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The Achilles Heel of Big Tech’s Cancel Power -- Daily Caller Op-ed

CLELAND: The Achilles Heel Of Big Tech’s Cancel Power | The Daily Caller

DAILY CALLER  OPINION SCOTT CLELAND |CONTRIBUTOR|May 17, 20211:04 PM ET

CLELAND: The Achilles Heel of Big Tech’s Cancel Power

Big Tech’s unchecked.

If the four CEOs of Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon collectively could cancel online a sitting Republican U.S. president and his political allies with impunity in January, what checks them from collectively cancelling tens of millions of Republicans again?

What checks Big Tech from using their Section 230 impunity in the 2022 midterm elections and collectively canceling many Republican Senate and House candidates, their political allies and online followers that express broadly held Republican views that Big Tech deems objectionable?

It is in the raw political interests of the government’s incumbent party and unchecked Big Tech to collectively cancel the opposition party online to retain control of their levers of power long term.

Do any checks stand in the way of “The Collective Cancel” political precedent becoming practice?

CLELAND: Why Repeal Not Reform Section 230? Daily Caller Op-ed

https://dailycaller.com/2021/04/23/cleland-why-repeal-not-reform-section-230/

DAILY CALLER

CLELAND: Why Repeal Not Reform Section 230?

SCOTT CLELAND -- CONTRIBUTOR -- April 23, 2021 10:20 AM ET

Repeal of Section 230’s 1996 lawless Wild West Internet policy is inevitable because it is based on an immoral premise and has inflicted severe damage to America’s constitutional liberties, national security and economic prosperity.

Repeal vs. Reform

Repeal of Section 230 would serve America and Americans much better than reforms that perpetuate lawless U.S. Internet policy and guarantee Big Tech remains unaccountable and Americans remain unprotected online.

Repeal would affect a major national policy change, while reform incrementalism would preserve the online status quo.

Repeal would be a comprehensive and constitutional solution, while content moderation reforms are piecemeal solutions that carry constitutional risks.

Repeal would empower 2022 and 2024 voters with a national policy conversation that asks candidates if and how they are going to ensure Big Tech is accountable and Americans are protected online?

Cancel Section 230’s Cancel Powers

DAILY CALLER  OPINION  CLELAND: Cancel Section 230’s Cancel Powers | The Daily Caller

CLELAND: Cancel Section 230’s Cancel Powers

SCOTT CLELAND CONTRIBUTOR    April 17, 20214:07 PM ET

Section 230 warrants repeal because it created, and empowers, two different types of problematic power-without-accountability to customers, competition, government or the courts.

How US v. Google Antitrust Case Changes Internet Platform Antitrust Outlook

The impending public filing of the expected DOJ antitrust case against Google means big change is afoot for U.S. antitrust enforcement for Internet platforms.

As we look ahead, it’s important to not miss the forest for the trees.

The Senate is having an antitrust hearing on Google. The House is soon releasing a report on Big Tech antitrust. And the DOJ and states are expected to file an antitrust lawsuit against Google.

Some background on my insights and predictions below.

Thirteen years ago, I testified before the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee in opposition to the proposed Google-DoubleClick acquisition. I accurately warned of “the stakes of lax antitrust enforcement…” and “missing the forest for the trees,” because the merger obviously “would create extreme market concentration horizontally and vertically, and also tip the online advertising market to a bottleneck.” Since then, I have copiously chronicled Google’s antitrust issues on Googleopoly.net.   

America’s Internet Reset Opportunity for a Responsible, Prosperous Internet

Please don’t miss my Daily Caller Op-Ed (PDF here) on America’s Internet Reset Opportunity for a Responsible, Prosperous Internet.

It explains how America can and must do much better than a Wild West, Winner-Take-All, Internet law.

And it spotlights a bipartisan, popular Internet reset opportunity for Congress to restore a legal duty of care online to revitalize America’s civil society, competitive commerce, and productive prosperity.

 

How Section 230 Is Anticompetitive

Our polarized Internet world has generated at least one area of extraordinary bipartisan consensus: 77 percent of Americans agree Google, Facebook, and Amazon have too much power according to a Gallup survey.  

The near unanimous participation of Federal, State and Congressional antitrust authorities in probing  Google, Facebook, and Amazon, indicates extraordinary concern that their unchecked market power threatens competition for the consumer market.

Both political parties agree that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which grants Internet platforms with immunity from liability for good faith moderation of online content, in practice provides Internet platforms unaccountable power that warrants reform.

Section 230’s intermediary impunity loophole provides these dominant consumer gatekeepers with anticompetitive advantages that facilitate the monopolization of access to consumer demand online, thus undermining competition for U.S. consumer spending that comprises 68% of U.S. GDP.

These gatekeepers, which do their best to avoid competing directly with each other, dominate competitive access to the online U.S. consumer market, leaving most potential competitors dependent on them to broadly reach online consumer demand.

How could this happen?

Coronavirus Is No Cure for Techlash

Big Tech tales that the Coronavirus Crisis somehow will mitigate their Techlash problem, totally miss the mark.

They miss that the crisis is not good and not about tech. They miss that to whom much is given, much is expected.

They miss how many other industries and companies have contributed and sacrificed during this crisis without expecting something in return.

Spontaneously this past week, a tech op-ed chorus broke out singing a new tune and tale, that the Coronavirus Crisis could benefit Big Tech and save it from much of the Techlash.

Consider: Coronavirus gives Big Tech an opportunity to shine – Axios 3-18-20; Has the coronavirus killed the Techlash? Wired 3-20-20; Big Tech has the cash to expand after crisis, Regulatory threat also likely to recede for now, FT 3-20-20; and What Techlash? Virus Could Remake Industry Giants Image, The Information 3-23-20.  

Like some catchy new tunes lyrics, these don’t make sense.

Why is the Coronavirus Crisis no cure for the Techlash?

First, Americans strong bipartisan views undergird the Techlash in the U.S.

Consider a recent Gallup poll of Americans published 3-11-20.

Antitrust Pollyannaism: Google Facebook Amazon = New Entrants Not Incumbents

Are Google, Facebook, and Amazon, pro-competitive Internet “new entrants” or anti-competitive enduring monopoly Internet platform incumbents?

Apparently, that critical distinction depends less on evidence, and more on one’s antitrust predilections and prosecutorial presumptions – i.e. does one view the Internet competition glass half-empty (pessimistic) or half-full (optimistic).  

Recent evidence from the Trump DOJ Antitrust Division suggests it’s in the Internet competition optimist camp almost to the point of Internet competition Pollyannaism, despite the evident Internet platform antitrust enforcement drumbeat around the world, in Congress, and the White House, to the contrary over the last 18 months.

Google Facebook Amazon’s Non-Neutral No-Privacy Paid-Prioritization Models

We all have been played.

One of Google, Facebook, and Amazon’s greatest innovations to date may have been deceiving the U.S. government and voters with the narrative that their core Internet business models and practices were only good, innovative, pro-consumer, and worthy of no regulation, when they knew it was untrue, while at the same time lobbying that if an ISP pursued their same Internet business models and practices, that it would be anti-innovation, anti-privacy, and worthy of maximal telephone utility regulation, including a permanent, user-subsidized, price-of-zero for Google, Facebook, and Amazon’s outsized, pure profit,  commercial downstream Internet traffic usage.

Can you say: “winner take all” industrial policy?

Can you say: “regulatory arbitrage” game?

Can you say: “unlevel playing field?”

After this year’s revelations of Google, Facebook, and Amazon’s many bad, unfair, and deceptive practices, it warrants revisiting if their past forceful policy positions that only ISPs are a risk to consumers, privacy, and competition, and only ISPs warrant utility-grade net neutrality, non-discrimination, and maximal privacy regulation, were self-serving, anticompetitive, and deceptive distractions from their own anti-privacy, discriminatory, paid-prioritization practices?

We have all been played like a fiddle.

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