Could The Biden Administration Take Down Big Tech?
Lina Khan is a top antitrust lawyer, she previously worked as counsel to the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law. The nomination would mean Biden is going to be aggressive against tech giants like Facebook, Google, and Amazon. An FBI agent called Khan's associates this week as part of a final background check before Biden formally nominates her to the FTC. This nomination along with his hire of antitrust activist Tim Wu as a White House economic advisor indicates his intent to move away from the Obama administration's coziness with the tech industry.
Democrats accuse them of choking or consuming their competition in the marketplace and perpetuating the spread of disinformation, while Republicans accuse Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms of unfairly censoring conservative viewpoint.
During his term Trump signed an executive order calling for tech companies to lose their Section 230 protection if they did anything to discriminate against users, restricted their access to a platform without giving them a fair hearing, or took other action that wasn't in line with their terms of service.
"As President, I have made clear my commitment to free and open debate on the Internet. Such debate is just as important online as it is in our universities, our businesses, our newspapers and our homes," the executive order said. "In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand-pick the speech that Americans may access and convey online."
"This is not how the Constitution works," said Ashkhen Kazaryan, director of civil liberties at the libertarian think tank TechFreedom. "The First Amendment protects Twitter from Trump. It does not protect Trump from Twitter."
Additionally, during Trumps term the Justice Department filed a landmark antitrust lawsuit against Google accusing the search giant of crushing competitors by striking exclusionary business deals (2 months later Texas, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah filed another antitrust lawsuit over its ad practices).
Big Tech should be ready for tighter rules and possibly reform on section 230. We may even see one of the big tech giants being split up like the railroad monopolies of old. It should be an interesting four years.