“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.
“But if you remove Section 230 protection, it opens up Pandora’s box. [Facebook and other tech giants]…
For Only $1/Day Members Access:
- 5 exclusive members-only stories a week
- Digital Video industry analysis and deep-dive features
- Daily WrapPRO newsletter covering the latest digital video industry news
- Access to full length Members-Only Video archive
- Video of notable sessions from TheWrap Events (TheGrill, Power Women Summit)
- VIP seating for TheWrap's Screening Series with stars and filmmakers
- Access to 'chill spots' at select industry events Sundance, TIFF, Newfronts and more
- Access to exclusive invite-only events
- DataBank showcasing key stats and streaming video trends in the OTT market
- In-depth entertainment industry research and whitepapers