Proposed Tech Regulations Would Break Apps and Services Consumers Love
Aug 18, 2021

Usually when someone talks about breaking the Internet, it’s because Cardi B just posted some fresh content. Not this time. Right now, a handful of lawmakers are trying to push through a package of extreme tech regulations that would, very seriously, break the internet as we know it.

Included in the package are H.R. 3825, H.R. 3816, and H.R. 3460, introduced by Reps. Pramila Jayapal and David Cicilline. Together, the bills would damage some of the most popular apps and products online.

Bills would ban or degrade Amazon Prime, Facetime, Amazon Basics, and Google Maps in Search

Here’s a look at a few of the places consumers would see the biggest changes online:

Amazon Prime free shipping
By requiring equal treatment of all products and marketplace sellers, the bills would make it impossible for Amazon to offer its Prime free shipping service for certain products:

Google Maps appearing in Google search results
The bills would prohibit Google from showing its maps in main search results when you search for a local business.

Facebook and Instagram cross-posting
The bills would make it impossible for Facebook to show your friends’ Instagram stories at the top of the news feed — and ban users’ one-touch cross-posting between Facebook and Instagram.

Apple’s App Store recommending the best apps
Because the bills ban platforms from discriminating among services that use its platform, Apple’s App Store could no longer recommend the best apps.

For a more on how the Cicilline and Jayapal bills would impact consumers, check out this list.

Public opposition

Recent polling from Morning Consult found that while voters generally support regulation of tech services, they ranked the issue behind other priority areas for Congress. And after they learned more detail about proposals like that of Rep. David Cicilline to ban certain tech conveniences, voters in the survey opposed that idea 45% to 39%.

See the full polling results here

What they’re saying

The Cicilline and Jayapal bills would break popular consumer products and do real damage to the online economy. But you don’t have to take it from us. Here’s what leading voices in Washington are saying.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD)
Congressman Steny Hoyer built his reputation on standing up for moderate Democrats in purple districts. When lawmakers on the far-left tried to rush through radical anti-tech legislation, Hoyer who nixed the vote. In a critique of the antitrust bills, Hoyer remarked that future competition legislation should be “constructive, not destructive.” Here’s more on Hoyer’s opposition.

Issie Lapowsky, Protocol
No one knows the internet better than the journalists over at Protocol, a new media company covering the people, products, power, and politics of the tech industry. If you want a run down of how the antitrust bills would impact consumer products online, there’s no better place to turn than Issie Lapowsky’s coverage. Here’s what she has to say:

“Major parts of the internet would indeed blow up if these laws are enacted… That’s precisely why these bills aren’t likely to become law.”

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
Maybe you know her as one of Congress’s leading champions for DREAMers, or maybe you know her from her work to protect digital privacy for consumers online. When it comes to the antitrust tech bills in the House, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren has raised some serious red flags. Here’s what she had to say:

“This is a very extreme measure… [The bill] would take a grenade and just roll it into the tech economy and blow it up.”

Leah Nylen, Politico
If you want to learn more about the antitrust legislation before the House, perhaps the most trusted reporter to turn to is Leah Nylen, who has covered antitrust issues as a journalist for more than a decade. In her recent coverage of the House antitrust bills, Nylen has this to say:

“The [bills] could bring big changes to some of the industry’s best-known products, from Amazon Prime and Google’s search results to Apple’s App Store and Facebook’s Messenger and Instagram. LinkedIn and Microsoft Office could even feel the bite.”