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Republican FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

One of the Federal Communications Commission's Republican commissioners said Monday that regulators should not crack down on big tech companies like Facebook and Google.

Why it matters: Heavily-regulated internet service providers like AT&T and Verizon are increasingly trying to compete with Google and Facebook, which are not as regulated and together control the market for digital ads. The internet providers and web firms that rely on their services are often at odds in policy debates. For example, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai argued that web platforms are a greater threat to online freedom than internet service providers.

What he said: "I’m not interested in imposing like regulation on the edge community or the high technology community to create some kind of parity level" with internet providers, Michael O'Rielly told reporters. He suggested removing regulations for internet providers would put them on more even footing with the web firms.

The details:

  • He said he would "go the opposite direction and that’s why I’ve been working pretty hard to remove barriers that no longer make any sense, and rules and regulations at the commission that no longer make any sense on, for lack of a better word, the legacy platforms that we oversee."
  • The FCC also doesn't have authority over Facebook, Google or any other web or "edge" service. O'Rielly said it's up to Congress to decide whether one regulator should oversee both those companies and the internet providers.

Go deeper

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.