Jan 26, 2021 - Technology

Top Republican proposes Big Tech action plan

A photo of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers at a hearing.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers outlined a plan for fellow Republicans to hammer Big Tech companies in a memo obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The "Big Tech Accountability Platform” serves as both a rallying cry for Republicans in the minority and an outline for some policy changes that could win bipartisan support.

Details: McMorris Rodgers, the top Republican on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, suggests working with Democrats on an agreement to sunset or establish a reauthorization date for Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides a liability shield for online content posted by website users, as a legislative starting point.

  • Other ideas include revisiting platforms' October 2020 decision to limit the reach of a questionably sourced New York Post story on Hunter Biden, a nonstarter with Democrats.
  • But some closely mirror calls Democrats have made, such as exploring the power e-commerce giants exert in online marketplaces and pushing tech platforms to be more transparent and potentially legally answerable when it comes to moderation decisions.

What they're saying: "To be clear, we will not pursue government regulation of speech, but it’s a dereliction of our duty to our constituents to do nothing" McMorris Rodgers wrote in the memo, which was circulated to Republicans on the committee.

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