The president sought to rally bipartisan support to finally resolve some longstanding privacy, security and competition issues facing the tech industry. During the more than hour-long speech, Biden called on Congress to pass new rules that protect user data privacy and encourage 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 prevent Big Tech from collecting personal information about children and teens online, to ban targeted advertising to children, and to impose tighter limits on the personal information these companies collect about all of us. .”
The speech mirrored much of what Biden said in his first State of the Union address last year. Children’s online safety has long troubled Congress and the Biden administration, reaching dramatic highs in 2021 after Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked internal company documents detailing the risks to the mental health of young users when using meta-platforms such as Instagram. Haugen attended the president’s final speech as a guest of First Lady Jill Biden, a testament to the administration’s desire for stricter online protections.
But little has been done in the past two years to improve the safety of young users on social media in the US. Lawmakers have introduced dozens of bills, but none have received enough support to force a vote in the House or Senate. Many of these bills, such as Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Josh Hawley (R-MO)’s move to update a permanent child safety law, do many of what Biden asked for on Tuesday, such as ban platforms like Instagram and YouTube from targeting ads to minors.
Biden praised his administration’s work in bolstering the US’s competitiveness against China, using the primetime spot to tout the $52 billion CHIPS and Science Act, which raised $52 billion in funding. to boost semiconductor production in the US. Despite the speech’s focus on China, Biden did not comment on whether his administration would ban TikTok.
“I won’t apologize for investing to make America strong,” Biden said. “Investing in American innovation, in industries that will define the future, and that the Chinese government wants to dominate.”