The Biden campaign has enlisted several allies of big tech companies as part of its policy planning initiatives, the New York Times reported on Monday.
While the campaign is facing pressure from more progressive advisers to take a combative stance against companies such as Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, a number of former consultants for and senior employees of those companies are now advising the campaign.
The advisers include Avril Haines, a former Obama administration national security official who worked as a consultant for data-mining firm Palantir; Antony Blinken, a veteran of the Obama State Department and co-founder of lobbying firm WestExec, which has worked with Google; and Cynthia Hogan, a former lobbyist for Apple who is now part of Biden’s vice-presidential selection team.
Other veterans of the tech industry or consultants for tech companies have joined the Innovation Policy Committee, the Biden campaign’s 700-person policy advisory team. The presence of big tech allies in the Biden campaign comes despite statements from Biden himself saying that internet companies should lose certain legal protections.
“Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one,” Biden said in a 2019 interview with the Times. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act gives legal immunity to internet companies if a third party publishes false or defamatory content on their platforms. Biden and other Democrats have complained that platforms such as Facebook allow the Trump campaign to spread misinformation.
Matt Hill, a spokesman for the Biden campaign, denied that the presence of tech industry allies would make a Biden administration more amenable to those companies’ concerns.
“Many technology giants and their executives have not only abused their power but misled the American people, damaged our democracy and evaded any form of responsibility,” Hill told the Times. “Anyone who thinks that campaign volunteers or advisers will change Joe Biden’s fundamental commitment to stopping the abuse of power and stepping up for the middle class doesn’t know Joe Biden.”