Biden’s policies on technology

With bipartisan backing to rein in the power of Big Tech, the president-elect could usher in a new era of accountability for Silicon Valley.

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(Photos by Nick Otto and Joseph Rushmore for the Washington Post and Michael Robinson Chavez and Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

President-elect Joe Biden is set to have a very different relationship with the tech industry from when he served as vice president. Tech companies have grown more powerful over the past four years — and more perilous. They have continued to amass data and wealth. But they have been used as tools for election interference and disinformation, contributing to the divide in the nation.

The Trump administration put antitrust and regulation on the agenda, and they are likely to continue under the Biden administration. An overhaul of the rules governing tech is overdue: The cornerstone Internet regulation law, which shields companies from liability for content posted by users, will turn 25 years old this year and predates many of the most popular sites, apps and services.

The coronavirus pandemic made tech more central to daily lives, but it also exposed inequalities that the Biden administration is likely to face. Millions of gig workers, who are connected to jobs through tech platforms, don’t receive the benefits that come along with being considered full employees. And millions of Americans don’t have access to the high-speed Internet connections that are essential for school and many jobs.

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    Overview
    One hundred cutouts featuring Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stand outside the U.S. Capitol on April 10, 2018. They were put up by Avaaz, a global civic movement that was asking for Facebook to ban bots and disinformation before the midterm election in November.
    One hundred cutouts featuring Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stand outside the U.S. Capitol on April 10, 2018. They were put up by Avaaz, a global civic movement that was asking for Facebook to ban bots and disinformation before the midterm election in November. (Michael Robinson Chavez)

    Silicon Valley braces for tougher regulation in Biden’s new Washington

    By Tony Romm and Elizabeth Dwoskin

    Democratic leaders for years have proposed a bevy of new legislation to shrink Silicon Valley’s corporate footprint, restrict its insatiable appetite for data and stop the spread of falsehoods online. But the party’s calls for regulation have grown more urgent in the days since Joe Biden won the presidency, the Democratic Party regained control of the House and the Senate — and President Trump and his allies further exposed the risks of a largely unregulated web.

    Gig work
    A DoorDash bag hangs on a bicycle as a food delivery courier picks up an order from a restaurant in Los Angeles on July 6. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg News)
    A DoorDash bag hangs on a bicycle as a food delivery courier picks up an order from a restaurant in Los Angeles on July 6. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg News)

    Biden wants to make gig workers employees. He must convince Democrats.

    By Faiz Siddiqui and Eli Rosenberg

    Once clear-cut, the uncertain future of gig work is the biggest labor issue facing the incoming Biden administration.

    FCC
    Crews work to hang fiber-optic cable in Amherst, Va., on Dec. 1. The cable will allow rural residents in Amherst and Nelson counties to have access to high-speed Internet service. (Kendall Warner/News & Advance/AP)
    Crews work to hang fiber-optic cable in Amherst, Va., on Dec. 1. The cable will allow rural residents in Amherst and Nelson counties to have access to high-speed Internet service. (Kendall Warner/News & Advance/AP)

    Internet regulation takes on greater urgency as pandemic highlights digital divide

    By Cat Zakrzewski and Tony Romm

    As President-elect Joe Biden takes office, his administration will face pressure to immediately prioritize the expansion of broadband access and dismantle some of the Trump administration’s hallmark efforts to deregulate the Internet.

    Section 230
    Section 230, a favorite target of President Trump’s, will get a more nuanced review under Joe Biden's administration.
    Section 230, a favorite target of President Trump’s, will get a more nuanced review under Joe Biden's administration. (Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post)

    Social media liability law is likely to be reviewed under Biden

    By Rachel Lerman

    Section 230 has become a favorite target of President Trump’s. It will get a more nuanced review under the Biden administration.

    Antitrust
    A demonstrator joins others outside of the home of Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg in San Francisco on Nov. 21 to protest what they say is Facebook spreading disinformation.
    A demonstrator joins others outside of the home of Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg in San Francisco on Nov. 21 to protest what they say is Facebook spreading disinformation. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

    Biden inherits bipartisan momentum to crack down on large tech companies’ power

    By Cat Zakrzewski

    Democratic control of the White House and Congress could result in reforms to competition laws governing large tech companies’ business practices and even more litigation that could force breakups or significant structural changes at some of the world’s largest corporations.

    Tony Romm is a technology policy reporter at The Washington Post. He has spent nearly ten years covering the ways that tech companies like Apple, Facebook and Google navigate the corridors of government -- and the regulations that sometimes result.
    Lizza joined The Washington Post as Silicon Valley correspondent in 2016, becoming the paper's eyes and ears in the region. She focuses on social media and the power of the tech industry in a democratic society. Before that, she was the Wall Street Journal's first full-time beat reporter covering AI and the impact of algorithms on people's lives.
    Faiz Siddiqui is a reporter with The Washington Post's technology team. His coverage includes Silicon Valley's ride-hailing giants, nascent mobility startups and companies deploying electric and self-driving vehicles.
    Eli Rosenberg covers work and labor for The Washington Post. He joined The Post in 2017 after a decade in New York, where he worked at the New York Times, the Daily News, and the Brooklyn Paper. He has covered misinformation campaigns, politics in the Trump era, immigration issues, and disasters across the country.
    Cat Zakrzewski is a technology policy reporter and authors the Washington Post's Technology 202 newsletter.
    Rachel Lerman covers breaking news in technology for The Washington Post.
    About this story

    Editing by Jennifer Liberto. Design and development by Tyler Remmel. Additional development by Lucio Villa and Junne Alcantara. Design editing by Greg Manifold and Virginia Singarayar. Photo editing by Annaliese Nurnberg. Copy editing by Carrie Camillo. Operations by Shefali S. Kulkarni.