Rep. Jordan releases Big Tech agenda

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)
Greg Nash

House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) unveiled his own strategy for taking on Big Tech companies Wednesday after voting against the bipartisan proposals that were approved by the panel last month.

The document — which opens with the unsubstantiated yet popular claim that tech companies are “out to get conservatives” — includes some modest antitrust proposals aimed at empowering courts and state attorneys general to expedite cases.

It also calls for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to be stripped of its antitrust enforcement authority, leaving the Justice Department’s antitrust division as the sole actor in the space. Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee ranking member Mike Lee (R-Utah) has introduced a similar proposal.

Jordan’s plan also calls for a “statutory basis” for Americans to challenge tech platforms in court for “censorship and silencing of conservatives.” In tandem with this, it calls for an overhaul of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives online platforms the ability to moderate content in good faith with legal immunity.

The final plank of Jordan’s proposal calls for Big Tech companies to be more transparent about their content moderation policies.

It is unclear whether Jordan’s strategy will be able to gain significant traction in Congress, especially given that the package of six antitrust reform proposals advanced through his committee last month were all bipartisan.

He released the document himself, and some Republican leaders on antitrust have already cautioned against some of the targets of Jordan’s reforms.

“I think that Jim has a lot of good ideas that I will support, but they just don’t belong in these bills,” Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), ranking member on the antitrust subcommittee, recently told The Verge.

“The Democrats aren’t going to pass these 230 reforms. The Republicans who are opposed to these bills want to add it to the bill so the Dems don’t vote for it,” he continued. “What Big Tech wants is to run the clock. If they can get to the end of this Congress and if Republicans are in charge who don’t like these bills, these bills will never hit the floor.”

Moving antitrust cases faster through the courts would seemingly do little to address the problems that progressives have identified with how the deck is stacked in tech’s favor.

“Eyeroll,” the American Economic Liberty Project’s Matt Stoller tweeted. “A judge just dismissed the gov’t lawsuit against Facebook. This plan wouldn’t do anything about that,” he continued, referring to a district court’s decision to send back the FTC’s antitrust lawsuit against Facebook last week.  

Tags Big tech Federal Trade Commission House Judiciary Committee Jim Jordan Ken Buck Mike Lee
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