The Hill: DOJ proposes tech liability shield reform to Congress

September 23, 2020 Media

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday rolled out a proposal for Congress to revise the law that gives tech companies a legal liability shield for content posted by third parties.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — which also gives platforms the ability to do good-faith content moderation — has increasingly come under fire from Republicans, who baselessly claim it allows the censoring of conservative viewpoints.

The proposal from the DOJ would amend the law to remove legal immunity from platforms that facilitate or fail to report criminal activity.

The American Economic Liberties Project, a major force behind the push to enforce antitrust laws on big tech companies, said it would do little to address real concerns with Section 230.

“Section 230 means monopolies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google can operate as ‘absentee owners,’ supercharging dangerous content across the internet and exploiting a legal framework that protects them from responsibility for how they make money,” executive director Sarah Miller said.

“Fixing this problem means reevaluating which companies receive Section 230 protections. If a company or website generates revenue by selling behavioral advertising, travel services, data collection, enabling commercial transactions, or otherwise monetizing the transmission of content, Section 230 should not necessarily apply.”