“I fully support you on this,” the Democratic Hawaii congresswoman and Army veteran tweeted in response to an attack from Trump on the controversial Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. “Please don’t back down. The freedom and future of our country is at stake.”
Section 230 grants Internet companies liability shielding not available to other forms of media. Trump likened it to “corporate welfare” and claimed that only “Big Tech” companies benefited from its protections.
He threatened to veto a defense spending bill if it didn’t also repeal federal protections for social media companies from certain liabilities.
Section 230 has drawn criticism from lawmakers for years. It says Internet and social media companies cannot be considered “the publisher or speaker” responsible for third-party content posted to their platforms.
“No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider,” the law reads.
It protects sites, including Facebook and Parler, from lawsuits if they allow controversial or critical speech to be shared by their users, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. It does not protect users from being accountable for their own posts.
But the president argued that the provision also allows social media platforms to censor conservative viewpoints.
On Tuesday, Trump called it “a serious threat” to national security and election integrity, and in May, he issued an executive order aimed at weakening some protections after Twitter began attaching fact-check warnings to some of his posts.
“If the very dangerous & unfair Section 230 is not completely terminated as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO the Bill when sent to the very beautiful Resolute desk,” Trump tweeted Tuesday.
President-elect Joe Biden has called for Section 230’s repeal in the past. He told the New York Times in January that its protections should “be revoked.”