Opeds

Americans Believe Online Platforms Empower Business Advertising and Community Engagement

Our data shows that Americans see the growth of online platforms has had a positive impact on the economy. Online platforms have not only allowed businesses of every size to reach potential customers nationwide, but also to advertise to them intelligently based so that they can reach the sort of customers more likely to buy their products. For many businesses, this has enabled them to thrive rather than just survive.

Consumers have benefitted too. Greater competition, innovation, and a reduction in the information gap has all been enabled by online platforms. With their help, an ideal purchase is only a click away.

58% of Americans, and 73% of those between 18 and 24 years old, say online platforms helped them discover a small business they had not previously known.

Online platforms haven’t just benefited commerce, either. 72% of Americans said that online platforms have enabled them to be in better touch with their community.

Over three quarters of Americans (77%) believe that the ability to place digital ads on these platforms is valuable to small businesses. This benefit extends to the wider economy too, with 70% of Americans believing that digital advertising is valuable to the national economy.

Evidently, Americans value their access to online platforms and the advertising services they provide. Politicians should avoid passing regulations that risk undermining every the benefits of the internet at every layer of society – from how individuals interact with their local community, to the viability of small businesses, to the wider economy.

Online platforms have become a vibrant and important component of our economy and society.

The Hill – Tech’s road to economic demise is paved with good intentions

The Hill – Tech’s road to economic demise is paved with good intentions

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) recently laid out his plan to “solve” modern day tech issues. But despite his good intentions, he has proposed policies that would break down our greatest economic engine – the tech industry.

The 20-page white paper call “Potential Policy Proposals for Regulation of Social Media and Technology Firms” represents noble ideas that would result in knee-capping American innovation, promoting increased market consolidation, and undermining privacy – all while leaving the problems the paper seeks to solve unaddressed.

City Council Making Too Many Wrong Mistakes

City Council Making Too Many Wrong Mistakes

As Yogi Berra would say, “It is Deja’ Vu all over again.”

At every turn, the New York City Council sides with the taxi cartels to the detriment of citizens outside of the heart of midtown Manhattan. This week was no different as the City Council voted to place a moratorium on new vehicle licenses for ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft.

Read more on our medium page.

Removing Alex Jones from Social Media Isn’t About the First Amendment

Removing Alex Jones from Social Media Isn’t About the First Amendment

Content moderation can be controversial, as demonstrated earlier this week when leading online platforms removed content and accounts posted by Alex Jones and his media property “Infowars.”

Many conservatives contend that the removal of Alex Jones’s content violated his freedom of speech. Ironically, these are often the same people that argue private businesses should be able to operate the way they want.

Private entities, including online platforms, are not bound by the first amendment, which applies only to action by the government. Private actors are bound by corporate policies and market forces…

Read More at the Daily Caller

The Daily Caller – REMOVING ALEX JONES FROM SOCIAL MEDIA ISN’T ABOUT THE FIRST AMENDMENT

The Daily Caller – Removing Alex Jones from Social Media Isn’t About the First Amendment

Content moderation can be controversial, as demonstrated earlier this week when leading online platforms removed content and accounts posted by Alex Jones and his media property “Infowars.”

Many conservatives contend that the removal of Alex Jones’s content violated his freedom of speech. Ironically, these are often the same people that argue private businesses should be able to operate the way they want.

Private entities, including online platforms, are not bound by the first amendment, which applies only to action by the government. Private actors are bound by corporate policies and market forces.

Don’t Let NY City Stay in Bed with Hotel Conglomerates

Don’t Let NY City Stay in Bed with Hotel Conglomerates

Imagine having city inspectors knocking on your door with a warrant to enter your home and fine you $8,000. The crime? Renting out a room as a short-term rental without hotel-level fire alarm and sprinkler systems, elevator access, and a host of other absurdities.

[Read more]

The Drive - Major Rental Car Companies Want Car Sharing Services to Be Equally Regulated

“Turo hosts have an economic disadvantage compared to giant rental car companies. NetChoice estimates that rental companies avoid paying $3.2 billion annually in state sales taxes, while Turo estimates that [its] hosts have paid over $450 million in state sales taxes when they purchased their personal vehicles,” Michelle Peacock, VP and Head of Government Relations at Turo told The Drive.

Chicago Business - Your neighbor isn't a business

There are benefits to being a traditional car-rental company that platforms like Turo don’t have. Traditional car-rental companies get all of what they charge for renting a vehicle. On Turo, the bulk of the money goes to the car owner and the platform only gets a small portion of the fee. Traditional car-rental companies get millions in tax subsidies, grants and federal bailouts. Individual car owners don’t. In fact, NetChoice estimates that rental companies avoid paying $3.2 billion annually in state sales taxes, while Turo estimates that its hosts have paid over $455 million in state sales taxes when they purchased their personal vehicles.

Maybe Brett Kavanaugh Can Save Conservative Supreme Court Justices From Their Judicial Activism

Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s consideration for the bench could pull Supreme Court’s conservatives back from their recent lurch into judicial activism. Nowhere else was this judicial activism by Conservative judges more apparent than in last month’s 5-4 Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair.

This decision exposed countless small businesses to tax collectors from 46 states. In doing so, the court struck down a key Supreme Court precedent that required a business to be physically present in a state before it can be forced to collect tax there.

Unfortunately, the bad news doesn’t stop there.

Read more at the Daily Caller

The Daily Caller – Maybe Brett Kavanaugh Can Save Conservative Supreme Court Justices From Their Judicial Activism

The Daily Caller – Maybe Brett Kavanaugh Can Save Conservative Supreme Court Justices From Their Judicial Activism

Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s consideration for the bench could pull Supreme Court’s conservatives back from their recent lurch into judicial activism. Nowhere else was this judicial activism by Conservative judges more apparent than in last month’s 5-4 Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair.

This decision exposed countless small businesses to tax collectors from 46 states. In doing so, the court struck down a key Supreme Court precedent that required a business to be physically present in a state before it can be forced to collect tax there.

Unfortunately, the bad news doesn’t stop there.

Read more at the Daily Caller

NetChoice Submits Comments on NTIA International Internet Policy Priorities

NetChoice submitted comments to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) regarding international internet policy priorities. We covered several topics, including ICANN and the IANA transition, online platform liability, and online privacy regulations.

First, the IANA transition enabled many hard-won bylaws improvements to hold ICANN accountable to Internet businesses and users. If our government even talks about unwinding the transition, it emboldens critics of the U.S. to push for ICANN and IANA functions to be moved to the UN system – which is about as far away from the private sector as you can go.

Second, we asked NTIA to prioritize free expression online, protected in the USA by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. This law has been crucial in protecting free speech online in the age of user-generated content. Internationally, NetChoice argued that NTIA should push for Section 230-style rules to be adopted by trading partners of the United States.

Finally, NetChoice highlighted the costs to American small businesses caused by foreign privacy regulations, such as data localization laws and Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Despite these laws being foreign, they will harm American small businesses.  GDPR, for example, applies to any business that processes information for a European resident – even if the resident is on U.S. soil.

Read NetChoice’s Comments Here

Don’t damage our democracy by breaking up big tech

We’ve heard the saber rattling from big tech critics who want to break up Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google. They claim they are helping the little guy and that they want more competition. But, new weapons these critics seek would give federal regulators unprecedented power — and undermine our democracy.

Read more at the East Bay Times

Also read in The Seattle Times, The La Crosse Tribune, and The Independent Record

Retail Apocalypse or Retail Revolution?

Pointing to high-profile bankruptcies and empty store windows, some analysts say we are witnessing a “retail apocalypse.” But a deeper dive into the latest earnings reports and retail trends suggests we’re seeing something entirely different: a retail revolution.

The rise of e-commerce has upended the retail ecosystem, but the future is not e-commerce. Instead, traditional retailers and e-commerce firms are racing to meet evolving consumer expectations for seamless omnichannel retail experiences.

For many traditional retailers, 2017 was a big year for investment and experimentation, and the winners were those who merged physical and e-commerce platforms into a seamless consumer experience.

Read More at Morning Consult

Don’t Assume the Supreme Court Will Open the Door For New Internet Taxes

Don’t Assume the Supreme Court Will Open the Door For New Internet Taxes

State tax collectors are counting on a vote from Justice Thomas to put them over the top. Knowing that Justice Thomas isn’t a fan of the dormant commerce clause, one of the many issues at play in Wayfair, these tax-advocates are already counting his vote.

Too bad they haven’t looked back more than a couple of years. If they did see what Thomas, Kennedy, and Scalia all agreed in Quill, these tax advocates would realize that Thomas may not help them, and in fact, Kennedy might not either.

For a Smooth Ride, e-Scooter Providers and Cities Need to Get Along

For a Smooth Ride, e-Scooter Providers and Cities Need to Get Along

America’s tech industry has embraced the idea of permissionless innovation, where new online business models set up operations without requesting approval from public officials. That’s how eBay revolutionized the way people sell their stuff, and it’s how sharing economy businesses became a great way for Americans to rent their own homes and cars to travelers.

To be sure, permissionless innovation has brought new waves of competition and consumer choice. But sometimes those waves wash right over public officials, raising their skepticism and scrutiny. We’ve already seen the pitfalls of permissionless innovation when some businesses placed their bikes and scooters on city streets.

Read More at National League of Cities’s CitySpeak

A Primer For CONFUSED Conservatives On The First Amendment And Free Speech On Social Media

For those conservatives fully aware of how the First Amendment works and who still call for government action against Facebook, I just say: Cut it out. The solution for conservatives’ concerns about social media platforms is to vote with your feet and use a different platform. Stick to your principles and forget about the temporary insanity of arguing to expand government regulation.

Conservatives value a strict adherence to principles because of what can happen when a society drifts from its core values. It’s crucial they remember these principles in the age of the internet.

As President Ronald Reagan said, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

Government regulation of free speech online would not safeguard the future of conservative speech. It would endanger it.

Read more at The Daily Caller

Virginia Supreme Court ruling on license plates creates dangerous speed bumps for law enforcement

A license plate number would not be “personal information” because there is nothing about a license plate number that inherently “describes, locates or indexes anything about an individual.” Without something connecting the license plate number to an individual, it is just a combination of letters and numbers that does not describe, locate or index anything about anyone.

SORRY, CONSERVATIVES: You Don’t Have Free Speech On Facebook Or Twitter

If a business decides to favor your point of view, you would likely see that as a good thing and spend more time on that platform. Conversely, you would be less likely to spend time on the opposing platform. But at the end of the day, businesses must be allowed to do as they see fit. And as users, if we don’t like something, we can simply go somewhere else, allowing the market to pick winners and losers.

Read More at the Daily Caller

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica: What’s this really about?

So rather than blame technology for election outcomes and call for more regulation, let’s start by seeing this incident for what it is: a university researcher who breached his contract has made it harder for anyone to ever again do good work using data from Facebook public profiles.

Media Corporations Want to Control Your Newsfeed

We now live in a golden age of information and news, but if you talk to the big media companies, they see access to other content as a direct threat to their profits. These big newspapers want to return us to the dark age of information where they have the power to control the news that you see and drive-up their profits… Read more