NetChoice Media Hits

Inside the media industry’s struggle to take on Silicon Valley

Politico

“If only somebody would help Rupert Murdoch,” quipped Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel of the tech trade group NetChoice, whose members include Facebook and Google.

Will the fight against big tech monopolies bring Republicans and Democrats together?

Deseret News

Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel for tech trade association NetChoice, testified before the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee in July in a two-part proceeding that included bipartisan grilling of witnesses about potential anticompetitive practices by big tech companies. NetChoice counts Facebook, Google, Twitter and others among its membership.

Szabo told the Deseret News there’s a sentiment afoot at state and federal levels to weaponize federal antitrust law.

“What you’re seeing is an attempt to use antitrust as a weapon to intimidate tech companies into complying with the whims of politicians,” Szabo said. “And that’s creating a dangerous precedent, not only for how we evaluate antitrust law for all businesses, but how we choose to treat issues of free speech for America.”

Szabo said the “lash outs” from some elected officials have stemmed from “tech businesses supporting or opposing the speech of a particular politician.”

He also noted polling conducted by his group, and others, reflects a disconnect between the will of voters and the “antitrust agendas” coming from both sides of the political divide.

“We did some polling and, not surprisingly, those making calls for anti-tech activity are out of touch,” Szabo said. “Polling conducted by NBC and the Wall Street Journal showed that Americans overwhelmingly like and support companies such as Google and Twitter and even companies like Facebook had a 50-50 breakdown.

“Democrats and Republicans advocating for anti-tech activity puts them out of touch with their constituents.”

At Least 20 States Join Forces, Take Part in Big Tech Antitrust Investigation

The Western Journal

While bipartisan efforts are moving forward, the vice president of NetChoice, a trade association of businesses, expressed disappointment in the plans, calling it a “tech witch hunt.”

“There is no case for antitrust. The marketplace is robust with competition and it’s incongruous that direct competitors can all simultaneously be monopolies,” Carl Szabo told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Antitrust enforcement is a tool to ensure competition, not a weapon to attack businesses you don’t like,” Szabo said. “If AGs ignore facts and convert antitrust enforcement from an objective standard to a subjective one, it will create a dangerous political weapon that should scare all businesses.”

Big techs facing antitrust investigation

LaCorte News

“It’s disappointing to see state AGs pursue this tech witch hunt. There is no case for antitrust. The marketplace is robust with competition and it’s incongruous that direct competitors can all simultaneously be monopolies…Antitrust enforcement is a tool to ensure competition, not a weapon to attack businesses you don’t like,” NetChoice Vice President Carl Szabo told the Daily Caller.

‘Tech Witch Hunt’: Here’s How 20 Or More States Plan To Take On Big Tech

The Daily Caller and US China Investment News

“It’s disappointing to see state AGs pursue this tech witch hunt. There is no case for antitrust. The marketplace is robust with competition and it’s incongruous that direct competitors can all simultaneously be monopolies,” NetChoice Vice President Carl Szabo, who testified in a July 16 congressional hearing titled “Online Platforms and Market Power,” told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Antitrust enforcement is a tool to ensure competition, not a weapon to attack businesses you don’t like. If AGs ignore facts and convert antitrust enforcement from an objective standard to a subjective one, it will create a dangerous political weapon that should scare all businesses,” he added.

Expedia to Congress – Hands Off Tech Liability Shield

Politico Morning Tech

“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,” said NetChoice President Steve DelBianco. (His trade group members include all the major short-term rental platforms, from Airbnb to Expedia to Travelocity).

Internal Divides Cloud Tech Industry’s Antitrust Defense

Politico – Morning Tech

As the antitrust heat rises, the small, right-leaning trade association NetChoice, which counts Facebook and Google as members, has emerged as one of the tech industry’s most vocal defenders. Carl Szabo, the vice president and general counsel of the three-person operation, said antitrust falls well within the group’s mission to “keep the internet open for free expression and free enterprise.”

After the DOJ announced its review, NetChoice called on the department to “resist the siren song of populism and only investigate actual evidence of consumer harm.” It also slammed House Democrats as “hypocritical” for complaining about the power of tech companies while seeking an antitrust exemption for big news publishers to negotiate collectively with Google and Facebook over ad sales.

Industry trade groups shouldn’t shy away from the fight, Szabo said.

“I would hope that all associations and all business would oppose a movement away from objective, data-based analysis of antitrust and all associations and businesses would oppose the weaponization of antitrust,” Szabo said. “While such actions may help them today, it can definitely be used against them tomorrow.”

Trump seeks powers to rein in alleged tech bias

The Hill

NetChoice, a trade association that represents Facebook, Google and Twitter, said Friday that an executive order on social media content would be counterproductive to the president’s goal of weeding out extremism online.

“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,” Carl Szabo, the group’s vice president and general counsel, said in a statement. 

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

Trump seeks powers to rein in alleged social media bias

High Plains Pundit

NetChoice, a trade association that represents Facebook, Google and Twitter, said Friday that an executive order on social media content would be counterproductive to the president’s goal of weeding out extremism online.

“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,” Carl Szabo, the group’s vice president and general counsel, said in a statement.

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

How Big Tech Cracks Down on Extremist Content Uploaded by Mass Shooters

Inside Sources

Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel for Big Tech lobbying group NetChoice, said that between July and December 2018, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube “took action against over 11 million accounts that had broken policies on hate speech and extremism.”

“The 11 million accounts, that’s the number you don’t hear about because it’s gone before you even see it,” Szabo told InsideSources. “The large platforms and even the small ones do work really hard to take down harmful content and do that through algorithms and bots, through user tagging, and through manual reviews.”

The internet’s role in gun violence

Politico Morning Tech

Legal protections: “All posts on 8chan are the responsibility of the individual poster and not the administration of 8chan, pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 230,” reads one line of tiny fine print on the site’s landing page, invoking Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the clause that gives 8chan and other websites legal immunity for user-generated content. The statute has been at the center of a growing debate over whether the legal shield is providing cover to tech companies that need to do more to combat hate speech and disinformation. (Republicans have also floated the idea of weakening 230 because, they say, Google, Facebook and Twitter are biased against conservatives.) The 8chan link to the El Paso shooting could accelerate talk of changing the law. But industry groups argue 230 helps tech platforms police bad content. “Section 230 empowers platforms to stop the spread of vile content from the dark corners of the Internet,” Carl Szabo, general counsel at NetChoice, told MT. “Without Section 230, extreme speech would become more prevalent online — not less.”

They’re barking up the wrong tree on Section 230

The Economic Standard

That’s according to Robert Winterton, Director of Communications at NetChoice, a trade association committed to protecting free enterprise and free expression online, writing in the OC Register. A measure implemented in 1996 to establish the legal responsibility of content creators for whatever they post on the Internet — surely a good idea? — Section 230 has come under fire from the likes of Ted Cruz and Tucker Carlson as a “handout” to big tech companies like Google and Facebook in the wake of terrorism and alleged election meddling controversies. The fact that neither company existed when the law was passed is your first clue that the logic here may be faulty, and Winterton lays out a convincing argument supported, among other things, by analysis from the Mercatus Center.

Media v. Tech Continued

Politico

— But critics say the media industry is using big tech as a scapegoat for its business model woes. “It’s clear this is just an attack on social media by big media companies upset that they no longer control our news and views,” said Carl Szabo, general counsel at NetChoice, a trade group representing Facebook, Google and Twitter, in June. “Big media is struggling to dominate again as they did before the internet. … Rather than looking for government to tear down tech businesses, big media should follow tech’s lead and innovate so they are more competitive.”

U.S. Senator introduces a new Social Media Addiction Reduction Tech (SMART) Act that bans endless scrolling and autoplay

Packt

According to Bloomberg, Google and Facebook declined to comment. NetChoice, a trade group that counts both companies as members, said, “The goal of this bill is to make being online a less-enjoyable experience.”

Amazon targeted (again) at Dem debate

Politico Morning Tech

Critics say the media industry is using big tech as a scapegoat for its business model woes. “It’s clear this is just an attack on social media by big media companies upset that they no longer control our news and views,” said Carl Szabo, general counsel at NetChoice, a trade group representing Facebook, Google and Twitter, in June. “Big media is struggling to dominate again as they did before the internet. … Rather than looking for government to tear down tech businesses, big media should follow tech’s lead and innovate so they are more competitive.”

Senator’s bill would ban YouTube, Facebook scrolls as addictive

The Business Times

Google and Facebook declined to comment. NetChoice, a trade group that counts both companies as members, said, “The goal of this bill is to make being online a less-enjoyable experience.”