U.S. senators propose limiting legal responsibility protect for social media platforms

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three Democratic U.S. senators released a invoice that would restrict Section 230, a law that shields on the web providers from legal responsibility about content posted by people, and make the organizations far more accountable when posts consequence in damage.

Called the Safe TECH Act, the legislation would mark the most recent work to make U.S. social media providers like Alphabet Inc’s Google, Twitter Inc and Fb Inc extra accountable for “enabling cyber-stalking, focused harassment, and discrimination on their platforms,” Senators Mark Warner, Mazie Hirono and Amy Klobuchar said in a assertion.

In the aftermath of the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, many lawmakers have been learning strategies to maintain Large Tech a lot more accountable for the part they played in the distribute of disinformation prior to the riot and about policing written content on their platforms.

Numerous Republican lawmakers have also been separately pushing to scrap the legislation solely in excess of decisions by tech platforms to moderate articles. Republican former President Donald Trump consistently pushed for the authorized defense to be stripped absent about what he alleged was censorship versus conservatives.

The calls for altering the legislation grew louder after platforms these types of as Twitter and Facebook began labeling Trump’s posts about the elections and then following the Capitol attack blocked Trump’s account, citing a threat of further more incitement of violence.

The chief executives of Google, Twitter and Fb have earlier mentioned the legislation is very important to free of charge expression on the internet. They mentioned Area 230 presents them the applications to strike a equilibrium amongst preserving free of charge speech and moderating content material, even as they appeared open to solutions the legislation demands reasonable changes.

The invoice from the three Democrats would make it clear that Segment 230 – which was enacted in 1996 as section of a law called the Communications Decency Act – does not use to advertisements or other paid out content, does not impair the enforcement of civil rights laws, and does not bar wrongful-death steps.

“We need to have to be asking much more from big tech organizations, not much less,” Senator Klobuchar stated.

“Holding these platforms accountable for ads and content that can guide to serious-world harm is crucial, and this laws will do just that,” she reported.

There are several other items of legislation aimed at transforming the legislation performing the rounds, together with just one from Republican Senators Roger Wicker and Lindsey Graham. There is one more one particular from Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and a bipartisan bill from Democrat Brian Schatz and Republican John Thune.

Reporting by Nandita Bose and Chris Sanders editing by Jonathan Oatis