Rosenworcel Weighs in on Big Tech Regulation

Big Tech

‘It’s a conversation I think we should be having,’ FCC Chairwoman says

Joel Leighton Rosenworcel Weighs in on Big Tech Regulation Screenshot of FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel at Thursday event in Washington

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2024 – Some want Big Tech to be regulated like a utility, but the head of the Federal Communications Commission said that current law would not be accommodating.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, in an appearance at the National Press Club Thursday, was asked whether tech giants like Google and Facebook should be classified as common carriers and brought under FCC authority.

Rosenworcel expressed doubts about whether the FCC had statutory authority to apply utility-style regulations to Big Tech players like Google and Meta’s Facebook.

“It doesn’t fit neatly in the Communications Act so that’s one of those things that I think Congress is going to have to think about,” Rosenworcel said.

She spoke at a forum here hosted by the Open Markets Institute and the Guardian US.

While not explicitly taking a stance on whether Big Tech should fall under the FCC’s authority, Rosenworcel said, “it’s a conversation I think we should be having.”

Rosenworcel’s comments came after the FCC voted in April to classify broadband ISPs as common carriers. The Net Neutrality rules go into effect on July 22. Trade associations for national and regional ISPs have asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati to stay the rules by July 15.

The feasibility of reclassifying Big Tech has been a long debate within the industry. 

In 2021, Ohio Attorney General David Yost launched a lawsuit against Google in order to classify its search engine as a common carrier. If successful, Ohio would be able to prevent Google from giving preferential treatment to its own products or services in search results.