Hawley Introduces Plan to Prohibit Addictive Tech Practices

Washington Free Beacon

Hawley’s bill attracted immediate criticism from major tech firms. NetChoice, a trade association which represents e-commerce sites, claimed that the SMART Act would reduce social media sites’ usefulness and and enjoyability.

“This bill would reduce the power of consumers to make decisions for themselves and give that power to the government,” said Carl Szabo, NetChoice vice president and general counsel. “It’s our role to decide what online services and tools we use, not the government’s.”

NetChoice Condemns Introduction of Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology (SMART) Act

Today, NetChoice raised concerns with new legislation introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), the Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology (SMART) Act.

The bill would reduce the usefulness of social media platforms by banning features like autoplay and automatic scrolling. Ironically, a visitor to Sen. Hawley’s own website will see an autoplay video.

“This bill would reduce the power of consumers to make decisions for themselves and give that power to the government,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “It’s our role to decide what online services and tools we use, not the government’s.”

The bill would also grant the FTC and HHS power to ban social media practices.

“The goal of this bill is to make being online a less enjoyable experience — which polling reveals as something the American people oppose.”

“This bill gives the federal government the power to shut down sites and services it doesn’t like, with little-to-no recourse,” continued Szabo. “Consumers have an abundance of tools that let them control their online experiences. Sen. Hawley’s legislation would expand governmental control over the internet.”

Unpopular Internet Policies Could Cost Democrats the White House

NetChoice Medium

The 2020 election will be tight and every vote counts. So it’s surprising to see Democratic candidates making calls to regulate free speech and online platforms — policy proposals that Americans overwhelmingly oppose, and policies that could cost Democrats the White House.

This year some Democrats are calling to make it harder for online services to host our comments and pictures. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has even gone so far as to say that America’s most successful tech companies should be broken up.

Read more…

Outraged Politicians and Official Statistics Miss the Benefits of Tech

Reason Magazine

“Thanks to large online platforms, for less than $10, a small business can reach thousands of potential customers and target them more accurately than ever,” Carl Szabo of NetChoice, a trade association of e-commerce businesses, testified to the House Judiciary Committee last week. Szabo highlighted the story of a woodworker in Albany, New York, who can now sell his craft to buyers around the country thanks to Etsy.

Social Media Has Enabled People-Driven Politics, So Why Regulate It?

Daily Caller

Throughout history, established interests worry whenever more power is given to the people. When Guttenberg unveiled the printing press it empowered “commoners” with a new way to disseminate information and ideas. Of course the Crown and Church worried about their loss of control which ultimately led to new religions and emerging democracies.

Social media is the modern-day printing press. Empowering people across the world to challenge the established powers that be. We wouldn’t have had movements like the Arab Spring, Occupy, MeToo, BlackLivesMatter, Haiti relief, or even the Ice Bucket Challenge were it not for social media connecting citizens.

Read more…

What you need to know about Josh Hawley’s war on Big Tech

Springfield News-Leader

“This bill prevents social media websites from removing dangerous and hateful content, since that could make them liable for lawsuits over any user’s posting,” Carl Szabo, an attorney at the advocacy group NetChoice, which counts Facebook, Twitter and Google among its members. “Sen. Hawley’s bill creates an internet where content from the KKK would display alongside our family photos and cat videos.”

Don’t Shoot the Message Board – Section 230’s Importance to American Jobs

Read the report

Tech turns to K Street in antitrust fight

The Hill

Enlisting help from the influence world will be critical to helping fight off that threat, K Street watchers told The Hill.

“Washington likes to control anything that’s important, and today that includes online platforms,” Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel at NetChoice, a trade association of e-commerce businesses, said.

“Silicon Valley has woken up to this reality and is hiring accordingly. This is the normal path of any business as it grows.”

Pelosi: FB a Russia ‘enabler,’ keeps $1M in stocks

One News Now

NetChoice Vice President Carl Szabo – whose company is part of an association of Internet companies that includes Facebook – condemned Pelosi’s recent rant against the social media giant, calling her accusation “false and over-the-top.”

“Speaker Pelosi’s accusation that Facebook is a ‘willing enabler’ of Russian interference in our elections is completely false and appears to be an attempt to use an important national discussion for her own political gamesmanship,” Szabo commented, according to the Beacon. “[It appears that Pelosi’s true motive is] to frighten platforms into removing any content she feels is unflattering.”

The Importance of Balancing Privacy with Innovation, Consumer Benefits, and Other Rights in the FTC’s Approach to Consumer Data Privacy

Mercatus Center

These preferences can vary dramatically, and most Americans do not find themselves trapped by the data-driven websites; they choose to participate because they find those services beneficial. According to Zogby polling data conducted for NetChoice, 42 percent prefer targeted ads based on data collection to nontargeted ads. Americans also find themselves willing and able to leave platforms they no longer find beneficial, with 43 percent of participants in the same survey saying they had left a social media platform at some point. While only a small percentage chose to leave because of changes in a privacy policy, consumers nonetheless make choices when it comes to data-driven services.