The Unintended (?) Consequences of the Big Tech Antitrust Bills
February 17, 2022
This one-hour event brings together a panel of technology policy and antitrust litigation experts to discuss two bills that are intended to restrict anticompetitive conduct, but that may also open the door to claims that platforms can no longer restrict apps or publications that share disinformation and hate speech. The bills, recently introduced by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), would impose special duties upon the largest tech platforms to deal with third parties such as app developers “reasonably” or without discrimination among “similarly situated” users. The bills would also mandate interoperability, require platforms to allow the use of third-party payment systems and ensure that users can install third-party apps that are not available in the app store. These bills are responses to concerns about the power and perceived anticompetitive practices of Apple and Google. But some worry that, as currently drafted, the bills could have unintended and unsettling effects in the real world. These include statutory interpretations that might cover social media platforms like Facebook and reduced ability or incentive for tech firms to contain and control apps that traffic in hate speech, fraud, or poor data hygiene. The panelists will identify and discuss the intended and unintended consequences of both bills and will address audience questions. Panelists include Daphne Keller (Stanford Center for Internet and Society), Anupam Chander (Georgetown University Law Center), Bilal Sayed (Tech Freedom; former Director of the Office for Policy Planning at the FTC), and Jane Bambauer (University of Arizona).