Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California said Sunday that Section 230 protections should be repealed if tech companies do not do more to combat “hate and loathing” on their platforms.
“I’m particularly concerned about the practice some of the large tech companies have of, whenever there is a budding, promising new entrant into the market, they buy them out because they don’t necessarily want to develop that product line themself, but they don’t want the competition,” Schiff told CNN host Jake Tapper on State of the Union. “We should absolutely take aim at that and other anti-competitive actions of Big Tech, and I think we’ve got a big problem right now with social media companies and their failure to moderate content and the explosion of hate on Twitter, the banning of journalists on Twitter.”
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act grants online platforms immunity from civil liability over third-party content posted on their sites. Democrats have routinely criticized tech companies for not moderating content more aggressively, alleging platforms have allowed too much hate speech on their platforms.
Twitter suspended a number of journalists Thursday, alleging they were violating rules against doxxing, with Elon Musk saying the suspensions would last for seven days. The bans came after Twitter suspended an account that tracked Elon Musk’s private jet following an incident where an alleged stalker reportedly blocked a car with Musk’s two-year-old son inside, instituting a new rule as that prohibits sharing “real-time” information about a person’s location.
“I don’t think these companies should enjoy an immunity from liability when they behave this way,” Schiff said. “We can’t tell them what to say or not say, but we gave them immunity. We said, if you’ll be responsible moderators of content, we will give you immunity. They haven’t been. Why should they continue to enjoy that immunity from responsibility and liability?”
Journalists Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss and Michael Shellenberger reported on the extent of how Twitter censored conservatives, including at the behest of the FBI, in a series of releases initially posted on the social media site starting Dec. 2.
Musk said that a “high priority software update” for Twitter would label the reasons for an account’s suspension.