Biden’s State of the Union address was a rowdy affair at points; his claim that Republicans aimed to cut social security elicited a particularly dramatic response from the GOP. But perhaps the most dramatic line from MOW’s perspective was Biden’s call for a firmer hand against Big Tech.
See Biden’s full speech here.
The President made a strong appeal to lawmakers to redress the harms inflicted by large tech companies through bipartisan action. According to Bloomberg, Biden’s speech contained the first use of the word “antitrust” since 1979. This very much consistent with the White House’s highly active stance against Big Tech and growing insistence that their power be reined in through legislative action. Our last blog post addressed a recent White House agency publication which highlighted exploitation in app store markets and Biden recently penned an op-ed in the WSJ titled “Republicans and Democrats, Unite Against Big Tech Abuses”.
Whether the appeal is heard is another matter. We note that the Open App Markets Act failed to pass last session.
Hope should not be lost, however. Despite deep divisions stymieing effective bipartisan action, the political establishment does seem to have grown generally tired of Big Tech practices. Biden’s cry to “finally hold social media companies accountable for running children for profit” was, for instance, met with a standing ovation in Congress.
Whilst antitrust might not be as effective a political lightning rod as children’s mental health, we may yet see important legislation like the OAMA, which the bill’s sponsor is seeking to reintroduce, pass into law. MOW will be following developments in US tech regulation with great interest.