Republican Senator wants to control content on Facebook
New legislation aims to control tech companies and in the process jeopardises tech companies’ immunity over content published on their platforms.
Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, introduced Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act, which would remove tech companies’ automatic immunity, provided in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. This section protects online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter from liability for content posted by their users. To receive immunity under the new act, tech companies would have to subject themselves to an external audit proving to the Federal Trade Commission that their practices are politically neutral.
This act would only affect larger tech companies, which it defines as having more than 30 million active monthly users in the US, more than 300 million active monthly users worldwide, and more than $500 million in global annual revenue. Those that don’t meet the criteria would still receive automatic immunity.
“With Section 230, tech companies get a sweetheart deal that no other industry enjoys: complete exemption from traditional publisher liability in exchange for providing a forum free of political censorship,” Hawley said in a press release. “Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, big tech has failed to hold up its end of the bargain.
Facebook and Twitter were contacted by CNET but declined to comment