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12 Days of Broadband

Amid Big Tech Controversies, Section 230’s Future is Uncertain

The Supreme Court is preparing to hear two cases related to content moderation and platform liability.

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Graphic courtesy of Ellagrin Graphic

From the 12 Days of Broadband:

The past year has seen many controversial decisions from big tech platforms, but 2022 might end up being the last year that such decisions are shielded by the liability protections of Section 230 of the Telecommunications Act.

Many actors are now calling for the statue’s repeal or reformulation. Conservative populists on the right argue that it enables social media giants to silence conservative speech. Progressives on the left believe it allows platforms to shirk responsibility for moderating hate speech and misinformation.

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Reporter Em McPhie studied communication design and writing at Washington University in St. Louis, where she was a managing editor for the student newspaper. In addition to agency and freelance marketing experience, she has reported extensively on Section 230, big tech, and rural broadband access. She is a founding board member of Code Open Sesame, an organization that teaches computer programming skills to underprivileged children.

12 Days of Broadband

State Broadband Offices Face Major Challenges With Limited Resources

State officials are responsible for the disbursal of federal broadband infrastructure funds, but many offices are understaffed.

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From the 12 Days of Broadband:

State broadband officials must administer funding programs, build broadband availability maps, promote digital equity, coordinate with federal agencies, and much more. They have consistently argued that engaging robust staking engagement and diverse partnerships is indispensable to their success.

Although the bulk of the broadband industry’s scrutiny is now directed federal government, the source of what many experts call a “once-in-a-generation” investment in broadband infrastructure, once those grants are issued to the states, state officials must plan and oversee the final disbursal of those funds.

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12 Days of Broadband

Legislators Discuss Banning TikTok Over Growing Security Concerns

The Senate recently passed a measure banning the app from government devices.

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From the 12 Days of Broadband:

Year by year, tensions between the U.S. and China continue to grow. And in this Cold War 2.0, the battle over information technology and policy often appears to be at the heart of the conflict.

Chinese telecommunications equipment giant Huawei has been effectively barred from the U.S. market for well over a year. But the constraints are tightening. And while Huawei has been central to China’s global communications aspirations, disputes over technology are now affecting all sorts of Chinese-owned companies. Even ByteDance’s TikTok, arguably the world’s hottest social media company with more than 100 million U.S. users, now appears in jeopardy.

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12 Days of Broadband

Will Congress Permanently Extend the Affordable Connectivity Program?

The program is helping low-income households afford internet access, but some experts warn that the fund will soon be depleted.

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From the 12 Days of Broadband:

Some say that people are not enrolling in the Federal Communications Commission’s new subsidy for low-income households, the Affordable Connectivity Program. Others say that at the rate people are subscribing, the fund will soon run out of money.  

At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Dec. 13, the National Digital Inclusion Alliance warned that the ACP is at risk of being deplenished. “Unless Congress takes action, this vital program will go away in just a few short years,” said the nonprofit’s executive director Angela Siefer at the hearing.

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