The Justice Department is reportedly planning to weaken protections for internet companies like Facebook and Twitter that drew Trump's ire (FB, TWTR)


Trump Barr

  • The Justice Department is reportedly planning to propose a law that would roll back protections for internet companies like Facebook and Twitter.
  • The proposal would weaken Section 230, the law that protects internet companies from being held liable for other people’s posts on their platforms as long as they make a good faith effort to remove illegal content.
  • President Donald Trump asked the FCC to consider revoking Section 230 protections from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube last month, claiming that the sites are biased against him.
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President Donald Trump issued an executive order last month calling on federal agencies to crack down on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Now, the Justice Department is poised to take action to roll back protections for those internet companies.

Citing an unnamed Trump administration official, The Wall Street Journal reports that the Justice Department is planning to propose changes to Section 230, a law that protects tech companies from being held liable for the content of people’s posts on their platforms.

The proposal is reportedly set to be released as early as this week and would need to be adopted by Congress to become law.

Trump has raged against social media companies for years, but his anger reached a breaking point last month after Twitter applied warning labels to his tweets that contained misinformation about mail-in voting and suggested people looting at George Floyd protests should be shot. (Facebook declined to take action against the same posts Trump published there.)

Trump’s executive order listed his grievances against the tech companies, claiming that they are biased against him and other conservatives. It called on the Federal Communications Commission to consider reclassifying them as publishers, which would strip their Section 230 protections.

If social media companies lost those protections, they would be forced to either shoulder the financial burden of countless new lawsuits or to shut down open forums entirely.

Both Republicans and Democrats have taken aim at Section 230 in recent years. Lawmakers are currently weighing legislation to raise the standards internet companies must abide by when it comes to blocking child sexual exploitation. Meanwhile, Joe Biden has called for Section 230 protections to be rolled back so that internet companies would be held responsible for moderating false or misleading content.

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