The Hustle

The government is going after Big Tech — and ‘Medium Tech’ is bracing for impact

Section 230 clipboard

November 5, 2020

It’s among the rarest things on Earth.

An issue that both major US political parties can agree on: Big Tech should be regulated.

Fearful of what sweeping rule changes might bring, over a dozen medium-sized tech companies are looking to form their own lobbying coalition, The Information reports.

The biggest concern on the menu: the Section 230 rule

Part of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, Section 230 has shielded internet companies from liability for what users say or post on their platforms.

Just last week, the Senate grilled the CEOs of Alphabet, Facebook, and Twitter (as well as Jack Dorsey’s beard) on their recent handling of various political posts being shared across their platforms.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was particularly keen to “update” Section 230, which would force many companies to devote more resources to speech moderation.

Sounds fair enough…

… until you realize that Facebook spent more on safety and security ($3.7B) in 2019 than Twitter’s entire 2019 revenue ($3.5B).

Now “Medium Tech” firms like Patreon, Nextdoor, Glassdoor, Etsy, Cloudflare, Reddit, Pinterest, Dropbox and, errr, Medium want to have a say in the legislation.

Regardless of how his election cycle shakes out — or if “Medium Tech” catches on as a phrase (you heard it here first) — it’s probably a smart move for them.

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