IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Republican senators introduce legislation targeting Section 230

Bill looks to clarify Section 230’s intent and increase social media companies’ accountability for moderating user content

A group of Senate Republicans introduced legislation on Tuesday to take away some of the protections Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act provides social media companies.

Introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). Known as the Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act, the bill looks to clarify the original intent of Section 230 and increase accountability surrounding content moderation practices.

The Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act would require social media companies to have an “objectively reasonable belief” that the content being removed violated a specific policy or be held liable for their moderation actions.

Additionally, the bill would amend Section 230’s language that’s used as guidance for content moderation by replacing vague terms like “objectionable” with ones like “promoting terrorism,” “self-harm” and “unlawful.” 

“For too long, social media platforms have hidden behind Section 230 protections to censor content that deviates from their beliefs,” said Wicker. 

“These practices should not receive special protections in our society where freedom of speech is at the core of our nation’s values. Our legislation would restore power to consumers by promoting full and fair discourse online,” Wicker continued.

Graham added, “Social media companies are routinely censoring content that to many, should be considered valid political speech. This reform proposal addresses the concerns of those who feel like their political views are being unfairly suppressed.”

In a Tuesday tweet, President Donald Trump called on Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to repeal Section 230. 

“Why does Twitter leave phony pictures like this up, but take down Republican/Conservative pictures and statements that are true? Mitch must fight back and repeal Section 230, immediately. Stop biased Big Tech before they stop you!” Trump said about an image that transposed McConnell’s face onto a Russian guard in Moscow’s Red Square.

In May, President Trump signed an executive order targeting Section 230, arguing that social media companies forfeit Section 230’s legal protections when they moderate user content.

Featured Resources

Meeting the future of education with confidence

How the switch to digital learning has created an opportunity to meet the needs of every student, always

Free Download

The Total Economic Impact™ of IBM Cloud Pak® for Watson AIOps with Instana

Cost savings and business benefits

Free Download

The business value of the transformative mainframe

Modernising on the mainframe

Free Download

Technology reimagined

Why PCaaS is perfect for modern schools

Free Download

Recommended

TikTok phishing campaign tried to scam over 125 influencer accounts
social media

TikTok phishing campaign tried to scam over 125 influencer accounts

18 Nov 2021
Facebook's Oversight Board demands more transparency
social media

Facebook's Oversight Board demands more transparency

21 Oct 2021
Facebook pauses work on Instagram Kids
social media

Facebook pauses work on Instagram Kids

27 Sep 2021
Are you over-sharing online?
social media

Are you over-sharing online?

1 Sep 2021

Most Popular

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode
Microsoft Windows

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode

7 Jun 2022
Swift exit: How the world cut off Russian banks
finance

Swift exit: How the world cut off Russian banks

24 Jun 2022
The top programming languages you need to learn for 2022
Careers & training

The top programming languages you need to learn for 2022

23 Jun 2022