In 2018, for instance, Congress grilled Mr. Zuckerberg about a leak of Facebook user data to Cambridge Analytica, a firm that built voter profiles. The outrage over the incident led to calls for Congress to pass new rules to protect people’s online privacy. But while California and other states eventually approved online privacy laws, Congress has not.
Lawmakers have also attacked a legal statute, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields online platforms such as Instagram and TikTok from many lawsuits over content posted by their users. Congress has not substantively changed the statute, beyond making it harder for the platforms to employ the legal shield when they are accused of meaningfully aiding sex trafficking.
And after companies like Amazon and Apple were accused of being monopolies and abusing their power over smaller rivals, lawmakers proposed a bill to make some of their business practices illegal. An effort to get the legislation over the finish line failed in 2022.
Senators Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, and Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, as well as other lawmakers, have blamed the power of tech lobbyists for killing proposed rules. Others have said tech regulations haven’t been a priority for congressional leaders, who have focused on spending bills and measures meant to subsidize American companies that make crucial computer chips and harness renewable energy.