😷 The latest reason for redoing Section 230

The road to reforming Section 230 has been strewn with potholes and detours, but, of all things, COVID may provide an impetus for making changes to this very important internet law. 

  • Vaccinations are not proceeding at an adequate rate: About half of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated, far below the benchmark needed for herd immunity, and one key reason is internet misinformation. Lies about the vaccines are spreading like wildfire, especially on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. 

  • So Sen. Amy Klobuchar filed a bill that would hold those companies responsible: According to Recode, they would be vulnerable to lawsuits for letting users post and spread misinformation. Section 230 has largely granted internet companies immunity from lawsuits related to content posted by users since its introduction in the 1990s.

But the bill is narrow, and misinformation is more complicated than you might think 

Outside of punishment for allowing misinformation to spread about “an existing public health emergency,” Section 230 would remain intact. 

  • There’s also the question of gauging whether tech companies are at fault. A judge would have to decide whether an algorithm led to the misinformation spreading, not to mention define what constitutes misinformation. 

The Verdict

Although the bill is a long shot to pass, it may serve notice to Twitter and Facebook to moderate their content just a little tighter.