President Donald J. Trump tweeted on Thursday that immediate action is needed to terminate a statute “specifically excepts federal criminal liability” known as “Section 230”, which generally provides immunity for website publishers from third-party content.
It is unclear yet if Trump’s tweet has anything to do with the election, or if his concerns is limited to censorship online.
His earlier tweets were:
A look at SECTION 230 according to Cornell University:
47 U.S. Code § 230 – Protection for private blocking and screening of offensive material
(a)FindingsThe Congress finds the following:(1)The rapidly developing array of Internet and other interactive computer services available to individual Americans represent an extraordinary advance in the availability of educational and informational resources to our citizens.(2)These services offer users a great degree of control over the information that they receive, as well as the potential for even greater control in the future as technology develops.(3)The Internet and other interactive computer services offer a forum for a true diversity of political discourse, unique opportunities for cultural development, and myriad avenues for intellectual activity.(4)The Internet and other interactive computer services have flourished, to the benefit of all Americans, with a minimum of government regulation.(5)Increasingly Americans are relying on interactive media for a variety of political, educational, cultural, and entertainment services.(b)PolicyIt is the policy of the United States—(1)to promote the continued development of the Internet and other interactive computer services and other interactive media;(2)to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet and other interactive computer services, unfettered by Federal or State regulation;(3)to encourage the development of technologies which maximize user control over what information is received by individuals, families, and schools who use the Internet and other interactive computer services;(4)to remove disincentives for the development and utilization of blocking and filtering technologies that empower parents to restrict their children’s access to objectionable or inappropriate online material; and(5)to ensure vigorous enforcement of Federal criminal laws to deter and punish trafficking in obscenity, stalking, and harassment by means of computer.(c)Protection for “Good Samaritan” blocking and screening of offensive material(1)Treatment of publisher or speaker
No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.(2)Civil liabilityNo provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of—(A)any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected; or(B)any action taken to enable or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to material described in paragraph (1).(d)Obligations of interactive computer service
A provider of interactive computer service shall, at the time of entering an agreement with a customer for the provision of interactive computer service and in a manner deemed appropriate by the provider, notify such customer that parental control protections (such as computer hardware, software, or filtering services) are commercially available that may assist the customer in limiting access to material that is harmful to minors. Such notice shall identify, or provide the customer with access to information identifying, current providers of such protections.(e)Effect on other laws(1)No effect on criminal law
Nothing in this section shall be construed to impair the enforcement of section 223 or 231 of this title, chapter 71 (relating to obscenity) or 110 (relating to sexual exploitation of children) of title 18, or any other Federal criminal statute.(2)No effect on intellectual property law
Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit or expand any law pertaining to intellectual property.(3)State law
Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent any State from enforcing any State law that is consistent with this section. No cause of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed under any State or local law that is inconsistent with this section.(4)No effect on communications privacy law
Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the application of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 or any of the amendments made by such Act, or any similar State law.(5)No effect on sex trafficking lawNothing in this section (other than subsection (c)(2)(A)) shall be construed to impair or limit—(A)any claim in a civil action brought under section 1595 of title 18, if the conduct underlying the claim constitutes a violation of section 1591 of that title;(B)any charge in a criminal prosecution brought under State law if the conduct underlying the charge would constitute a violation of section 1591 of title 18; or(C)any charge in a criminal prosecution brought under State law if the conduct underlying the charge would constitute a violation of section 2421A of title 18, and promotion or facilitation of prostitution is illegal in the jurisdiction where the defendant’s promotion or facilitation of prostitution was targeted.(f)DefinitionsAs used in this section:(1)Internet
The term “Internet” means the international computer network of both Federal and non-Federal interoperable packet switched data networks.(2)Interactive computer service
The term “interactive computer service” means any information service, system, or access software provider that provides or enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server, including specifically a service or system that provides access to the Internet and such systems operated or services offered by libraries or educational institutions.(3)Information content provider
The term “information content provider” means any person or entity that is responsible, in whole or in part, for the creation or development of information provided through the Internet or any other interactive computer service.(4)Access software providerThe term “access software provider” means a provider of software (including client or server software), or enabling tools that do any one or more of the following:(A)filter, screen, allow, or disallow content;(B)pick, choose, analyze, or digest content; or(C)transmit, receive, display, forward, cache, search, subset, organize, reorganize, or translate content.(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, § 230, as added Pub. L. 104–104, title V, § 509, Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 137; amended Pub. L. 105–277, div. C, title XIV, § 1404(a), Oct. 21, 1998, 112 Stat. 2681–739; Pub. L. 115–164, § 4(a), Apr. 11, 2018, 132 Stat. 1254.)
Some posters believe that Section 230 is interfering with communication about alleged election interference:
Republican Josh Hawley posted that he supports repealing “section 230”:
Other issues on the table at that meeting will be propaganda:
A look on Wikipedia:
“Section 230 immunity is not unlimited. The statute specifically excepts federal criminal liability (§230(e)(1)), electronic privacy violations (§230(e)(4)) and intellectual property claims (§230(e)(2)). There is also no immunity from state laws that are consistent with 230(e)(3) though state criminal laws have been held preempted in cases such as Backpage.com, LLC v. McKenna and Voicenet Commc’ns, Inc. v. Corbett (agreeing “[T]he plain language of the CDA provides … immunity from inconsistent state criminal laws.”).
As of mid-2016, courts have issued conflicting decisions regarding the scope of the intellectual property exclusion set forth in §230(e)(2). For example, in Perfect 10, Inc. v. CCBill, LLC, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the exception for intellectual property law applies only to federal intellectual property claims such as copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and patents, reversing a district court ruling that the exception applies to state-law right of publicity claims. The 9th Circuit’s decision in Perfect 10 conflicts with conclusions from other courts including Doe v. Friendfinder. The Friendfinder court specifically discussed and rejected the lower court’s reading of “intellectual property law” in CCBill and held that the immunity does not reach state right of publicity claims.
Additionally, with the passage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998, service providers must comply with additional requirements for copyright infringement to maintain safe harbor protections from liability, as defined in the DMCA’s Title II, Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act.“
However with all of these laws and regulations, Big Tech is censoring the President of the United States and with media outlets, public officials and attorneys who post about the 2020 elections vote fraud issues.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz had a Senate hearing with the heads of Facebook and Twitter recently to talk about their censorship of posters. Cruz brought up section 230.
We will follow the developments of this story.