After four years of a very contentious relationship with the Trump administration, tech giants like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon and Comcast may find things kinder and gentler under a Joe Biden administration. President Trump aggressively sought to rein in tech companies and openly called out Amazon and Comcast (whom he often referred to as "Concast") for their blatant bias and hostility toward him and conservatives in general.
Trump's biggest effort against Big Tech was trying to get Congress to end Section 230, the 1996 federal law that grants blanket liability protection to tech platforms, internet providers and social media companies. Trump tried to force Congress to include a repeal of Section 230 in the year-end defense bill, but they passed the bill without it and overrode his veto. His FCC planned to look at changing the law as well, but that effort appears to be a dead-end with just days left in Trump's term.
Travis Crabtree, Houston-based internet attorney, says Section 230 is more complicated than has been presented to the public, with both positive and negative aspects. "If you're being harassed or doxxed, and you can't find the poster who's hiding behind a pseudonym, you want to sue Facebook just to get stuff removed and recover some damages for this harm, but with Section 230 you can't," he tells KTRH.
While the law needs changes, Crabtree doesn't think it should be thrown out completely. "A complete revocation of Section 230 would mean no more blogs, no more YouTube, no more comments on social media whatsoever," he says. "Because there would just be a barrage of lawsuits and it would bankrupt these companies."
"I expect the Biden administration is going to urge Congress to do their job, and actually make changes to improve (Section 230), as opposed to trying to do an executive fiat and just get rid of it," says Crabtree.
On other issues, it seems Team Biden is much friendlier to the tech giants than Trump. This week, Facebook suspended Trump's account indefinitely, while Twitter and Instagram also blocked him. But there is bipartisan support for breaking up some of these giant companies. "If I were the CEO of Facebook or Twitter, or one of these big tech companies, I'd still be concerned about looking at the monopoly issues and the anti-trust issues," says Crabtree.