Biden rallies against Big Tech in his State of the Union address
The president has tried to rally bipartisan support to finally address a number of long-standing privacy, security and competition issues facing the tech industry. During the more than hour-long address, Biden called on Congress to pass new rules that protect user data privacy and spur competition in the tech industry.
“Pass bipartisan legislation to strengthen antitrust enforcement”
“Pass bipartisan legislation to strengthen antitrust enforcement and prevent major online platforms from giving their own products an unfair advantage,” Biden said. “It’s time to pass bipartisan legislation to stop Big Tech from collecting personal data about children and teens online, to ban targeted advertising to children, and to impose stricter limits on personal data than these companies are collecting on all of us.”
The address echoed much of what Biden said during his first State of the Union address last year. Child online safety has long been a concern of Congress and the Biden administration, reaching dramatic heights in 2021 after Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked internal company documents detailing the mental health risks facing young people. users face when using Meta platforms like Instagram. Haugen attended the president’s final speech as a guest of First Lady Jill Biden, signaling the administration’s desire for stronger online protections.
But in the past two years, little has been done to improve the safety of young social media users in the United States. Lawmakers introduced dozens of bills, but none garnered enough support to force a floor vote in the House or Senate. Many of these bills like measurement make sense. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) to update a permanent child online safety law, do much of what Biden called for on Tuesday, like banning platforms like Instagram and YouTube targeting advertisements to minors.
Biden touted his administration’s work to bolster U.S. competitiveness against China, taking advantage of the prime-time spot to tout the $52 billion CHIPS and Science Act which included $52 billion in funding for stimulate the manufacture of semiconductors in the United States. Despite the speech’s focus on China, Biden did not say whether his administration would ban TikTok.
“I will make no apologies that we are investing to make America strong,” Biden said. “Investing in American innovation, in industries that will define the future and which the Chinese government intends to dominate.”