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.”

New Poll Reveals 70 Percent of Americans Value Their Ability to Post or View User-Created Online


Facebook comments, Instagram posts, and reviews on Yelp are a valuable part of American business and daily lives

WASHINGTON – NetChoice today announced new polling on user-created content and responsibility for illegal activity online. The poll’s findings show that Americans overwhelmingly (70 percent) value their independent ability to post or view user-created content online.

The poll, conducted by RealClear Opinion Research, revealed that 62 percent of Americans say users who act illegally or post illegal content online are the ones who should be held responsible. Just 26 percent think the online platform should be held liable.

“Tech platforms powered by Section 230 continuously protect consumers from harmful and illegal activity while empowering free speech online. The results from this polling showcase that maintaining Section 230 is a priority for the American people,” says Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice.

“Section 230 enables online platforms to connect workers with potential employees, consumers to read reviews and comments to help them make decisions, and families to stay connected. It is understandable that the American public would continue to support Section 230 and not want to hold platforms liable for the content other people are posting.”

Additional poll findings include:

  • Americans overwhelmingly (70%) say their ability to post of view user-created content online is valuable to their personal and professional lives.
  • 62% of Americans say users who act illegally or post illegal content online are the ones who should be held liable.
  • Of those polled, 73% say users, not platforms, should be held responsible for posts made in the comments section of a webpage.
  • Only 1 in 5 polled say they trust the government keep online business practices ethical and fair, whereas a majority most trust consumers or businesses.

Each tech and social platform that hosts user-generated content has community standards in which customers and organizations need to abide to be part of the conversation.

DelBianco added, “These poll results confirm that despite calls for changes to Section 230 by some, Americans value their ability to post content online. It’s vital to keep Section 230 in place, because it not only empowers small businesses nationwide, it also connects Americans with their friends, family, and elected officials.”  

While online platforms work to improve the user experience and ensure safe environments for all users through content moderation and removal of offensive content, Americans continue to value their ability to post and view user-created content online. 

The poll data can be found here. For more information, please email info@netchoice.org.

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About NetChoice

NetChoice is a trade association that works to protect free expression and free enterprise online.

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…

Calling Section 230 a “big tech handout” is a lie. Here’s why.

Orange County Register

Unless you follow tech policy debates, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is a bit of an old, unheard-of law. But now it’s one worth talking about, especially since it has recently been brandished as a “handout to big tech” by the likes of Senators Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who are trying to get rid of it altogether.

Other famous conservatives, including firebrands Tucker Carlson and Charlie Kirk, seem to agree. But removing Section 230 wouldn’t be very conservative at all — it would only extend the presence of government into places it doesn’t belong. Nevertheless, it seems these many conservatives are digging in their heels because they want Section 230 to sound like evil corporate welfare for some of America’s greediest monopolies. As it turns out, it really isn’t.

Read more…

NetChoice Opposes Introduction of Stop Censorship Act

Today, Reps. Gosar (R-AZ), Meadows (R-NC), and King (R-IA) introduced the Stop Censorship Act. The bill would make platforms liable for all content if they remove “legal but otherwise objectionable” content, effectively banning platforms from removing extreme political content and misinformation.

“This bill effectively forces platforms to host harmful content like misinformation, radicalization, deep fakes, and racism.” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel of NetChoice.

“Even though the bill claims to allow moderation of adult content, spam, and bots, without text it’s likely these exemptions won’t allow for necessary content moderation that keeps consumers safe online.” 

“The bill would prevent platforms from removing extreme content including from groups that support white supremacism and antisemitism.”

“This bill won’t help conservatives but would undermine conservative values by giving government greater control over online speech.”

Morning Tech – Antitrust Action for Big Tech

Politico

— The tech industry is pushing back, contending that the sector fosters competition in the broader economy. “While anti-tech advocates argue that anything big is bad, for America’s small businesses, often the bigger the platform the better,” said Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel of NetChoice, an e-commerce trade group representing Facebook, Google and Twitter. But tech critics cheered the move, which drew statements of support from across the ideological spectrum, including from Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Elizabeth Warren(D-Mass.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Blumenthal.

The Technology 202

Citizens for Change

NetChoice, a tech lobbying group that counts Facebook and Google as members, quickly slammed the move, urging the DOJ to “resist the siren song of populism.”

NetChoice Raises Concerns with a Wide-Reaching Department of Justice Investigation into the Tech Industry

Today, NetChoice Raised Concerns with a Wide-Reaching Department of Justice Investigation into the Tech Industry

“The DOJ must resist the siren song of populism and only investigate actual evidence of consumer harm,” said Carl Szabo, NetChoice Vice President and General Counsel.

“While anti-tech advocates argue that anything big is bad, for America’s small businesses, often the bigger the platform the better.”

“If the DOJ sticks to the facts, it will see that Americans have more choices and more information than ever. Thanks to innovative online services, consumers have access to an abundance of products, businesses, and information.”

“These businesses cannot be considered monopolies when they compete against one another. Competition in tech is fierce.”

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.