Pres. Biden calls for bipartisan support to 'hold social media companies accountable'

Amanda del Castillo Image
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Biden calls for support to 'hold social media companies accountable'
Biden took a direct shot at big tech during Tuesday's State of the Union address, calling for bipartisan support for better industry regulations.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- President Biden took a direct shot at big tech during Tuesday's State of the Union address, calling for bipartisan support for better industry regulations.

He said it is time to finally hold social media companies accountable for what he called an experiment they are running on our children for profit.

RELATED: Watch President Biden's full 2023 State of the Union address, read the transcript

"It's time to pass bipartisan legislation to stop Big Tech from collecting personal data on kids and teenagers online," he detailed. "Ban targeted advertising to children and impose stricter limits on the personal data these companies collect on all of us."

"It's a real problem in a virtual world," San Jose State professor and tech expert Ahmed Banafa weighed in. Speaking from the heart of Silicon Valley, he isn't surprised by the president's tone.

"It's the responsibility of the tech companies to look at people before profit," Banafa told ABC7 News. "And if they have this kind of mindset, they will understand that you are dealing with human life, and the consequences will be huge."

President Biden's comments come after his Wall Street Journal op-ed last month, addressing what he considered "Big Tech Abuses."

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However, tech experts said getting bipartisan support may be a challenge.

"On one side of the aisle, there's a lot of concern about censorship, right? And the perception that the tech industry is pushing its political ideals onto the country," Ian Sherr, CNET Editor-at-Large said. "And on the other side of the aisle, you've got people who are worried about the spread of disinformation, extremism, the concern about the technology companies reaching into our lives."

Newly elected Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivered the Republican Response. She rose to prominence as President Trump's press secretary.

Now, she's the first female governor in Arkansas history and currently, the youngest governor in America. Gov. Huckabee Sanders said she didn't believe much of anything she heard from Pres. Biden.

RELATED: Watch the full Republican response to Biden's State of the Union address: 'It's time for a change'

"While you reap the consequences of their failures, the Biden administration seems more interested in woke fantasies than the hard reality Americans face every day. Most Americans simply want to live their lives in freedom and peace, but we are under attack in a left-wing culture war we didn't start and never wanted to fight," she said.

The governor continued, "Everyday, we are told that we must partake in their rituals, salute their flags, and worship their false idols, all while big government colludes with Big Tech to strip away the most American thing there is - your freedom of speech. That's not normal. It's crazy, and it's wrong."

The president's attention to big tech on Tuesday followed mention of mental health. Biden made ties to social media and impacts on school-age children.

"Let's do more on mental health, especially for our children," he said. "When millions of young people are struggling with bullying, violence, trauma, we owe them greater access to mental health care at school."

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