You are here

CEI Joins Coalition Letter in Support of Section 230

Coalition Letters

Title

CEI Joins Coalition Letter in Support of Section 230

View Full Document as PDF

Dear House and Senate Leadership,

The undersigned groups believe that government should not be setting speech codes online or undermining free speech.  The growth of social media has greatly benefited society, free speech, and the beliefs of people across the political spectrum.

Truly diverse political speech has often been limited by traditional broadcast news or major newspapers. By contrast, social media has empowered an explosion of opinionated speech online, cutting out the filters and injecting users’ ideas into mainstream media discussions.

These new venues for conservative speech are made possible by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (“Section 230”).  Section 230 has allowed anyone with Internet connectivity to have a voice that can be heard around the world. American entrepreneurs now have easy access to global markets and American consumers have access to an almost limitless choice of goods in the palm of their hands.

Section 230 works by “providing limited immunity for online platforms that give users an opportunity to disseminate their material.” The law enhances free speech, and contributes $44 billion annually to the U.S. economy. Section 230 strikes a careful balance: the law holds individuals, not the tools they use, responsible for their actions online while demanding online intermediaries comply with all federal laws.

Unfortunately, politicians in Congress - including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Josh Hawley - have suggested undermining or completely repealing Section 230. Content moderation by large tech firms is far from perfect but weakening or removing Section 230 would strengthen the hand of government to silence speech it dislikes.

Politicians are demanding that social media platforms remove content that is unflattering to them –  muting critiques of government, and silencing grassroots political activism.

Key Congressional figures have said they would consider revising Section 230, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.), Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). Doing so would limit free speech in ways not seen since the repeal of the FCC’s Fairness Doctrine, a policy that squelched a broadcaster’s ability to express an opinion under government oversight.

We ask you to protect online speech and American jobs from this attack by well-meaning but ultimately mistaken members of Congress.  Congress must defend Section 230. Without the law’s protections, free speech and American entrepreneurialism would be irreparably harmed.

 

Billy Easley
Senior Policy Analyst
Americans for Prosperity

Charles Sauer 
President
Market Institute

Norm Singleton
President
Campaign For Liberty

Steve DelBianco
President
NetChoice

Andrew Quinlan
President
Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Pete Sepp  
President
National Tax Payers Union Foundation

Patrick Hedger
Tech Research Fellow
Competitive Enterprise Institute

David Williams
President
Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Jason Pye    
Vice President of Legislative Affairs
FreedomWorks

Judson Phillips
President
Tea Party Nation

Wayne Brough
President
Innovation Defense Foundation

Eric Peterson
Director of Technology and Innovation
The Pelican Center

Zach Graves      
Policy Director
Lincoln Network

Casey Given
Executive Director
Young Voices