to the European Union’s campaign to rein in alleged anticompetitive conduct by big tech companies.

Governor Newsom Signs Nation-Leading Social Media Transparency Measure

Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) signed a first-of-its-kind social media transparency measure to protect Californians from hate and disinformation spread online. AB 587, sponsored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino), will require social media companies to publicly post their policies regarding hate speech, disinformation, harassment, and extremism on their platforms, and report data on their enforcement of the policies.

Principles for Enhancing Competition and Tech Platform Accountability

The White House convened a listening session with experts and practitioners on the harms that tech platforms cause and the need for greater accountability. The Biden-Harris Administration announced the following core principles for reform: