On Wednesday, the Senate passed the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA). This law revokes the complete immunity for websites and apps which knowingly enable and profit from sex trafficking that these sites had previously enjoyed under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA). The House passed the bill in February and President Donald Trump has indicated he will sign it. While the law should be common sense, its passage required overcoming a sustained lobbying campaign by tech giants like Microsoft and Google. Rather than oppose the legislation out in the open, they worked behind the scenes to surreptitiously kill the bills by funding third parties to do their dirty work for them.
Noah Peters | All Articles
In today's America, Twitter drives much of the news cycle and much of the political debate. It is, as the Supreme Court described it, the “modern public square.” Every member of Congress now has a Twitter account, as does every state’s governor. A modern political candidate cannot win without a Twitter presence. Some 96 percent of journalists report they use it regularly. Twitter allows a level of direct access to politicians, journalists and thought leaders that is unprecedented in history. To quote the Supreme Court again, Twitter is among “the most powerful mechanisms available to a private citizen to make his or her voice heard,” allowing anyone with an Internet connection “to become a town crier with a voice that resonates farther than it could from any soapbox.”
Two days after the 2016 election, Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet, lamented how the “rise of misinformation and the ability to flood with digital information really can produce bad outcomes." He continued, “How people get their information, what they believe, what they don't, is, I think, the project for the next decade.” Given the timing of the remarks, Schmidt’s position as a top advisor to the Clinton campaign, and the fact that Google employees and executives contributed to Clinton over Trump by an 80 to 1 ratio, it’s fair to assume that the election results were one of the “bad outcomes” to which he was referring.