Last week, President Trump issued an executive order concerning a little-known legal provision with massive implications for the internet: Section 230 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which shields “interactive computer services” from liability for the third-party content on their websites. Although the order does not change the law in any way, both Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi have called for Congress to revisit the protections that the law provides.
A central question is whether Facebook and Google should continue to enjoy Section 230’s legal protections. These two corporations, which dominate digital advertising markets, generate enormous profits from amplifying dangerous, false, and addictive content on their platforms, then placing advertising alongside it. Are changes to Section 230 warranted? If so, how might these changes protect free expression?
We’re pleased to feature a conversation between Economic Liberties’ Executive Director Sarah Miller and Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who serves as Chair of the House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce and who is drafting legislation to limit Section 230’s protections for big tech. Following their remarks, we’ll hear from Karen Kornbluh, Senior Fellow and Director of the Digital Innovation and Democracy Initiative at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, who will discuss the issue with Economic Liberties’ Research Director Matt Stoller and the American Prospect’s Executive Editor David Dayen.
Read Economic Liberties’ “Addressing Facebook and Google’s Harms Through a Regulated Competition Approach” here.
Read the German Marshall Fund’s “Safeguarding Digital Democracy” here.