How Facebook and Twitter’s Content Moderation Could Open a Legal ‘Pandora’s Box’

“It opens them up to liability for information that’s published on their platform,” Matt Bilinsky, a tech and media-focused attorney in Los Angeles, says

In a cold twist, a push by Silicon Valley’s internet giants to curb undesirable speech could potentially undercut their legal immunity.

Legislation introduced last month would revamp Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — the legal shield that safeguards tech stalwarts, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube against being sued for what its users post.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, one of tech’s loudest critics in Washington, D.C., proposed an amendment that essentially would strip these companies of their protection unless their content moderation is deemed “politically neutral.” The consequences of curtailing Section 230 would be dire for Facebook, Twitter and the like.

Hawley did not respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

“It’s a very simple explanation: it opens them up to liability for information that’s published on their platform,” Matt Bilinsky, a tech and media-focused attorney in Los Angeles, told TheWrap.

Today, if a user defames another on Facebook, erroneously claiming that person gave them a venereal disease, for instance, the social network is under no legal threat. As Bilinsky explained, the law differentiates between publishers and platforms.


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