Laws to Limit Section 230 Protections Would Lead to More Government Oversight of Speech

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Large technology companies were the focus of multiple proceedings in Congress today, including a markup of a bill to change Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and questions about claims of antitrust violations.

Associate Director of CEI’s Center for Technology and Innovation Jessica Melugin said:

Today’s markup of Senator Lindsey Graham’s Online Content Policy Moderation Act (S. 4632) is unlikely to lead to passage by the end of the 116th Congress, but it’s a good excuse to revisit the dangers of this type of legislation.

“Lately, there’s been a flood of bills that would limit the liability protections Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act provides for hosts of third-party speech online. Republicans seek to stop platforms from taking down conservative speech while Democrats want more speech they deem dangerous and offensive removed. Both motivations lead to the same bad unintended consequences for legislation narrowing Section 230 protections. 

“The Senate’s EARN IT Act, its companion in the house, the Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act and many more would all violate platform’s private property rights, shift control of what speech appears online from private hands to government oversight and open platforms up to increased litigation. The Internet and its platforms have made more speech available to more people than ever before; these bills put that benefit at risk.”

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