Startup News Digest 7/03/19

This Week in Startups. With Congressional leaders on recess this week in observance of Independence Day, we thought it would be a good time to look at some of the topical policy issues affecting startups, including a renewed push against Section 230. 

With large technology companies under antitrust scrutiny from federal agencies and congressional leaders, some lawmakers are using the renewed focus on anti-competitive practices to target Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in an attempt to upend critical liability protections for online platforms. But as we note in a recent Medium post, Section 230 promotes free market principles that have allowed startups to innovate, grow, and compete against more established industry leaders. That's why startups, in particular, should remain vigilant against threats to Section 230 protections masquerading as "politically neutral" standards or responses to online harms. 

The startup and technology communities are also pleased after President Donald Trump's recent meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit last week resulted in a delay on the imposition of any additional tariffs. Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, praised the decision to halt additional tariffs, but called for the U.S. to push for a trade deal to remove all Chinese tariffs that “cost the American tech sector an additional $1 billion per month.”

Nuts and Bolts of Content Moderation. Please Join Engine and the Charles Koch Institute on Friday, July 12th, for the final panel in our three-part series on Internet platforms and user-generated content. We’ll discuss content moderation practices across the Internet, including the steps that different platforms take to moderate and oversee user content. Learn more about the panel and RSVP here.

On the Horizon.

  • The White House announced that it plans to hold a social media summit on July 11th with "digital leaders" to discuss the opportunities and challenges of today's online environment.

  • Lawmakers on the House Banking Committee plan to hold a hearing on July 16th to look into Facebook's recently launched Libra cryptocurrency. The hearing announcement says the committee plans to examine "Facebook’s proposed digital currency and data privacy concerns."

  • The D.C. Circuit could issue its decision in Mozilla v. FCC sometime this summer. The case challenges the Federal Communications Commission's 2017 decision to overturn the 2015 Open Internet Order, which enforced strong net neutrality protections.