Social Media

Crackdown on tech industry's legal shield

Last month, Trump signed an executive order targeting social media companies for allegedly censoring conservative viewpoints

.uspg
US PRESS GROUP

The Justice Department will propose a major update Wednesday to the law that shields internet companies from liability for content on their sites — a move that follows President Donald Trump's call for platforms like Twitter and Facebook to be held to account for decisions found to be politically biased.

DOJ's proposal would strip companies of immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act for user-generated content if the site facilitates or solicits third-party content that violates federal law, according to three people familiar with the proposal who weren’t authorized to speak on the record. It is also intended to push companies to be more fair in taking down content they find objectionable.

The proposal is set to be unveiled later Wednesday, according to a Justice Department official and another individual familiar with DOJ’s plans. The change will require legislation from Congress, where dozens of members of both parties have expressed concerns about the broad protections given to internet firms under Section 230, though they disagree what aspects are problematic and how it should be fixed.


The legal shield, enacted in 1996, has been heralded as the law that helped build the internet, affording companies protections from civil suits over user postings. But Attorney General William Barr and others have raised questions about the scope of the law and whether tech companies have used Section 230 to absolve themselves of responsibility for policing their platforms.

Last month, Trump signed an executive order targeting social media companies for allegedly censoring conservative viewpoints. The order came after Twitter posted fact-checks on his tweets. An industry-funded tech nonprofit has challenged the order’s constitutionality.

In February, the Justice Department held a workshop on Section 230 where prominent critics of the law outlined how companies have avoided liability for posts that allegedly aided terrorism, sex trafficking, and revenge porn.

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) in March unveiled their own legislation that would remove digital firms' legal immunity over users’ posts if they fail to prove they are doing enough to curtail sexual exploitation of children online.

Read more

Elise Stefanik eventually voted in as House Republican's new No. 3 leader

Elise Stefanik cruised to victory in a vote to replace Liz Cheney as House Republicans' third-ranked leader, capping off a tumultuous month in the GOP conference sparked by its bitter divisions over Donald Trump. Stefanik won in a 134-46 secret-ballot vote, defeating her sole challenger Rep. Chip Roy of Texas — an unsurprising outcome after she aggressively campaigned for the No. 3 spot, scooping up endorsements from top party leaders and Trump. The 36-year-old New Yorker, known as a moderate turned Trump ally who's used her fundraising skills to help elect a new class of GOP women.

Biden kills Trump’s sculpture garden of ‘American heroes’

President Joe Biden on Friday revoked several of the executive orders issued in his predecessor’s last year in office that were penned to address conservative cultural grievances, including the sculpture garden he proposed on July 4 at an event at Mount Rushmore.

Senate Democrats urge not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo

A group of Senate Democrats are urging Attorney General Merrick Garland not to fight a court order demanding the release of a 2019 Justice Department (DOJ) memo that essentially cleared former President Trump of criminal wrongdoing following the special counsel's investigation.

Marjorie Taylor Greene is ‘deeply unwell’ after 2019 video surfaces

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has said the Republican extremist Marjorie Taylor Greene has a “fixation” on progressive members of Congress, and warned that Greene’s behavior has “raised concerns” among Democrats. Greene, a Trump loyalist and a promoter of the QAnon conspiracy theory, was elected to the House in 2020, and has spent her first months in office harassing Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive Democrats.