What does a Biden win mean for tech?

Here’s what Joe Biden’s victory means for antitrust, Section 230, immigration, axes and more.


November 9, 2020

At 11:25am EST on Saturday, November 7th, the AP announced that Joe Biden had won Pennsylvania, giving him the electoral votes he needed to win the presidential election.

Like the rest of the world, we’re still reeling from a whirlwind week and want to keep it simple today: what does a Biden win mean for the tech industry?

Here are the most relevant issues:

Democrats will pursue antitrust, but big changes are unlikely

Both parties agree that Big Tech needs to be reined in, but they differ in approach. As The Information notes:

  • Democrats want to make it harder for Big Tech to acquire smaller companies.
  • Republicans want to prosecute Big Tech for abusing market power.

Case in point: not one Democratic state attorney general joined in on the Department of Justice’s Google antitrust suit.

Under Biden, Democrats could broaden the scope of the Google case and lay the groundwork for cases against Amazon, Apple, and Facebook. If Republicans hold onto the Senate, though, don’t expect a major antitrust overhaul.

The state of Section 230

There’s appetite from both the government and Big Tech to update the Section 230 rule, which currently protects social networks from liability for the content posted on their platforms.

  • Before: Per The Information, President Trump’s administration launched a “bureaucratic war” on Section 230 due to a (debunked) belief that Twitter and Facebook were censoring convservative voices.
  • After: While Biden has voiced support for a Section 230 overhaul, any changes would come from a Congressional bipartisan bill and not a string of angry tweets from the White House.

Tech’s talent pool opens up with new immigration rules

Many of the Trump administration’s restrictive immigration policies were set as executive orders, which means Biden can strike them down on Day 1 as president.

More broadly, Biden has “promised to increase the number of visas for ‘permanent, work-based immigration’ and eliminate limits on employment-based green cards by country.”

Other notable issues

Here’s how a Biden administration might deal with:

  • Taxes: The plan is to undo Trump’s corporate tax cuts, but a Republican Senate would likely stymie such changes.
  • Trade: He’ll take a less contentious approach than Trump but “trade disputes are likely to continue with China” per The Guardian.
  • Rural broadband: Biden wants to spend $20B to bring internet connectivity to regions with limited access.
  • Green tech: The Biden campaign has pledged $400B over the next decade for public investment in clean energy and innovation.

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