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Photo illustration: Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AT&T will tell the Federal Communications Commission it should craft rules to shrink tech's longstanding legal shield, the company said Monday.

Why it matters: AT&T is a telecom giant and, since buying Time Warner, a major force in media and entertainment — both industries that have butted heads with Silicon Valley. The company is now launching this fresh attack as tech is vulnerable in Washington.

Driving the news: AT&T in a Monday blog post previewed comments it will make to the FCC Wednesday on reinterpreting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields tech companies from liability over content their users post.

  • The company will ask the FCC to modify Section 230 so that tech platforms don't get such broad immunity.
  • It will also argue that Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google should be forced to be more transparent about the decisions they "make on a daily basis," like how they rank search results and feature news stories.

What they're saying: Congress could not have known "this provision... would ultimately be wielded by the largest and most powerful companies in the world as a shield not just from unfair and frivolous lawsuits, but from what many consider to be every day responsibilities," writes AT&T policy executive Joan Marsh.

Context: The FCC is taking comments on potentially writing rules to modify Section 230 following a request from the Commerce Department, per an executive order from President Trump.

  • Section 230 has never fallen under the FCC's jurisdiction before. Trump recently pulled GOP Commissioner Mike O'Rielly's nomination to a second term after he objected to the FCC claiming the authority to tinker with Section 230.


Go deeper

Congress' year-end parting shots at Big Tech

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As Congress rushes to pass giant year-end funding bills, some members are taking last shots at the tech industry's giants by tacking on a range of measures the industry opposes.

The big picture: These funding bills are a favorite vehicle for advancing causes unrelated to government spending. This year, beating up on tech companies is a popular one — not just with Congress but with President Trump, who has campaigned relentlessly for legislators to use a must-pass defense spending bill to repeal a key tech-industry liability protection.

Axios-Ipsos poll: People of color face more environmental threats

Expand chart
Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±2.5% margin of error; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Americans of color are much less likely than white Americans to experience good air quality or tap water or enough trees or green space in their communities, and they're more likely to face noise pollution and litter, a new Axios-Ipsos poll finds.

The big picture: Our national survey shows Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely than their white counterparts to live near major highways or industrial or manufacturing plants — and to have dealt in the past year with water-boil notices or power outages lasting more than 24 hours.

15 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.