Section 230, the Communication and Decency Act, is Under Bipartisan Attack

The issue with regarding Section 230– the communication decency act, which gives tech companies a shield with what users post is under intense scrutiny from both political parties, not just conservatives who believe that tech companies are censoring public them. Sen. Josh Hawley of MO is pushing a bill that would enforce that companies who have Section 230 protections that they need to act in “good faith” in accordance with their terms of service agreements. Sen Mark Warner, on the other side of the isle, D-VA, said that he believes that Section 230 should be reformed, but, is skeptical of the Trump administration.

Josh Hawley, Sen, R-MO’s bill, is furthering Bill Barr’s plan to gradually erode Section 230. Josh Hawley wants to make it easier to sue social media companies. The act is called “The Limiting Section 230 to Good Samaritan Act”. Trump recently passed an executive order telling social media companies that if they censor people in their platforms for political speech they’ll not only lose funding, but, it threatens their companies with losing their liability shield that is Section 230.

According to CNBC, this bill seems to limit those protections further than already have been limited. Under FOSTA-SESTA, they already added reforms meant to target sexual solicitations online, this bill is geared towards companies that allow scams on their websites and companies that participate in “deceptive” communication. This bill does not go as far as eliminating Section 230 altogether– but– it’s definitely attacking the protections. Bill Barr said that Section 230 “has been stretched way beyond its original intention”.

It should be noted that according to the Fox News article, Google actually made a correction when it came to the monetization issue with the Federalist. “To be clear, the federalist is not currently demonetized”. What that means is that the outlet can still make money from the platform. Google clarified that it had an issue with the comments section rather than the outlet itself. It did not, in the Fox News article make a similar correction for the other news organization called Zero Hedge.

It’s been widely reported in the tech press, for instance, the Verge (especially their podcast), that Section 230 shields tech companies from the content that users post. It’s a frequent target by conservatives due to the fact that it lets social media companies participate with fewer restrictions and conservatives think that their algorithm silences their voice on social-media, hence, the reason for Trump’s executive order. It’s been explained elsewhere that it’s not necessarily to silence anyone in particular, but, if an account is spammy, they need to step in. That on Twitter can range from bots, etc. , in this article, it talks about banned hashtags on Instagram. So, just keep that in mind while processing stories about digital media.

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