Bipartisan lawmakers call for legislation to regulate Big Tech

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) on Sunday voiced support for legislation to increase regulations on Big Tech, expressing their concerns on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Klobuchar, who has served as the chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, said Big Tech is “so powerful” that even bipartisan legislation that passes through the Senate Judiciary Committee can vanish because companies step in.

Klobuchar had pushed for an end-of-year bill to require Big Tech to pay news outlets for the media content they distribute on their platforms, but she said Facebook and Google stepped in to lobby and block the bill.

“We had such strong support for this bill, but these guys just make a few calls,” she said.

Klobuchar said a similar law passed in Australia despite the companies’ objections, and their systems are better as a result.

She said Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects social media platforms from responsibility for the content that users post online, is “archaic” and needs to be replaced. She said companies should be considered publishers, which would open them up to greater scrutiny for their content.

“Let’s just start facing the fact and stop pretending that they’re some little company in a garage,” she said.

Gallagher said he is somewhat concerned that repealing Section 230 could lead to greater censorship because platforms might proactively kick users off if they are afraid of facing lawsuits over their content, but greater transparency around the platforms’ algorithms is necessary.

He said data portability should be mandated across platforms to allow people to take their network to any platform that has what they consider the best content moderation policies and transparency. He said he would be interested in speaking with Klobuchar about her ideas for the best way for Congress to act on the issue.

Gallagher said Congress should focus on consumer protection and do a better job communicating information about the terms of conditions that users must agree to for the platforms so they can understand them.

“When it comes to our kids, the government can’t raise your kids, can’t protect your kids for you. I have two young daughters. It’s my responsibility to raise them into healthy adults. But there are certain sensible things we can do in order to create a healthier social media ecosystem,” he said.

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