A federal law that grants technology companies legal immunity for content published on their websites is being targeted by Democrats.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects tech companies from legal responsibility for what others say and do on their website. Lawmakers were convinced in 1996 that internet companies would ban user content completely without the protection afforded by Section 230 in order to protect against legal liability from user actions or words or would heavily censor user-generated content on their site.
Former President Donald Trump’s 2020 attempt to change Section 230 was frustrated by Republican senators who objected because the changes were added to the annual defense authorization bill.
The New York Post further reported:
President Biden called on Congress Thursday to strip Big Tech platforms of immunity for third-party content — saying it was time to “hold social media companies accountable” nearly two years after then-President Donald Trump attempted to force Congress to make the same change.
Biden said it was time to end the protections of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 because the law gives a free pass for hosting bigoted content.
“I’m calling on Congress to get rid of special immunity for social media companies and impose much stronger transparency requirements on all of them,” Biden said in the White House East Room at an event focused on condemning hate crimes.
The crowd gave a standing ovation when Biden said he wanted Congress to “hold social media companies accountable for spreading hate and fueled violence.”
After the event, activist Al Sharpton told reporters on the White House driveway that Biden specifically chose the event to begin a push to repeal Section 230. Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League said there remains a question of what specific legislative package Biden would support.
Biden said in a January 2020 interview that he wanted to repeal Section 230, but he’s said little since then as social media companies have received scorn primarily from Republicans over anti-conservative censorship.
Biden, then still a candidate in the Democratic presidential primary, told the New York Times that “Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one — for [Facebook founder Mark] Zuckerberg and other platforms.”
Many Republicans rallied around repealing Section 230 in October 2020 after Twitter and Facebook censored The Post’s reporting on a Hunter Biden hard drive that contained documents linking Joe Biden to his son’s business relationships in China and Ukraine.
During his final weeks in office, Trump vetoed a $740 billion defense bill because it did not repeal Section 230, among other grievances — including that the bill sought to block his drawdown of troops in Afghanistan and forced the renaming of 10 military bases that honor Confederates.
Trump said in his veto message that the bill “fails even to make any meaningful changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, despite bipartisan calls for repealing that provision. Section 230 facilitates the spread of foreign disinformation online, which is a serious threat to our national security and election integrity. It must be repealed.”
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