Connect with us

Big Tech

Big Tech Must Take More Hands-Off Approach to Content to Build Trust, Expert Says 

Expert warns Big Tech must adopt hands-off approach to regain public trust.

Published

on

Katherine Maher, former Wikimedia CEO

June 22, 2021 – Tech companies must become more resistant to remove or get involved in the content that is posted on their platforms to see the kind of credibility garnered by Wikipedia, an expert said Tuesday.

At the Atlantic Council 360 Summit, former Wikimedia CEO Katherine Maher said to regain the trust of the public, big tech must restructure their companies to include individuals who are dedicated to creating neutral and fact-based policies surrounding community standards, Maher said.

When pressed about Wikipedia being a non-profit source of information, as compared to companies such as Twitter and Facebook, Maher said that they do face more of a challenge than most to remain mission-focused on information.

Maher gave anecdotes about how Wikipedia would refuse to take down information in just one nation or country because they feared a slippery slope in which they could be asked to take down information regarding any unpopular topic.

Section 230 debate

The comments come as Congress debates possible amendments to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields big tech platforms from legal liability for the posts of their users.

Controversial actions taken by Twitter over the last year to remove content they deemed broke their guidelines, including to ban former president Donald Trump, and Facebook following in that vein have thrust the discussion back into the spotlight.

Reform proposals have been put forth, including a bill introduced by Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, that would largely keep Section 230 in place, but amend it to remove protections related to content that the platforms get paid for.

The comments also come at a time when public trust in big tech has reached an all-time low. According to digital news service Axios, Americans’ trust in big tech decreased nearly 20 percent from 2017 to 2021. Companies went from being the most trusted in the nation to ninth-most trusted.

Big tech is also facing challenges in the legal sphere with Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, constantly fighting against Section 230 protections.

Maher maintained that though big tech may have to spend money and restructure themselves, if companies desire to regain the trust of their users, then a more transparent and hands-off approach similar to that of Wikipedia is mandatory.

Reporter Jasmine Campos, a native of California, studied political science and journalism at Azusa Pacific University. She worked as the news editor on her school newspaper and contributor for The College Fix. In her free time, she reads, catches up on the latest news or is binge-watching Friends.

Big Tech

Big Tech Reforms Need Review of Cybersecurity to Ensure Capabilities Will Not Be Diminished, Event Hears

Despite their efforts to improve consumer competition and security, some argue Congress’s legislation could have unintended effects.

Published

on

Photo of John Negroponte courtesy Duke Univesity

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2022 – Experts warned Monday that antitrust legislation being considered to rein in Big Tech could exacerbate cybersecurity concerns that may jeopardize smaller players.

During a Foreign Policy panel hosted on Monday, American Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Klon Kitchen said many startups are dependent on the underlying datasets, technologies, and code provided by large technology companies.

He argued that while giants like Microsoft can invest billions of dollars in cybersecurity, smaller companies simply do not have the capital necessary to invest in their own protocols. He called for legislation to have a “robust and honest” security review before it is adopted – reviews he argued are not currently taking place.

Though the panelists did not point specifically to any one bill that is particularly harmful, there are currently several high-profile bills aimed at reforming the tech industry.

One such bill that has been in the spotlight for several months is Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s, D-Minn., Consolidation Prevention and Competition Promotion Act of 2021, or S.3267. This bill would severely limit large tech companies from engaging in the acquisition of nascent competitors. The bill has been introduced in the Senate and has been read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

American companies targeted in a field with global players

Former Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte also expressed concerns Monday about various antitrust legislation before Congress.

Maggie Lake and John Negroponte

“The various proposed bills out there generally only apply to a handful of United States companies, and in addition to that, they would not apply at all to foreign companies,” he said. “This is not a purely domestic market, although sometimes reading these laws, you would think that the drafters believe [that is the case].”

Continue Reading

Antitrust

FTC Commissioner Concerned About Antitrust Impact on Already Rising Consumer Prices

Noah Phillips said Tuesday he wants the commission to think about the impact of antitrust rules on rising prices.

Published

on

Screenshot of Federal Trade Commissioner Noah Phillips

WASHINGTON, May 17, 2022 – Rising inflation should be a primary concern for the Federal Trade Commission when considering antitrust regulations on Big Tech, said Commissioner Noah Phillips Tuesday.

When considering laws, “the important thing is what impact it has on the consumer,” said Phillips. “We need to continue to guard like a hawk against conduct and against laws that have the effect of raising prices for consumers.”

Current record highs in the inflation rate, which means money is becoming less valuable as products become more expensive, has meant Washington must become sensitive to further price increases that could come out of such antitrust legislation, the commissioner said.

Phillips did not comment on how such movies would mean higher prices, but that signals, such as theHouse Judiciary Committee’s antitrust report two years ago, that reign in Big Tech companies and bring back enforcement of laws could mean higher prices. He raised concerns that recent policies are prohibiting competition rather than facilitating it.

This follows recent concerns that the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, currently awaiting Senate floor consideration, will inhibit America’s global competitiveness by weakening major American companies, thus impairing the American economy. That legislation would prohibit platform owners from giving preference to their products against third-party products.

This act is one of many currently under consideration at Congress, including Ending Platform Monopolies Act and Platform Competition and Opportunity Act.

Small businesses have worried that by enacting some legislation targeting Big Tech, they would be impacted because they rely on such platforms for success.

Continue Reading

Big Tech

Small Business Owners Call for FTC, DOJ to Institute Antitrust Measures Against Big Tech

Small business owners vocalized concerns at a forum hosted by the FTC and the DoJ.

Published

on

Screenshot of FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan

WASHINGTON, May 17, 2022 – Small business owners and employees urged the Federal Trade Commission last week to take further action against big tech company mergers that dominate their markets.

With Washington’s focus on scrutinizing potential mergers, small business members that appeared on a forum Thursday hosted by the FTC and Justice Department pushed for antitrust measures against market monopolization that they said undermines small business success. Jonathan Kanter, the assistant attorney general for the antitrust Division, called this a “new generation of digital giants.”

Saagar Enjeti, host of a media podcast, expressed his inability to participate in a truly free and open internet due to the influence of big tech companies, in which he said there has been a rash of misinformation on the coronavirus, the 2020 presidential election, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Bradley Tusk, a venture capitalist who invests in tech startups, said he wants the FTC to have “more scrutiny” on big tech mergers. “The FTC should aggressively do everything in its power to do the job itself,” said Tusk.

Erin Wade agreed for more scrutiny on monopolies in which DoorDash and UberEats compete. As a restaurant owner, she said delivery mega platforms are harming restaurant profits and disrupting their business via tactics including underpricing their delivery fees and “bund[ling] orders so badly it damages customer relations.

“Small businesses are central to the American economy and American democracy,” Wade said during the event, pushing for the FTC to place more scrutiny on big tech companies.

According to FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan, as several digital platforms continue to control the market today, anti-trust agencies should do what they can to encourage competition and provide checks on these big tech companies.

Continue Reading

Recent

Signup for Broadband Breakfast

Get twice-weekly Breakfast Media news alerts.
* = required field

Trending