Tech Giants, Antitrust, and Public Discourse
Social media and other tech platforms offer an array of “free” products to users, albeit with corresponding non-monetary costs. Some have suggested that the market remains the best regulator, and if such burdens are objectionable to enough users, it will prompt alternative business models to appeal to those user preferences. If moderation policies unduly restrict the range of expressible viewpoints, or data collection policies invade privacy preferences, we should see platforms built around different policies.
But the experience of Parler, a social media platform premised on a more freewheeling “First Amendment rules” model, has challenged such assumptions, as the supporting platforms of Google, Apple, and Amazon Web Services moved in unison to de-platform the company.
How should we think about the behavior of social media and “big tech” in regulating public discourse? Is there a role for antitrust enforcement in promoting a wider range of platform options for public discussion and debate? And if so, does the prevailing antitrust consumer welfare analysis provide the necessary tools for such enforcement?
- John Yun, Associate Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School
- Dina Srinivasan, Fellow, Thurman Arnold Project, Yale University
- Ashley Keller, Partner, Keller Lenker LLC
- Moderator: Hon. Gregory G. Katsas, Judge, United States Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
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