Has Section 230 ‘Outlived Its Usefulness’?

Has Section 230 ‘Outlived Its Usefulness’?

In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Frank Pallone Jr (D-N.J.) made their case for why Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act has “outlived its usefulness.” Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects online platforms from liability for user-generated content, allowing them to moderate content without being treated as publishers.

“Unfortunately, Section 230 is now poisoning the healthy online ecosystem it once fostered. Big Tech companies are exploiting the law to shield them from any responsibility or accountability as their platforms inflict immense harm on Americans, especially children. Congress’s failure to revisit this law is irresponsible and untenable,” the lawmakers wrote. The Hill reports: Rodgers and Pallone argued that rolling back the protections on Big Tech companies would hold them accountable for the material posted on their platforms. “These blanket protections have resulted in tech firms operating without transparency or accountability for how they manage their platforms. This means that a social-media company, for example, can’t easily be held responsible if it promotes, amplifies or makes money from posts selling drugs, illegal weapons or other illicit content,” they wrote.

The lawmakers said they were unveiling legislation (PDF) to sunset Section 230. It would require Big Tech companies to work with Congress for 18 months to “evaluate and enact a new legal framework that will allow for free speech and innovation while also encouraging these companies to be good stewards of their platforms.” “Our bill gives Big Tech a choice: Work with Congress to ensure the internet is a safe, healthy place for good, or lose Section 230 protections entirely,” the lawmakers wrote.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.