Hawley says Silicon Valley offers little good while monetizing social media addictions

St Louis Dispatch and The Neighbor

Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel for the e-commerce trade association NetChoice, was in the Hoover audience. In a question, he tried to reinforce Hawley’s acknowledgement that “we should be doing this through market reinforcement” rather than government intervention.

Szabo, whose organization represents a veritable alphabet of big tech companies, said that Hawley “is too dismissive of the widespread benefits of social media.

“Never before in the history of the world have so many people had access to so much information,” he said. “No longer is our access to news about (the) world dictated by a small number of news outlets.

“Social media is not destroying democracy, as Sen. Hawley suggests,” Szabo added. “Rather, social media connects us to our government like never before.”

Szabo responded, “Social media, like any tool, can be used for good and ill.

“Knee-jerk reactions to perceived problems could harm small businesses and our ability to connect with friends and family,” the NetChoice executive said.

DMCA Notice and Takedown Just won’t work for Content Moderation

Anew argument for “reforming” content moderation law is replacing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act with a Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice and takedown for copyrighted material approach for all content moderation. In essence, the proposal would require platforms like Reddit or Yelp to takedown comments and reviews upon notice from the disparaged party — similar to the notice and take-down model for copyright.

Read more…

NetChoice Comments on FTC Facebook Fine

“The expected fine demonstrates to consumers and European regulators that the FTC is serious about privacy,” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice. “The fine shows that American businesses should not trust any Cambridge University professor who promises to protect user data.”

“A multi billion dollar settlement is vastly greater than the UK’s $600,000 privacy fine and demonstrates the FTC is a serious enforcer of privacy laws,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “This is not a slam dunk case for the FTC. The FTC knows that if they overplay their hand they will lose in court.”

Morning Consult – HUD’s Ben Carson Seems Confused About Online Advertising

Ben Carson, the secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, recently sued Facebook for failing to show certain housing ads to all 218 million Americans who use Facebook.  Rather than just prosecuting the advertisers who placed the ads, Carson wants to hold Facebook liable for discrimination in how these advertisers directed their ads to be shown.

Discrimination in housing is against the law. But why would HUD prosecute platforms — rather than the landlords and realtors who discriminated when placing their ads?  That’s a legally tenuous tactic that just distracts from that actual problems of discrimination. If upheld, HUD’s prosecution of Facebook would let the actual discriminators off the hook, while penalizing an innovative American company and its users.

Read more here…

The Verge Republicans dig into Facebook and Twitter over concerns of ‘conservative bias’

The Verge Republicans dig into Facebook and Twitter over concerns of ‘conservative bias’

“If we prevent online platforms from removing objectionable content, we risk turning online platforms into 8-Chan,” said Carl Szabo, general counsel for NetChoice. “Section 230 was specifically created to enable private platforms to remove offensive content.”

NetChoice Raises Concerns About Attacks on Platforms’ Ability to Remove Content

Today, NetChoice raised concerns about suggestions made by members of the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee that government should prevent online platforms from removing content they find objectionable ahead of today’s hearing, “Stifling Free Speech: Technological Censorship and the Public Discourse”.

“If we prevent online platforms from removing objectionable content, we risk turning online platforms into 8-Chan,” said Carl Szabo, General Counsel for NetChoice. “Section 230 was specifically created to enable private platforms to remove offensive content.”

“Online platforms have bolstered conservative speech in public discourse, empowering modern conservative thought leaders such as Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson, and Blaire White,” continued Szabo.

“Sen. Cruz is a smart lawyer who surely wants online platforms to remove violent and hateful content, so he’s not really looking to apply the first amendment to private parties.” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice. “Sen. Cruz just wants assurances that online platforms are not curtailing conservative speech. We look forward to today’s witnesses giving him those assurances.”

Politico Morning Tech - Stifling free speech

Politico Morning Tech – Stifling free speech

Not all conservatives are happy with the theme. Billy Easley, a senior tech policy analyst for the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity, is warning the committee against infringing on free speech. “Senator Cruz is right: tech companies ought to provide an open platform for speech across the political and ideological spectrum,” he said in a statement. “But asking the government to police online speech — either through direct action or by cajoling private firms — sets a dangerous precedent.” Carl Szabo, vice president for right-leaning trade group NetChoice, called it “inconsistent for conservatives to support the free speech rights of businesses” while opposing it for “private platforms when moderating content they host.”

NetChoice Comments on Mark Zuckerberg’s Washington Post Op-Ed

“Zuckerberg rightly raised the threat to American businesses from data nationalization laws around the world, many of which intentionally target the U.S. tech economy,” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice.

“Zuckerberg welcomed national or even global consensus about standards to moderate harmful content such as hate speech and terrorist propaganda. Until then, Facebook will continue to moderate content in order to meet the terms of service it promises to users.”

Politico - Lawmakers sound off as Facebook probe turns 1 

“Conservatives must keep to their principles and respect that online platforms are private businesses not public utilities,” said Carl Szabo, vice president at e-commerce trade group NetChoice.