Sen. Josh Hawley challenged Google and other big tech companies Monday to do more to invest in the U.S. middle class rather than creating jobs in China.
Silicon Valley companies are prioritizing investments overseas and virtually ignoring the U.S., the Missouri Republican told Hill.TV in an interview. “They’re creating jobs, but they’re creating jobs in China,” he said.
“But what about everyday American workers? What’s their place in this economy?” Hawley said in the interview, which focused on what the senator and others often call the gig economy. He has long been a critic of Google, especially as it pertains to the company’s business model, which he calls exploitative.
He added: “My challenge is … if they want to be leaders, then create jobs in this country. If that’s true, invest in the middle of our society, in the middle of the country, and the American middle class. Invest here. Create jobs and opportunities.”
Hawley’s been targeting tech companies since he became senator in 2018.
He introduced the Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act in June, which is designed to dramatically amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which passed in 1996 when the internet was new. Section 230 gives internet companies immunity for items third parties post on their platforms.
Hawley’s bill, if it becomes law, would provide big tech companies such immunity only if they can show they are politically neutral. Republicans and Democrats are slowly coming around to the idea of holding social media platforms responsible for what some people believe are competitive behaviors.
Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina are leaning toward amending Section 230 as well. Both lawmakers have suggested in the past that they would like to look accusations of Google and Facebook’s alleged conservative bias.
Democratic presidential contenders have also gotten into the spirit.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, for one, promoted a proposal that would impose rules on tech companies with $25 billion or more in annual ad revenue, forcing Amazon and Google to dramatically reduce their hold on online commerce. It would effectively break up big tech.
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