Congressional Lawmakers Draft Bill to Strip Big Tech of Section 230 Protections
Top House Republicans announce measures to stop online censorship
Congressional lawmakers have drafted a bill that seeks to strip Big Tech companies of the legal protections they enjoy under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Two House Republicans – Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Jim Jordan – have drafted a discussion bill to “rein in Big Tech.”
The legislation aims to hold Big Tech firms “accountable” for “abusing” Section 230 by censoring conservatives online.
Under Section 230 of the Act, social media giants are not liable for content published by users to their platforms.
The companies enjoy these protections because they are not acting as publishers.
However, by editing content and censoring information published by users, social media firms are acting as publishers of sorts, leading to mounting calls for them to lose the legal shield that protects them from lawsuits.
Big Tech also has complete control over what content it chooses to censor – a topic that has gained a lot of criticism for censoring conservative voices.
The proposed changes to Section 230 by Reps. Jordan and Rogers would strip liability protection away from tech giants such as Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and Google’s Youtube and hold them accountable for content published.
The pair is also proposing that tech giants “submit quarterly filings to the Federal Trade Commission regarding content enforcement decisions and appeals, and for other purposes.”
“[The bill will] hold them more accountable for censoring Americans,” Rogers said in a statement.
“It’s time to expose Big Tech’s bias and make sure they treat constitutionally protected speech fairly.”
Jordan says it is also time to stop censoring conservative voices.
“Big Tech is out to get conservatives,” he said.
“This draft legislation builds upon previous work by our conference to undo the legal immunity that Big Tech hides behind to evade accountability.
“We want to hear from our colleagues about how we can move forward together to finally stop the censoring of conservative voices on the internet.”
Section 230 stipulates that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”
McMorris Rodgers told Fox that “Big Tech can no longer be allowed to hide behind Section 230.”
She said their drafted bill, which has yet to receive a formal introduction date, is a “solution to remove Big Tech altogether from Section 230 and put them under new obligations that will hold them more accountable for censoring Americans.”
Before he was banned from Twitter, former President Donald Trump stressed the need for a repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects social media companies such as Twitter from being treated as publishers.
Section 230 states:
No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.
The term “otherwise objectionable” has given license to sites such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter to censor material they find “otherwise objectionable.”
This is critical because it means that if those two words were removed from the Code, those sites could theoretically be open to legal liability for the removal of content for political reasons.