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.
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.
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.
It’s become unfortunately common for anti-business advocates to demand that government break up successful American businesses. The demands have no basis in traditional antitrust law, and so many in Washington are calling the movement “hipster-antitrust.” Instead of focusing on general consumer welfare, the movement seeks to include notions of income inequality, unemployment and wage growth under the antitrust umbrella.
“A crackdown on short-term rentals would allow companies like Marriott and Hilton to raise room rates even higher. Even worse, D.C. would need to spend more than $100 million to enforce these new regulations on residents — including losing tax revenue earned from short-term rentals.
Imagine what the District could do if it spent $350 million on affordable housing rather than on this new handout to big hotels.”
The FTC report could also slow the growth of IoT, added Steve DelBianco, executive director of e-commerce think tank NetChoice. The report “risks scaring consumers and businesses away from a technology the report calls a new area of growth,” DelBianco said by email.
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It looks like it’s going to be a tough mid-term for Republicans. And if beltway Republicans keep-up their attack on Google and Facebook, new polling shows reelection may be even tougher.
Some Congressional Republicans think demonizing Silicon Valley is their key to mobilizing grassroots and voters. The tech industry leans liberal and is largely based in California. The thinking of some Republican strategists goes that this makes big tech a perfect target for Republican attacks.
This thinking has led to new calls for federal regulation of internet companies by otherwise limited government Republicans. But Republican voters overwhelmingly value big tech platforms and oppose government intervention in the tech industry.
From: Zogby Analytics
To: Interested Parties
Date: Sept 12, 2018
Subject: Americans supportive of ad-funded tech platforms; believe US regulatory focus should be elsewhere
From August 6-8, Zogby Analytics conducted an interactive survey of 1,222 adults focused on consumer attitudes toward Internet platforms and government attempts at regulation. The survey, commissioned by NetChoice, has a margin of error of +/- 2.8%.
Americans believe that Internet platforms enable small businesses to expand their reach and to better target consumers.
- Over half (58%) of consumers and nearly 3 in 4 (73%) of those aged 18-24 have discovered small businesses they had not previously known using social media.
- 77% say digital ads are valuable for small businesses and 70% say digital advertising platforms are valuable to the national economy
- 72% say that apps like Google and Facebook enable them to be in better touch with their community.
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.