Proposed Sec. 230 rewrite may have wide-ranging penalties

Cartoon hands hold out a band-aid over the words Section 230.

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A trio of Democratic Senators has taken this administration’s first stab at Part 230 reform with a brand new invoice that may make platforms, together with giants akin to Fb and Twitter, chargeable for sure restricted classes of harmful content material. Sadly, though the invoice’s authors attempt to thread a difficult needle rigorously, critics warn that bad-faith actors may nonetheless simply weaponize the invoice as written in opposition to each platforms and different customers.

The invoice (PDF), dubbed the SAFE TECH Act, seeks to not repeal Part 230 (as some Republicans have proposed) however as a substitute to amend it with new definitions of audio system and new exceptions from the regulation’s notorious legal responsibility defend.

“A regulation meant to encourage service suppliers to develop instruments and insurance policies to assist efficient moderation has as a substitute conferred sweeping immunity on on-line suppliers even after they do nothing to handle foreseeable, apparent and repeated misuse of their services to trigger hurt,” stated Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), who launched the invoice. “This invoice doesn’t intervene with free speech—it’s about permitting these platforms to lastly be held accountable for dangerous, usually legal habits enabled by their platforms to which they’ve turned a blind eye for too lengthy.”

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