Activists Warn Biden Administration Against Rescinding Section 230
‘Uncareful efforts to poke holes in Section 230 could result in the exact opposite outcome’
More than 70 advocacy organizations have sent a letter to Congress and the Biden administration warning against making changes to Section 230, the law that gives tech platforms immunity for the content users post on their sites.
Organizations such as Fight for the Future, the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, and Data for Black Lives are typically critical of laws that indemnify Big Tech companies, but in this case, the civil rights advocates and tech firms are aligned: Nobody wants Twitter or Facebook to be legally obligated to police more kinds of speech.
“We concur that Congress should act to address the harms of Big Tech through meaningful legislative action on data privacy, civil rights and others fronts, and enforcement of existing antitrust laws,” the letter says. “But uncareful efforts to poke holes in Section 230 could result in the exact opposite outcome.”
That’s because Section 230 acts as a “sword and a shield” for tech companies, meaning it protects them from being liable for the content on their site but also allows them to remove objectionable content that violates a company’s terms of service. For instance, Amazon cited Section 230 when defending the removal of Parler from its web hosting service.
Other signatories include the National Lawyers Guild, Algorithmic Justice League founder Joy Buolamwini, and the Wikimedia Foundation.
Read the full letter here: