Critics have said that Section 230 made sense when Big Tech wasn't also acting as Big Thought Police. Some left-wingers have criticized Republican politicians seeking to amend Section 230, claiming that because the Act encourages some degree of content moderation, Big Tech is not violating the law.
The problem is that Big Tech is abusing their right to moderate content to such a degree that anyone who contradicts their left-wing agenda is labeled "hateful," and they or their content end up getting removed, suspended or banned. This abuse of power is more than enough reason to call for changes to Section 230.
Rep. Gohmert recently issued the following statement, regarding his introduction of H.R. 7363:
“Social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google are now among the largest and most powerful companies in the world. More and more people are turning to a social media platform for news than ever before, arguably making these companies more powerful than traditional media outlets. Yet, social media companies enjoy special legal protections under Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934, protections not shared by other media. Instead of acting like the neutral platforms they claim to be in order obtain their immunity, these companies have turned Section 230 into a license to potentially defraud and defame with impunity.”
Gohmert went on to note that leaders of the tech industry have repeatedly claimed that they do not target and censor conservatives or other political "dissidents," while continuing their not-so-secret efforts at suppressing conservative points of view.
"But for all their reassurances, the disturbing trend continues unabated. Employees from some of these companies have communicated their disgust for conservatives and discussed ways to use social media platforms and algorithms to silence and prevent income to conservatives," the politician stated.
H.R. 7363 would amend Section 230, such that social media platform owners or operators who "hinder the display of user-generated content" can be held liable for the content their users produce.
In other words, Big Tech can't have it both ways: The industry must either be willing to uphold the right to free speech for ALL their users, or Big Tech must take responsibility for what is said on their platforms.
This bill will need all the support it can get. You can use this link to find out how to contact your local representative and encourage their support of H.R. 7363. You can also use this link to contact your senator. It's never too early to start showing your support for a cause you believe in.
When Marsha Blackburn, R-TN, announced her campaign over Twitter, her ads were pulled because she mentioned Planned Parenthood. Facebook has also come under fire for blocking pro-life content, while simultaneously allowing Planned Parenthood to publish clearly partisan material on their platform. Pro-life content is not any more offensive to liberals than pro-choice content is to conservatives -- and yet, only one of these viewpoints is being censored.
This is where the abuse of Section 230 kicks in: Under this portion of the CDA, Facebook and their ilk claim they are simply being "Good Samaritans" by removing offensive content from their sites. Taking down pornography is removing offensive content -- not blocking valid political opinions that just happen to contradict your own.
As Gohmert contended in his statement, "Since there still appears to be no sincere effort to stop this disconcerting behavior, it is time for social media companies to be liable for any biased and unethical impropriety of their employees as any other media company. If these companies want to continue to act like a biased medium and publish their own agendas to the detriment of others, they need to be held accountable.”
Many experts have called for a change to Section 230 as the best means of fighting censorship and restoring free speech on the internet. While the left-leaning tech industry is sure to balk, it's clear that they've gotten too big for their britches. No industry, nor agency, should have the power to control the speech of the people, privately owned or not. Social media networks ultimately operate as public platforms, and they should be compelled to uphold that responsibility.
See more coverage of the war against freedom at Censored.news.
Sources for this article include: