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Tech Antitrust Bill Stokes Content-Moderation Worries (Correct)




Concerns about privacy and content moderation are rising as Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) Is pushing for legislation to thwart anti-competitive practices online.

Congressmen are united on the need to curb major tech companies. Members of both parties are working on a radical bicameral effort, including various bills aimed at holding businesses accountable for promoting competition, protecting consumers, and spreading disinformation online. It is working.

One of the most prominent measures, Klobuchars (S. 2992), is that companies such as Alphabet Inc.s Google and Inc. place their products at the top of search results and prioritize their products. Is prohibited. .. Senator’s American Innovation and Choice Online Act also prohibits businesses from restricting competitors’ access to data generated on their platforms.

This measure has triggered intense lobbying from tech companies. They say limiting the company’s ability to demote and remove other businesses on its platform hinders efforts to mitigate harmful content. Their debate weighs heavily on undecided lawmakers.

I agree with the spirit of what I was trying to achieve here, but it is important to make sure the language is correct, Senator Alex Padilla (D), a state with many high-tech tycoons in the state. -Calif.) Said in an interview. The best example is to make sure that you are not inadvertently promoting malicious expression.

Many Democrats are concerned about the risk that disinformation online will undermine voters’ confidence in the country’s electoral system, which could lead to violence such as the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. ..

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) has promised to find legislative floor times despite the busy schedule of the Chamber of Commerce, according to Klobuchar. Negotiations on the language of the bill are ongoing.

Photo: Tassoska Topodis-Pool / Getty Images

Senator Amy Klobuchar asks questions at the Justice Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and Law on April 27, 2021. The panel heard testimony about the use of algorithms and amplifications on social media platforms.

Padilla expressed concern about the bill during the Senate Judiciary Committee markup, but eventually voted in favor. He said adding definitions of terms such as priority would help to strike the right balance of protecting consumers without depriving them of the services they enjoy.

Padilla also said portability of consumer data is important to drive competition, but is concerned that privacy is not equally prioritized in the bill.

Under this bill, the platform has limited capabilities to limit access to competitors’ customer data. The platform also cannot use privacy as an excuse to stop competition.

Padilla said his staff had a preliminary conversation with Klobuchars, but the revised language had not been received and was not agreed upon.

On the fence

Klobuchar tried to address his colleagues’ concerns at a Democratic rally lunch last month, according to co-sponsor Senator Hirono Majie (D-Hawaii), who supports the bill.

Since then, Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chairman of the Senate Trade, Science and Transportation Commission, the state where Amazon’s headquarters are located, said she was undecided about how she would vote. Senator Cory Booker (DN.J.), co-sponsor of the bill, said he was concerned about the bill.

Another co-sponsor, Senate Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.), Said that the bill would unintentionally reduce the ability of the platform to target disinformation and protect users in the United States and abroad. He said he was delving into the concerns raised by intelligence officials.

Some Republicans are also wary.

Senator Joni Ernst (Iowa) needs to balance the needs of the American countryside with the bill, as there are so many people shopping online. She added that she has expressed her concerns to legislative co-sponsor Charles Ernest Grassley (R-Iowa), a member of the judicial rankings.

A senior house aide working on the companion bill said content moderation and privacy were afraid to resonate in the room below. The aide said the Chamber of Commerce had hands and gloves on the final text, and it is unlikely that major changes would be made to the bill.

Lobbying push

Tech giants, including Facebook from Google, Amazon, Apple, and Metaplatform, are working hard to tackle the Crobchars bill and other antitrust laws. FreePress, an advocate that claims to target powerful, influential platforms, shares concerns about content moderation.

Mark McCarthy, a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Innovation Center, agreed that the standards for harmonizing privacy and competition are too competitive.

Regarding content moderation, McCarthy said: As they try to deal with the competition, they are very worried that they are stepping into a tricky territory that deserves their own bill.

Not all tech companies share concerns.

Luther Lowe, Senior Vice President of Public Policy Yelp Inc., said the problem of content moderation was a fictitious horror that happened to be caused by millions of people working at Google. rice field.

Rowe said he had problems with Google’s behavior and that the platform’s own review content was stalled by fake posts, but still remained at the top of the page, exchanging the most relevant results for its products.

Complaints have not delayed Klobuchar.

We’ve been making changes to the bill and have listened to concerns, Klobuchar said in an interview. But let’s make it clear that this bill will not be a watered-down version that would end up in the study of technical issues.

To contact reporters about this story: Maria Curi, Washington ([email protected])

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sarah Babbage ([email protected]). Robin Mesory ([email protected])




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