“Justice Department asks Congress to weaken social media companies’ liability protection”


The Department of Justice asked Congress on Wednesday to adopt a new law that would hold Facebook, Google and Twitter legally accountable for the way they moderate content on the Web, as the Trump administration ratchets up its attacks on social-media sites as the 2020 election approaches.

The new request from the Justice Department came in the form of a rare, legislative proposal that specifically seeks to whittle down Section 230, a decades-old provision of federal law that spares websites from being held liable for content posted by their users — and immunizes some of their own decisions about what posts, photos and videos to leave up or take down.

“For too long Section 230 has provided a shield for online platforms to operate with impunity,” said Attorney General William P. Barr in a statement. “Ensuring that the internet is a safe, but also vibrant, open and competitive environment is vitally important to America.”

The proposal also seeks to ensure social-media companies moderate their sites and services in a clear and consistent way. For years, President Trump and other top Republicans have attacked tech giants including Facebook, Google and Twitter for censoring conservatives online, something the U.S. government now may have the ability to police if the Justice Department’s proposal were to become law.

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