House Judiciary Committee Republicans led by Ranking Member Jim Jordan (Republican – Ohio) laid out their framework for regulating Big Tech companies on Wednesday, July 7.
According to CNBC, the document is meant as a roadmap for new legislation aimed at Big Tech power, according to a Republican aide. The proposals, if passed, could have significant impact on large platforms including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.
The framework comes just weeks after the Committee voted to advance six bipartisan antitrust bills after more than 20 hours of debate. The markup session revealed that members in both parties have doubts about the effectiveness and the potential side effects of the bills. While the bills advanced with bipartisan support, they will not make it to a floor vote anytime soon. Once they do, they could look much different.
Any new proposed legislation from Republicans could face an uphill battle, especially if it includes politically touchy issues like alleged censorship of conservatives voices on social media. But it could also reveal areas of overlap between even the most skeptical Republicans on the committee and Democrats pushing for antitrust reform.
The agenda is broken into three parts: speed, accountability, and transparency.
The first, speed, is the most likely of the three to gain bipartisan support. For example, one item on in this category seems to follow the same line of thought as an existing antitrust bill passed by the committee last month. The bill would give state attorneys general more say over where their antitrust cases can be heard. The Republican agenda released Wednesday calls for empowering state AGs, though specifically by giving them the ability to fast-track cases.
But the proposals laid out under “Accountability” and “Transparency” may be a tougher sell to Democrats. Under those categories, Republicans included reforming tech’s legal liability shield, Section 230, which is under the jurisdiction of a different committee. Although there is bipartisan desire for reforming that law, Democrats and Republicans have remained deeply divided over how to do so since they view the issues with the law quite differently.
Republicans suggest giving individuals the ability to “directly challenge Big Tech in court for its censorship and silencing of conservatives,” according to the agenda. They also propose requiring Big Tech companies engaged in content moderation to publicly disclose their decisions to remove of posts online.
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