A Decisive Victory Over Big Tech Control


There is no single factor in society that poses a greater danger to our democracy than giant technology corporations exerting control over the kind of information ordinary citizens are permitted to communicate with one another. 

The dominant power that companies like Google and Facebook have over the market for internet advertising allows leftist workers of these companies to have an excessive amount of control over the kinds of ideas disseminated on their platforms. 

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New Amendment 

Sens. Ted Cruz and John Kennedy dealt a significant blow to these monopolists last week when they were successful in attaching a proposal to the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA).

This amendment prohibits large technology companies and online publishers from contract signing on how to suppress content that is found online. This amendment was a direct response to a provision in the original bill that did not prohibit such agreements. 

Both Facebook and Google have been able to consolidate their positions in the internet advertising business. They have established themselves as de facto monopolies, as a direct result of the Federal Trade Commission’s decades-long policy of lax antitrust enforcement. 

Because of the unfair advantage they have gained in the market, Google and Facebook can take around half of the money spent on internet advertising. 

This is the reason why even if the traffic to news sites has increased by 40% since 2014, the revenues that are collected by publishers have decreased by 58%. 

By enabling smaller online publications to band together and bargain with Facebook and Google as one larger, more powerful organization, the JCPA is able to combat the monopoly power that these companies wield.

Because of a similar rule in Australia, Google and Facebook have been forced to pay internet publishers billions of dollars.

As a result, large technology companies like Google and Facebook have spent millions of dollars battling legislation similar to this one in Washington. 

Risk Attached 

Though there was one risk associated with this proposed framework.

That risk was Google and Facebook would use these limited antitrust safeguards not only to negotiate the price of their online ad offerings, but also to set laws that would empower them to redact what online publishers posted. 

After weeks of talks, Senators Cruz and Kennedy came to an agreement on language that could be understood by both parties. It is strictly forbidden for large technology corporations to engage in content moderation rule negotiations with web publishers. 

This piece of legislation will not eliminate the ability of large tech companies to exert influence over the types of information that we are able to share.

However, it will deal a significant financial blow to those companies and make it possible for conservative publishers to keep a more significant portion of the revenue we generate.

This article appeared in NewsHouse and has been published here with permission.