VIA BEETCAM — They often say it takes a crisis to really change. So how does coronavirus promise to change the technology industry?

If and when COVID-19 passes:

  • tech platforms will evade looming regulation.
  • they will be unable to avoid categorization as editors.
  • newly-remote workers will ultimately ditch Zoom and go back to the office.

Those are the views of Kara Swisher, editor-in-large at Recode and a veteran tech writer.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Swisher comments on efforts by social and tech platforms to combat coronavirus misinformation, which have seen them take unprecedented steps, arguably at odds with previous protestations that they cannot control content on their networks.

“It shows that they can control these things,” Swisher says. “Of course they can. They always could.

“This shows that, when it comes to a crisis – or something easier for the public to swallow, rather than political advertising – they can certainly fix it and do a great job. They can monitor their platforms, they can control their platforms, they can make sure that people get great information, because ‘this time it really matters’.

“But it (also) matters all the other times. Let me just say, it matters when we have our political discourse poisoned, it matters when we have hate speech on there and our society is poisoned.”

If and when COVID-19 abates, that could place the platforms in a sticky policy situation – if they can control misinformation in Q1 2020, when not every day in the future?

Still, Swisher thinks lawmakers that, until now, were promising a tech clampdown will take their eyes off that ball.

“They’re going to emerge pretty well from this, because I think Wall Street and politicians aren’t going to have a stomach to go after these tech giants as much as they did before the crisis,” she tells Beet.TV.

“There is a lot of momentum growing for antitrust, or fines, or laws and things like that. I think that’s going to take a back seat to repairing the country. So in this way, they’ve gotten a breather on some of the pressure that was coming.”

Swisher has recently written about Zoom videoconferencing and tech’s chances of surviving the virus for The New York Times.

Swisher was interviewed remotely by BeetCam.