Opeds

The Hotel Industry Is Lobbying to Make Your Next Vacation More Expensive

The Daily Signal

Earlier this month, Congressman Ed Case introduced a bill that would make finding accommodation on your next getaway more expensive—regardless of where you choose to stay.

Why? It turns out hotels don’t like your cheap stays with Airbnb and HomeAway, and they’re lining up behind this bill to run those platforms off the market.

The Hawaii Democrat calls it the “PLAN Act,” short for Protecting Local Authority and Neighborhoods. The bill would amend a crucial internet provision called Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act—the law that enables online services to host large amounts of user-created content without bearing liability for that content.

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Net ‘Censorship’ and Community Standards

Wall Street Journal

In a week in which our nation is wondering how to stop hateful speech online, Dennis Prager (“Don’t Let Google Get Away With Censorship,” op-ed, Aug. 7) complains about platforms applying their community standards when filtering videos and other content created by users.

Mr. Prager’s complaint, “Our videos are restricted only because they are conservative,” is an accusation that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

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Protecting The Internet From Government Censorship Is Key To The Future Of Global Trade

Forbes

As the U.S. and China wrestle over tariffs, public attention naturally focuses on manufacturing. But for years manufacturing’s share of global trade has been shrinking, while trade in services has been growing. The economy of the future will be leveraged on the exchange of knowledge and intellectual property. This should make commercial services sold via the internet central to any new U.S. trade agreements.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Deepfakes are a problem — So what is the solution?

The Hill

“Deepfakes” is the latest scary buzz word circling Capitol Hill. It’s basically a fake video made to look real.

But “deepfakes” is really just a new word for “photoshopping” of digital images. It can be putting a face on someone else’s body with the intent to deceive, or it might be an obvious attempt at satire (like John Snow apologizing for Season 8 of Game of Thrones).

Sen. Hawley Has a Bill That Could Put the KKK in Your Newsfeed

Content moderation is how online platforms like Facebook and Twitter have a safe place for their users to create, share, and consume news and views. Some online platforms moderate extreme political content so their users doesn’t see white supremacist content next to family photos and cat videos.

But Sen. Hawley’s “Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act,” would force online platforms to host politically extreme content that most of us would prefer to avoid online, such as views and videos produced by the KKK.

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For antitech activists, no fine is too high — Even $5 Billion from Facebook

Following the news that Facebook set aside $3 billion to pay an FTC fine of up to $5 billion, many in D.C. wait for news about the FTC’s investigation into the social media business.

Yet, antitech advocates already decided that the yet to be announced FTC fine is not enough.

Read more on Medium…

Spotify’s Song of Relationship Problems With Apple Would Make Taylor Swift Proud

Morning Consult

Taylor Swift is famous for saying “Haters gonna hate” and it seems as though popular music streaming service Spotify has taken that lyric to heart as it launched its haters campaign against Apple Music. Spotify turned on the water works as it cried to European regulators that Apple was abusing its market power to prevent Spotify’s success. What’s worse, Europeans are listening to Spotify’s song of despair.

Lower taxes work for Texas, why are lawmakers trying to create new ones?

Despite the histrionics of high-tax enthusiasts, new tax cuts are producing incredible revenue for state tax coffers. Texas alone has seen a 15 percent tax revenue increase this year. And Texas Comptroller Hegar expects an 8 percent growth in the state’s tax collections over the next two years — an extra $9 billion more to the state.

Read more at Medium

Chris Hughes May Have Helped Found Facebook, But He’s Wrong on Antitrust

Former Facebook employee Chris Hughes recently published an oped complaining about his former employer, It’s Time to Break Up Facebook. While passionate, this oped is riddled with half-truths, unsupported statements and flatly wrong assertions.

This article attempts to manipulate the reader — starting with a parade of horribles about Facebook in order to make readers more susceptible to suggestion. The author, Chris Hughes, then closes with “recommended solutions” that not only threaten our national security, but undermine America’s founding principles.

Read more at Medium

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.

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Tech Giants Should Have The Freedom To Kick Conservatives Off Their Platforms

This month, conservative senators held a hearing on tech companies “stifling free speech.” Before the hearing, senators read the decision of a Trump-appointed judge in Freedom Watch v. Google — a recent case tackling accusations of bias.

In the case, Judge Trevor McFadden threw out a lawsuit filed by Freedom Watch and activist Laura Loomer against YouTube, Facebook, Apple, and Twitter. Freedom Watch demanded the court stop the platforms from demonetizing and age-rating their content.

Read more at Daily Caller

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…

FTC Commissioner Chopra Misreads Section 230 on Whether it Applies to Advertising

In his statement at the ABA Antitrust Section Spring Meeting 2019, Commissioner Chopra said, “A company engaged in or benefiting from behavioral advertising is not acting necessarily as a passive conduit…we need to consider whether they have lost Section 230 immunity.”

In one word, no. Commissioner Chopra is wrong in his reading of Section 230of the Communications Decency Act.

In this blog, we’ll show that nothing in the law itself, or the way it’s being interpreted, would suggest that promoted content is not protected by Section 230.

Read more here…

NetChoice Response to Sen. Warren’s Medium Post “Here’s how we can break up Big Tech”

NetChoice Response to Sen. Warren’s Medium Post “Here’s how we can break up Big Tech”

Consumers and Small Businesses would lose from Sen. Warren’s proposal to break-up Amazon, Facebook, and Google

Senator Warren’s new draconian attack on tech threatens to throttle innovation, kneecap user experience, increase prices for goods, and threaten America’s leadership in tech.

It seems that in Sen. Warren’s eyes, all large businesses are bad businesses — but the middle class whom she tries to fight for greatly benefit from the very businesses she wants to rip apart — such as Google and Facebook.

Read more here