Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has been a hot topic for quite some time, and now, the left appears to be using the liability shield as an excuse to attempt to further regulate free speech online.
Democrats in Congress and the Senate may be placing Section 230 under the microscope following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol building.
“Social media continues to be a concern. The amount of radicalization on both ends of the political spectrum done by social media and the so-called Section 230 exemption needs to be reviewed,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) in an interview with Greta Van Susteren on Full Court Press.
During the interview, Warner paid lip service to the notion of being pro-First Amendment, while simultaneously arguing that some speech should not be allowed to be amplified. When asked about Section 230, he said:
“I’m a huge believer in the First Amendment. I think you have the right to say stupid stuff, but I’m not sure whether that right extends to then having it amplified to three billion other people with no responsibility. So, I’ve been working with Google, literally, the past year, because getting it right is really hard. Looking at things like, well, should we put civil rights protections in so that Section 230 doesn’t exempt you from civil rights? Should we provide you the ability to have, make sure these companies can’t launch individually harmful actions?
The language Warner used concerning content being “amplified” is similar to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s remarks before the Senate Judiciary Committee in November 2020, entitled “Breaking the News: Censorship, Suppression, and the 2020 Election.” Dorsey said in the hearing: “In the weeks leading up to and during election week, we implemented significant product changes intended to increase context and encourage more thoughtful consideration before Tweets are amplified.”
Warner is not the only Democrat calling for Section 230 reform. Reps. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA) sent letters to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Dorsey and a letter to Alphabet, Inc. and Google CEO Sundar Pichai and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki.
“Perhaps no single entity is more responsible for the spread of dangerous conspiracy theories at scale or for inflaming anti-government grievance than the one that you started and that you oversee today as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,” said Malinowski and Eshoo in their letter to Zuckerberg.
During the 116th Congress, Malinowski and Eshoo introduced the Protecting Americans from Dangerous Algorithms Act, one of at least fifteen different Section 230 reform bills that graced the 116th Congress. Malinowski hinted at reintroducing the bill during this Congress. “The social media companies know how to address this problem, and we hope they do. We’ll also be reintroducing legislation exposing them to greater liability if content that their algorithms amplify leads to real world violence like what we saw on Jan. 6,” Malinowski tweeted, linking to an Oct. 20 Gizmodo article regarding Section 230.
President Joe Biden has not laid out many specific policy positions on Big Tech. However, in January 2020, Biden told The New York Times Editorial Board that Section 230 should be “revoked, immediately.”
Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representative and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.