NYT: Big Tech’s Section 230 Protections Will ‘Survive’ Congress
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9 Mar 2021
In a recent article titled “Tech’s Legal Shield Appears Likely to Survive as Congress Focuses on Details,” the New York Times writes that while former President Donald Trump called for the repealing of laws that shield tech companies from legal responsibility and President Joe Biden during his candidacy stated that Section 230 should be “revoked,” it is seeming increasingly unlikely that this will happen.
Instead, Congress appears to be focusing on making changes to Section 230 of the CDA that would eliminate protections for specific kinds of content rather than eliminating the law entirely.
The New York Times writes:
One bill introduced last month would strip the protections from content the companies are paid to distribute, like ads, among other categories. A different proposal, expected to be reintroduced from the last congressional session, would allow people to sue when a platform amplified content linked to terrorism. And another that is likely to return would exempt content from the law only when a platform failed to follow a court’s order to take it down.
Even these more modest proposals to the legal shield, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, could ripple across the internet. The adjustments could give companies like Facebook and YouTube an incentive to take down certain types of content while leaving up others. Critics of the ideas also say there is a huge potential for unintended consequences, citing a 2018 law that stripped the immunity from platforms that knowingly facilitated sex trafficking, making some sex work more unsafe.
“I think we are trying to say, ‘How can you narrowly draw some exceptions to 230 in a way that doesn’t interfere with your free speech rights?’” said Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, who has introduced legislation to trim the law with a fellow Democrat, Senator Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii.
Hany Farid, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who researches online misinformation, stated: “I think we want to take as modest of a step as possible. Give it a year or two, see how it unfolds and make adjustments.”
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), who co-wrote Section 230 while in the House, used 9/11 as an argument for not repealing the law entirely, stating: “If you remember 9/11, and you had all these knee-jerk reactions to those horrible tragedies. I think it would be a huge mistake to use the disgusting, nauseating attacks on the Capitol as a vehicle to suppress free speech.”
Read more at the New York Times here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org
Original Story: NYT: Big Tech’s Section 230 Protections Will ‘Survive’ Congress