Sep 9, 2022 - Technology

White House lists 6 ways to hold tech platforms accountable

Illustration of the White House with a WiFi symbol above the building.

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

After a "listening session" that gathered experts and critics of tech platforms' power at the White House Thursday, the Biden administration released a list of six "Principles for Enhancing Competition and Tech Platform Accountability."

Why it matters: With efforts to pass tougher rules governing tech competition and privacy largely stymied this year in Congress, the executive branch is where critics of tech power are pinning their hopes.

The White House principles embrace bipartisan Congressional efforts to pass antitrust and privacy legislation.

  • They call for new rules to protect children's privacy and well-being online, transparency from platforms about their algorithms and content moderate policies, and an end to "discriminatory algorithmic decision-making."
  • They also call for "fundamental reform" to Section 230, the law that protects online platforms from liability for what users post and lets platforms moderate content without being treated as a publisher.

Between the lines: The White House meeting gave seats at the table to scholars and companies that have taken issue with the power of tech's giant market leaders, but those companies themselves were not represented.

The other side: Tech policy think tank ITIF issued a statement by Aurelien Portuese, director of ITIF’s Schumpeter Project for Competition Policy, criticizing the principles as "doing more harm than good."

  • "The U.S. platform economy is a global success and does need wholesale change," the ITIF statement said.

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