How will the Biden administration deal with tech?

President Joe Biden’s position on antitrust laws, Section 230, China, immigration, and more.


January 21, 2021

President Biden will have his hands full in coming days as he wrestles with a slate of executive orders and an ongoing pandemic — but some of the most pressing questions concern Big Tech.

Here’s a breakdown of key issues, per CNET:

Antitrust regulation 

Facebook and Google are already facing antitrust action.

After suspending President Trump from their platforms following the storming of the US Capitol, big tech companies are under increased scrutiny. For his part, Biden seems to favor more regs than breakups.

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In a speech on Tuesday, the Justice Department’s outgoing antitrust chief supported a House Democrats’ proposal to disallow any company with a 50% market share from making an acquisition in the same industry.

Section 230

Both major US parties want changes to the decades-old Section 230, which provides tech companies with liability protection for content on their platforms.

It’s for different reasons, though:

  • Democrats want the companies to moderate the platforms or be held liable
  • Republicans want to penalize companies for censoring content

Biden has said Section 230 should be revoked. Both Twitter and Facebook have said they want it updated, too… so we may see changes here, potentially to the detriment of startups.

Net neutrality

As a senator, Biden did not co-sponsor legislation related to net neutrality — the idea that all internet traffic should be treated equally.

But CNET notes that the issue is popular among Democratic leaders, and going against it would defy a core principle of the party.

Rural broadband

A key economic goal is to rebuild America’s middle class, a task Biden calls “the moral obligation of our time.” To achieve this goal, he supports a $20B investment in rural broadband.

China trade war

Biden will also have to decide what to do with executive orders on TikTok and bans on various Chinese apps.

Expect a more confrontational approach, especially after the outgoing administration just labeled China’s treatment of its Uighur population “genocide” (a position Biden agrees with).

Tech and immigration

Biden has “promised to increase the number of visas for ‘permanent, work-based immigration’ and eliminate limits on employment-based green cards by country.” As president, he can strike down many of Trump’s most restrictive executive orders.

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