NetChoice Challenges State Attorney’s General Antitrust Attack on Tech

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, several state Attorneys General from across the country are launching an antitrust investigation into technology businesses including Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google.

“These cases brought by state AGs are weak as these platforms have neither market dominance nor engage in anti-competitive behavior,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice.

“It’s clear that tech markets are highly competitive. Within 18 months of launching, Tik Tok achieved over a billion global downloads, Snapchat maintains a strong standing, Spotify is double the size of Apple music, and Walmart remains the largest seller in the world.”

“State AGs should focus on industries where consumer harm actually exists. NetChoice polling shows that only 5% of consumers think that antitrust enforcement should be most focused on online platforms.“

“This attack on online platforms by Republican AGs should concern conservatives who expect the GOP to be the party of small government – instead, these AGs are listening to the siren song of populism in their desire to regulate businesses they don’t like.”

NetChoice Criticizes Congressional Efforts to Upend Short-Term Rental Market

Today, NetChoice criticized efforts by Rep. Case (D-HI) to pass legislation that would upend the American short-term rental market by removing Section 230 protections.

“Nobody would say that a newspaper is liable for problems that occur with a rental that appeared in the paper’s classified ads, but that is just what Case’s bill would do to short-term rental platforms. This approach creates a moral hazard by shifting legal responsibility from the homeowner to the platform that lists it for rental.” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice.

“Without Section 230 it will be harder for homeowners to earn extra income through short-term rental of their home, which today is helping them cover expenses and mortgage payments.”

“Weakening Section 230 will damage Americans’ ability to communicate online.  The beneficiaries of this bill are big hotel chains who want to raise room rates without worrying that guests would consider short-term rentals as an alternative.”

NetChoice Raises Concerns with Beto O’Rourke’s Proposal to Amend Section 230

Today, NetChoice raised concerns with former Congressman Beto O’Rourke announced plans to hold internet companies accountable for failing to stop hate speech and domestic terrorism threats online.

“By prescribing how platforms moderate speech, Beto’s proposal would actually make it harder to remove hateful and extremist content.” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel of NetChoice. 

“Since 8chan doesn’t moderate content at all, 8chan doesn’t rely on Section 230 to avoid liability for user content. 8chan already gets the same ‘conduit’ liability limits as newsstands and cable providers.”

“Section 230 is the legal tool that empowers platforms to take down hate speech, and has allowed Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to remove almost 12 million accounts for hate speech violations.”

NetChoice Challenges White House Proposal to Control Online Speech

Today, CNN obtained a copy of a summary of a proposed Executive Order by The White House to grant the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission investigation and oversight powers regarding moderation of content by online platforms.

“In a week where many in Washington pressured social media sites to more closely moderate their platforms, we are seeing efforts from the White House to make content moderation harder.” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel for NetChoice.

“If President Trump is concerned about mistreatment of conservatives by social media platforms the White House should continue a productive dialogue with the tech industry — not empower government agencies to regulate online speech.”

“Diminishing platforms’ ability to remove offensive content empowers the spread of extremist political speech.”

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.”

NetChoice Commends President Trump and the White House for Addressing French Digital Service Tax

Today, NetChoice commended President Trump and the White House for addressing discriminatory tax proposals coming from Europe.

“France’s Digital Service Tax (DST) is a clear and targeted attempt by Macron to unfairly line French pockets with revenue generated by American innovations,” said Carl Szabo, VP and General Counsel at NetChoice. “President Trump has correctly recognized that France’s Digital Service Tax treats American businesses operating in Europe unfairly.”

“France’s DST ignores advertising by newspapers and television by only taxing large online businesses, the vast majority of which are housed in the United States. DST’s discrimination is obviously intentional and patently unfair,” continued Szabo. “We commend President Trump for his initiative in protecting America’s businesses and combat this unfair tax on American innovation by a foreign power.”

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.”

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.”

NetChoice Supports Facebook and FTC Settlement

Today, NetChoice voiced support for the FTC and Facebook’s settlement, for which Facebook will be fined $5 billion. This breaks the record for privacy-related fines and is about 100 times larger than last year’s EU’s fine for Google.

“The FTC’s Facebook fine is the largest ever, by a huge margin,” said Carl Szabo, General Counsel at NetChoice. “Yet we are already hearing anti-tech critics claim that the fine is not enough. “

“The FTC’s Facebook fine is unprecedented and will undoubtedly motivate better privacy practices by all businesses. The FTC commissioners should enjoy their weekend, #ThatsGonnaLeaveAMark”