Silicon Valley Lobbying Group Internet Association To Shut Down

The Silicon Valley lobbying group Internet Association, once one of the most influential tech industry organizations, will close its doors at the end of the year.

“Our industry has undergone tremendous growth and change since the Internet Association was formed almost 10 years ago, and in line with this evolution, the Board has made the difficult decision to close the organization at the end of this year,” the organization's board of directors stated Wednesday morning. 

The decision to dissolve came nearly one month after Microsoft and Uber announced they were leaving the lobbying organization.

The group's members included behemoths like Facebook, Amazon and Google, as well as smaller tech businesses like Spotify and TripAdvisor.

The organization's diverse membership appeared to be increasingly at odds with each other over policy issues, including antitrust For instance, TripAdvisor has repeatedly argued that Google violates antitrust law by allegedly giving preference to its own services in the search results.

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Another Internet Association member, Facebook, took a position contrary to some of the group's other companies in 2018, when it supported the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, which created a new exemption to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Section 230 broadly immunizes companies from lawsuits over users' content; the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act created a carve out that allows victims in some circumstances to sue websites that knowingly promote or facilitate prostitution.

The organization, which was formed in 2012, has been involved in many high profile legal battles involving the tech industry. As recently as February, the Internet Association, along with the Chamber of Commerce and other business groups, challenged Maryland's new tax on digital ads.

The Internet Association has also weighed in with friend-of-the-court briefs on numerous disputes. Among other battles, the group opposed a Florida law that would have prohibited large social media platforms from “censoring” political candidates. (Earlier this year, a federal judge blocked enforcement of that law.) 

In January of 2020, the Internet Association's long-time president and CEO, Micheal Beckerman, left the organization. He later joined TikTok as vice president and head of public policy in the Americas.

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