Republican senators introduce legislation targeting Section 230

Bill looks to clarify Section 230’s intent and increase social media companies’ accountability for moderating user content

A group of Senate Republicans introduced legislation on Tuesday to take away some of the protections Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act provides social media companies.

Introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). Known as the Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act, the bill looks to clarify the original intent of Section 230 and increase accountability surrounding content moderation practices.

The Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act would require social media companies to have an “objectively reasonable belief” that the content being removed violated a specific policy or be held liable for their moderation actions.

Additionally, the bill would amend Section 230’s language that’s used as guidance for content moderation by replacing vague terms like “objectionable” with ones like “promoting terrorism,” “self-harm” and “unlawful.” 

“For too long, social media platforms have hidden behind Section 230 protections to censor content that deviates from their beliefs,” said Wicker. 

“These practices should not receive special protections in our society where freedom of speech is at the core of our nation’s values. Our legislation would restore power to consumers by promoting full and fair discourse online,” Wicker continued.

Graham added, “Social media companies are routinely censoring content that to many, should be considered valid political speech. This reform proposal addresses the concerns of those who feel like their political views are being unfairly suppressed.”

In a Tuesday tweet, President Donald Trump called on Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to repeal Section 230. 

“Why does Twitter leave phony pictures like this up, but take down Republican/Conservative pictures and statements that are true? Mitch must fight back and repeal Section 230, immediately. Stop biased Big Tech before they stop you!” Trump said about an image that transposed McConnell’s face onto a Russian guard in Moscow’s Red Square.

In May, President Trump signed an executive order targeting Section 230, arguing that social media companies forfeit Section 230’s legal protections when they moderate user content.

Featured Resources

Consumer choice and the payment experience

A software provider's guide to getting, growing, and keeping customers

Download now

Prevent fraud and phishing attacks with DMARC

How to use domain-based message authentication, reporting, and conformance for email security

Download now

Business in the new economy landscape

How we coped with 2020 and looking ahead to a brighter 2021

Download now

How to increase cyber resilience within your organisation

Cyber resilience for dummies

Download now

Recommended

Feds rescind prohibited transactions list for TikTok and WeChat
social media

Feds rescind prohibited transactions list for TikTok and WeChat

21 Jun 2021
President Biden repeals and replaces Trump’s TikTok executive order
social media

President Biden repeals and replaces Trump’s TikTok executive order

9 Jun 2021
How to reduce your online footprint
privacy

How to reduce your online footprint

7 Jun 2021
TikTok implies it’s collecting users' faceprints and voiceprints
privacy

TikTok implies it’s collecting users' faceprints and voiceprints

4 Jun 2021

Most Popular

How to find RAM speed, size and type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

16 Jun 2021
Q&A: Enabling transformation
Sponsored

Q&A: Enabling transformation

10 Jun 2021
Ten-year-old iOS 4 recreated as an iPhone app
iOS

Ten-year-old iOS 4 recreated as an iPhone app

10 Jun 2021