Lawmakers Press Biden to Push Big Tech Regs

President Joe Biden is facing pressure to get more into the fight over regulating social media and online platforms, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Both parties’ lawmakers are working on legislation about things like online privacy and child safety, transparency regarding data collection, accountability for content posted and market dominance.

Big tech companies are likely to oppose the laws. Democrats have usually been the party pushing for harsher regulations for things like harmful content, while Republicans advocate for lighter touches and have been against things that could restrict speech.

Upping the stakes is the fact that Republicans have the potential to win back some of the government houses this year during the U.S. midterm elections.

Because of that, Democrats have just a few months to start to pass more sweeping measures. Many bills are just now being drafted. This has led the conversation to shift toward Biden getting more involved, with Washington research group Cowen saying the key is “whether Biden personally gets involved and prioritizes passage.”

According to that firm, legislation focused on banning big tech companies from giving preference to their own products and services on their platforms would have a 65% chance of passing with Biden’s involvement and 40% without.

The White House hasn’t really been involved in tech legislation since Biden took office. They’ve been working instead on other things like infrastructure bills and the Build Back Better plan, which includes education, healthcare and climate proposals.

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, with new head Rohit Chopra, recently said at a Capitol Hill hearing that Big Tech firms deserve more scrutiny.

Read more: In First Official Testimony, CFPB’s Chopra Targets ‘Big Tech’ as Needing More Oversight

Chopra, speaking before the hearing, said the reason for the urgency was that many Big Tech firms had more power over financial services.

Chopra said the CFPB had to keep an eye on obstacles “small local financial institutions face when seeking to challenge dominant incumbents, including in Big Tech.”

He added that there were numerous indicators that the economy has been going strong, with many jobs added and much more spending. But things were uneven, with many still struggling to meet rent and mortgage payments.

He said his main question was how Big Tech intended to use its more robust power now.