US President Joe Biden used his first State of the Union address to call for the banning of social networks carrying advertisements aimed at children.
Speaking in the presence of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, invited by first lady Jill Biden, the president said “we must hold social media platforms accountable for the national experiment they conduct on our children for lucrative”.
“It’s time to strengthen privacy protections, to ban targeted advertising to children, to demand that tech companies stop collecting personal data about our children,” he thundered.
Haugen exposed internal documents that revealed Facebook knew up to 3% of teenage girls suffered from depression or anxiety, or self-harm as a result of Instagram use, and nonetheless sued a special version of the application targeting teenagers. The project was later cancelled.
Let’s make sure businesses start paying their fair share of tax
Another tech present at the keynote was Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, who was mentioned in the context of the chipmaker giant’s $20 billion plan to build silicon fabs in Ohio. .
Biden used his address to urge Congress to pass the Innovation and Competition Act, which includes billions in investments in AI, quantum computing, and semiconductor research — partly because if it becomes law , Gelsinger “told me that they [Intel] are ready to increase their investment from $20 billion to $100 billion. »
The president also linked Intel’s plans to U.S. efforts to compete with China, saying the innovation law will help “level the playing field with China and other competitors.”
More local chip manufacturing was also linked to the fight against inflation, which is currently at a 40-year high of 7.5%, causing much economic hardship in the United States and contributing to the administration’s lukewarm popularity. Biden.
“Last year, there weren’t enough semiconductors to make all the cars people wanted to buy,” Biden lamented. “And guess what? Auto prices have gone up.” Scaling up onshore manufacturing has been touted as a way to fight inflation and insulate U.S. industry from supply chain uncertainties.
The address of course touched on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Biden had this to say about the new US sanctions:
The president also announced that the United States had closed its airspace to flights from Russia and created a new Justice Department task force “to prosecute the crimes of Russian oligarchs.”
“We join our European allies in finding and seizing your yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets,” he warned.
Perhaps ironically, the address also warned America’s own oligarchs — including Big Tech — that Biden wants to change their situation as well. Because the current US tax system is “not fair”.
“I’m not looking to punish anyone. But let’s make sure the wealthiest corporations and Americans start paying their fair share,” Biden said, adding “Last year, 55 Fortune 500 companies made $40 billion in profits and paid zero federal income tax.”
“It’s just not fair. That’s why I proposed a 15% minimum corporate tax rate.”
“For the past 40 years, we’ve been told that if we gave tax breaks to those at the top, the benefits would trickle down to everyone. But this trickle-down theory has led to lower economic growth, lower wages, bigger deficits and the biggest gap between those at the top and everyone else in nearly a century.” ®