NetChoice Response to Andrew Yang’s Tech Proposals

Today, Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang released a slew of tech proposals, covering four main issues:

  • Privacy and Consumer Data
  • The Use of Technology, Especially by Young People
  • Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act
  • Antitrust Enforcement and Tech

Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice pushed back on Yang’s proposals:

Privacy and Consumer Data

“The current online advertising model enables consumers to access high quality content and sophisticated services for free. Yang’s policy would create more paywalls around content and diminish the presence of free services.”

“On Yang’s internet we will have more paywalls and less content.”

“Americans support the current market structure. By a 3-to-1 margin Americans prefer online services to be funded by targeted advertising rather than paying for them directly.”

The Use of Technology, Especially by Young People

“The surge in access to technology and the internet in the 21st Century benefits us all every day – that’s why tech is so prevalent in society today.”

“For a candidate who claims to focus on “evidence-based policy,” Yang’s most outlandish claims lack evidence.”

“Rather than proposing knee-jerk policy responses to perceived problems, Yang should wait for more evidence on tech’s impact on children and not ignore a recent study that found no link between social media usage and negative impacts on mental health in teens.”

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

“We must dispel with this myth that because online services moderate user-created content, they are equivalent to the New York Times or the Washington Post. Unlike the journalists at the New York Times or Washington Post, Facebook doesn’t write posts and Twitter doesn’t write tweets — users do.

“The New York Times and the Washington Post’s comment section benefits from the same legal structure and protections as social media businesses.”

“Social media services moderate content to reduce the presence of hate speech, scams, and spam. Yang’s proposal to amend Section 230 would likely increase the amount of hate speech and terrorist content online.”

“Yang incorrectly claims a “publisher vs. platform grey area.” Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act does not categorize online services. Section 230 enables services that host user-created content to remove content without assuming liability.”

Antitrust Enforcement and Tech

“We welcome Yang’s recognition that breaking up tech businesses wouldn’t benefit consumers. The role of antitrust and regulation in the U.S. is to protect consumers, not competitors of successful businesses.”

Joe Biden Has Officially Joined the Misguided Crusade Against Online Free Speech

Reason Magazine

“Holding Facebook liable for a user’s false statement is like holding CNN liable if candidate Biden made a false statement on their Town Hall last night,” says Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel for NetChoice, a nonprofit that favors digital free speech.

NetChoice Criticizes Candidate Biden’s Call to Hold Online Platforms Liable for False Statements by Users

Today, NetChoice criticized the problematic statement made by presidential candidate Joe Biden last night that platforms should be responsible for false posts by their users.

“Candidate Joe Biden suggests we should suppress free speech and make Facebook and Google the arbiters of truth,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice.

“Holding Facebook liable for a user’s false statement is like holding CNN liable if candidate Biden made a false statement on their Town Hall last night.”

“I wonder if Biden thinks TV stations and newspapers should be liable for false claims in political ads they are paid to show, especially since these mediums are the majority of political ad spending.”

The Internet Didn’t Invent Lying Politicians — Contrary to Claims of Tech Critics

Political ads are nothing new. Misleading statements are nothing new in politics either. But when this occurs online, as opposed to on TV or in newspapers, that’s when tech-critics like Tim Wu suddenly have a problem.

In his New York Times op-ed, Wu airs his grievances with online businesses that dare to host political ads. Moreover, Wu complains that these businesses dare to allow politicians to include false statements in political ads.

Read more…

Judge to PragerU: You Do Not Have a Free Speech Claim Against YouTube

Reason Magazine

Prager’s First Amendment claims come amid the nonprofit’s repeated assertion that Google is biased against conservative groups. But as Robert Winterton of the trade association NetChoice points out, the tech giant restricts videos by left-leaning organizations too—and often more than Prager’s 20 percent. Fifty-four percent of The Daily Show‘s videos are hidden, as is 71 percent of content from The Young Turks.

NetChoice Raises Concerns with The Filter Bubble Transparency Act

Yesterday, Senators John Thune (R-S.D.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), unveiled The Filter Bubble Transparency Act. It’s a law that would force large websites to notify users if algorithms determine the order or origin of content the user sees. The bill would also mandate that these online services provide an alternative unsorted version of their news feeds.

“This bill would undermine efforts by platforms to stop the spread of hate speech, misinformation, and other harmful news and views — just as we’re going into an election year,” said Carl Szabo, General Counsel at NetChoice. “This bill could reverse progress made by platforms in response to concerns about online misinformation during our last election.”

“Algorithms are the latest boogey-man for tech critics, but algorithms are how websites determine the origin and order of content shown to users, based on interests shown by that user and others they may friend and follow.”

“Congress should let tech businesses determine how to best serve their users.”

Critics fear Michigan is promising the moon to land cloud data storage firms

Bridge Michigan

Less than a decade later, Loudoun County, Virginia has become the data center capital of the world, said Comstock, who is now an adviser for the NetChoice lobbying group. Property taxes, income taxes and other revenues related to the centers have been a “cash cow” for her region, she told legislators. 

Carl Szabo testifies Before Ohio State Senate Judiciary Committee on Antitrust

Read the Testimony

NetChoice Testimony in support of Michigan HB 5127 and HB 5128, regarding sales tax on data center equipment

NetChoice Testimony in support of Michigan HB 5127 and HB 5128, regarding sales tax on data center equipment