Free Speech

Mark Lemley, "The Contradictions of Platform Regulation"


Still more from the free speech and social media platforms symposium in the first issue of our Journal of Free Speech Law; you can read the whole article (by Mark Lemley, Stanford) here, but here's the abstract:

Everyone wants to regulate the big tech companies. The desire to regulate the private actors that control so much of our lives is understandable, and some ideas for regulation make sense. But the political consensus around regulating the tech industry is illusory. While everyone wants to regulate big tech, it turns out that they want to do so in very different, indeed contradictory, ways.

These contradictions of platform regulation mean that it will be very hard to turn anti-tech popular sentiment into actual regulation, because the actual regulations some people want are anathema to others. They suggest caution in imposing regulation and an awareness of the difficult tradeoffs that are involved. But they also suggest a way forward: introducing competition to reduce the influence the tech giants have over our lives.