It’s getting lonelier in Washington, D.C., for Facebook and Alphabet. Lobbyists, lawyers, investors and others who straddle tech and political worlds point to an under-appreciated dynamic heightening political pressure for Facebook and Alphabet in recent weeks: The internet companies’ tech and media brethren are looking to twist the knife into the internet giants.
In the debate-du-jour in the U.S. Senate, Oracle, Disney, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and 21st Century Fox recently voiced support for an anti-sex trafficking bill that would change the bedrock internet platform law, the Communications Decency Act’s Section 230, to put more legal liability on web companies like Facebook and Alphabet. Co-sponsored by Republican senator Rob Portman of Ohio, it is aimed mainly at Backpage.com, a classifieds site that ran ads connected with sex trafficking. But it is written broadly enough that most big consumer internet companies have voiced concerns.