Biden urges bipartisan action to rein in Big Tech | The Hill

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

President Biden turns to Vice President Harris in the Roosevelt Room of the White House as he responds to questions from members of the media about the House of Representatives choosing a Speaker on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023.

President Biden pushed for sweeping reforms to target tech giants through data privacy, competition and content moderation law updates in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Wednesday.

Biden’s op-ed is light on details, and falls short of backing specific policy proposals, but throws the president’s weight behind several hot button issues Big Tech critics on both sides of the aisle have raised. 

“We need bipartisan action from Congress to hold Big Tech accountable. We’ve heard a lot of talk about creating committees. It’s time to walk the walk and get something done,” Biden wrote. 

As part of his push, Biden said the U.S. needs “serious federal protections for Americans’ privacy.” 

There is bipartisan support for a comprehensive federal data privacy bill in Congress, as evident last year when a proposal passed with bipartisan support out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. But there are lingering roadblocks over the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA), the proposal that advanced. Democrats from states with strong privacy laws in place, mainly California, have not wanted the bill to pre-empt their state laws. 

Republicans, however, broadly maintain that federal preemption is crucial to their support for a federal privacy law. 

In his op-ed, Biden also pushes for action to “bring more competition back to the tech sector.” 

“When tech platforms get big enough, many find ways to promote their own products while excluding or disadvantaging competitors—or charge competitors a fortune to sell on their platform,” he wrote. 

Antitrust reform gained bipartisan momentum last Congress, but two key proposals supporters backed — including a bill that aimed to prevent companies from self-preferencing their products and services — failed to make it across the finish line. 

The chances of those bills passing in the next two years are slimmer now, with current House GOP leaders having pushed back on them.

Instead, House Republicans have said they want to focus on content moderation — another issue Biden raises in his op-ed. 

The president reiterated his call to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a controversial provision that provides a liability shield for companies over content posted by third parties. 

There is bipartisan support to reform that provision, but severe disagreements on how to proceed. 

Democrats say the provision leads tech companies to host too much hate speech and harmful misinformation, whereas Republicans argue it allows companies to censor content with an anti-conservative bias.



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