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Silicon Valley’s self-regulating days “probably should be” over, Nancy Pelosi says

Pelosi tells Kara Swisher that tech companies are abusing the immunity they get under the Communications Decency Act, and it “could be in jeopardy.”

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Alex Edelman/Getty Images

It’s a “new era” for tech regulation, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says.

“In the UK, as you know, they’ve said the era of self-regulation of these companies is over,” she told Kara Swisher on the latest episode of the Recode Decode podcast.

“Is it over in this country?” Swisher asked.

“It probably should be,” Pelosi said. “I think we have to subject it all to scrutiny and cost-benefits and all that, but I do think that it’s a new era.”

Pelosi said Silicon Valley is abusing the privilege of section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which says that internet companies are not responsible for what is posted on their platforms.

“230 is a gift to them, and I don’t think they are treating it with the respect that they should,” she said. “And so I think that that could be a question mark and in jeopardy.... For the privilege of 230, there has to be a bigger sense of responsibility on it, and it is not out of the question that that could be removed.”

Asked about Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to break up Amazon, Google, and Facebook, Pelosi said she had not studied it closely. Instead, she more cautiously suggested that some agglomerations of power may be worth breaking up.

“I know there could be some clear lines that we see in our community, of companies that maybe could be easily broken up without having any impact, one on the other,” she said. “I’m a big believer in the antitrust laws, I think that’s very important for us to have them and to use them, and to subject those who should be subjected to it. I don’t know how all of these should be painted with the same brush, but I think that’s a look that should be taken.”

On the new podcast, Pelosi also spoke with Swisher about foreign interference in US elections; privacy, free speech, and hate speech on the internet; illegal immigration; job automation; how politicians like President Donald Trump and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez use Twitter; whether all political advertising should be banned from the internet; and how the coat she wore to a meeting with Trump became an internet meme.

You can subscribe to Recode Decode anywhere you listen to podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, and Overcast.

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