October 30, 2017

No Likes for Internet Regulation

Brent Skorup

Senior Research Fellow

Michael Kotrous

Program Associate, TPP
Summary

Vague 'utility' regulations for Facebook and Twitter are a big mistake.

Elements of the political left and right, including a collection of policy advocates and pundits, are finding common ground on the need for regulation of the internet. Americans of all political stripes should treat this with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Left-leaning legal scholars and advocates have called for trust-busting or intrusive utility regulations for online platforms for at least a decade. This longtime skepticism of large companies is now coupled with fears that tech companies are putting profits before countryby allowing "fake news" and "extremist" videos to appear before swing state voters.

In the last year, they've found some unlikely allies: Right-leaning thinkers and outlets like Bill KristolDennis Prager and The National Review have invited more government regulation of large online platforms, thanks in part to a growing sense that Silicon Valley CEOs may be even further left and more powerful than Hollywood producers and New York and Washington newspaper editors. Apple's recent rejection of a pro-life app and Twitter's rejection of Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn's campaign video didn't help matters.

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