Biden administration reviews controversial law that protects Big Tech from lawsuits

Biden administration reviews controversial law that protects Big Tech from lawsuits
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The White House said Tuesday it is considering ways to change a controversial law that gives Big Tech companies legal immunity in order to hold them accountable for problematic content on social media platforms.

The Biden administration is looking for ways to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a provision that protects social media companies such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter from being sued for content posted by their users.


"Well, we're reviewing that. And certainly, they should be held accountable," White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said on MSNBC when asked whether the Biden administration wanted social media companies to be held legally responsible for spreading misinformation regarding COVID-19 vaccines.

Bedingfield also said Biden believes misinformation online is "the responsibility of the people creating the content."

"It is a big and complicated ecosystem, and everybody bears responsibility to ensure that we are not providing people with bad information about a vaccine that will save their lives," she said.

The Biden administration said last week it is working directly with online platforms such as Facebook to try and curb the spread of vaccine-related misinformation, which is currently a top priority for the president.

Biden said in January that Section 230 “immediately should be revoked,” due to concerns around misinformation, and he has not walked back or changed that stance yet. Former President Donald Trump has also been in favor of repealing the law, alleging the provision allows companies to censor conservatives unfairly.

However, Biden cannot revoke or amend Section 230 by himself, using an executive order or any other mechanism. Only Congress has the power to change the law.

There are significant partisan divides on Capitol Hill regarding how to solve issues related to content moderation online, with Democrats focused on how to reduce issues regarding how to curb the spread of misinformation and disinformation, while Republicans are targeting what they say is rampant censorship of conservatives by the social media giants.

Despite bipartisan agreement to hold Big Tech companies more accountable for unfair and unclear behavior in regards to content moderation, there is currently no agreement on how to change Section 230 within Congress.


Most Democrats and Republicans are hesitant to repeal Section 230 completely, particularly without a ready replacement, due to the worry of social media companies clamping down on all types of user-generated content if they are held liable for it.

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Tags: News, Policy, Section 230, Censorship, online commerce, Facebook, Big Tech, YouTube, Free Speech, Biden Administration

Original Author: Nihal Krishan

Original Location: Biden administration reviews controversial law that protects Big Tech from lawsuits

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