The US president previously criticised Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which provides legal protection for technology companies over content from third parties and users. According to him, it is a “liability shielding gift” for “Big Tech”, who is attempting to impose censorship on its users.
President Donald Trump has warned he will veto this year’s National Defence Authorisation Act amid a spat over the protection of technology corporations. He called for the legislation to include the termination of Section 230, while the final version presented by lawmakers does not mention it.
Very sadly for our Nation, it looks like Senator @JimInhofe will not be putting the Section 230 termination clause into the Defense Bill. So bad for our National Security and Election Integrity. Last chance to ever get it done. I will VETO!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2020
The tweet follows a statement by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe. The Republican senator told the press that a measure to repeal Section 230 would not be included in the new defence spending bill, noting that he had warned the president about it.
While the NDAA is usually passed with bipartisan support, multiple US legislators previously criticised Section 230, and urged to change it, also slamming social media for their moderation policies. Even Trump’s opponent Joe Biden earlier told the NYT that “Section 230 should be revoked, immediately”.
Per this law, “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”. The legislation, however, became the target of escalating criticism as some lawmakers are accusing the platforms of aggressive censorship, while others stress social media’s responsibility for the disinformation they are spreading.
The CEOs of Facebook and Twitter, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, warned against the elimination of Section 230 during their respective testimonies in the Senate, noting, however, that the bill should be updated.