Big Tech often acts as an enemy of the people, actively undermining free speech and free and fair elections, using algorithms to manipulate users, exposing minors to dangerous and pornographic content, and leaving users’ private data vulnerable to cyber criminals and state actors. Tech giants and social media companies censor content with which they disagree, including objective fact-based opinions and reporting, collude with authoritarian governments like China, and side with woke elites to disproportionately silence conservatives.
The Heritage enterprise will put power back in the hands of the American people by holding Big Tech accountable, using antitrust and other laws and proposing new measures to end their abuses.
To address the grave concerns surrounding Big Tech’s abuses, many lawmakers have introduced imperfect or incomplete legislation. Collectively, however, these policy development efforts have illuminated the path to constructive reform. The 118th Congress represents a chance to perfect these bills and build a consensus around their proposals. By the conclusion of the 118th Congress, achievement of these goals will ensure that Big Tech reform is ready “off the shelf” for a conservative President to sign into law in 2025.
The Heritage enterprise will expose Big Tech’s unsavory business and censorship practices.
We will work to expose Big Tech’s exploitative ad tech practices, lack of transparency, collusion with government entities to target legitimate speech, other instances of censorship, and data privacy policies by advising congressional investigators about the types of internal company documents they should request from any tech companies they will be investigating.
We will also help Congress investigate potential antitrust violations by providing specific criteria for investigators to look for to determine whether Big Tech companies are colluding on content moderation and viewpoint discrimination against legitimate speech and using their oligopoly power in one market to gain an unfair advantage in another or unduly stifle competition.
We will work to reform Big Tech’s worst practices.
We will work toward reform of Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 to strip immunity from giant tech companies that abuse their ability to moderate content without liability in order to censor and chill lawful political speech in the digital public square.
We also will introduce legislation to prevent government officials from using Big Tech platforms as their agents to chill political speech or suppress the viewpoints of American citizens.
We will encourage Congress to consider legislation that limits microtargeting practices, restrains the collection and use of biometric data, mandates time limits on how long companies can retain user data, puts limits on third-party data sharing, creates a user right to take down and take back posted digital information, and creates a right to be informed in an understandable way of exactly how personally identifiable information can may be used.
We will build support for the Kids Online Safety Act and partner with allied groups to develop a “Parents Guide” to educate parents about how technology impacts children and to increase support for age limits and greater transparency in social media’s use of algorithms.
We will work to advance legislative efforts to prohibit Big Tech companies from leveraging their market dominance to prefer their own products—and similar anticompetitive tie-ins—and will seek to apply a clarification of the “consumer welfare” standard under antitrust law that would end tech companies’ anticompetitive practices within “zero price” markets.
In the states, we will expose and reduce Big Tech censorship and exploitative practices by encouraging state attorneys general to investigate unfair and exploitative data collection, storing, and sharing; excessive online surveillance; collusion with government entities to police speech; and anticompetitive practices.
Heritage provides the knowledge resources to equip lawmakers, activists, and communities with the information they need to hold Big Tech accountable. Select studies from our experts can be found below: