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Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) have drafted legislation to remove Section 230 protections from Big Tech companies. The legislation would also require tech platforms to report any content moderation decisions to the Federal Trade Commission.
McMorris Rodger told Fox Business that “Big Tech can no longer be allowed to hide behind Section 230.” She calls it a “solution to remove Big Tech altogether from Section 230 and put them under new obligations that will hold them more accountable for censoring Americans.”
“It’s time to expose Big Tech’s bias and make sure they treat constitutionally protected speech fairly,” she adds.
Former President Donald Trump supported the repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects social media companies from being treated as publishers, before Twitter and Facebook removed him from their services earlier this year. Republicans argue that by banning conservatives, social media companies are making editorial decisions, and therefore, acting as publishers.
Section 230 states:
No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.
The key line is “otherwise objectionable,” which gives Big Tech companies wide latitude to censor content.
Ben Shapiro spoke to OutKick about this topic on Tuesday. He argues that doing away with the “otherwise objectionable” provision would essentially stop social media platforms from taking down political material.
“What basically happened is that the government has reversed what Section 230 was supposed to do,” Shapiro tells OutKick.
“Section 230 was supposed to allow for this fruition of wide-open conversation and simultaneously allow people to take down pornography or spam that was going on in the comment section. Now, the Democrats have basically told tech companies that they are going to allow them to have this immunity, but only if they police content to the exact extent in which they want, which is precisely the opposite of why Section 230 was established in the first place.”
It’s not clear when McMorris Rogers and Jordan will formally introduce the legislation. With Trump’s lawsuits against Twitter, Facebook and Google looming as well, the culture war is stuck in Silicon Valley for the foreseeable future.