Current Affairs
Daily Bits

Why are Democrats and Republicans opposed to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act?

  • Posted By
    10Pointer
  • Categories
    World Affairs
  • Published
    25th Jan, 2021

Context

  • In 2019, Mr. Trump claimed that big tech was planning to rig the 2020 elections. In May 2020, he signed an executive orderasking the Federal Communications Commission to propose regulations on the applicability of the law and review federal advertising spend on online platforms.

What is Section 230 of CDA?

  • In the U.S., Section 230of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) regulates online publication and liability.
  • The law grants Internet platforms immunity for almost all content posted on them.
  • The law was passed in the aftermath of two court cases against Internet service providers, and different courts had ruled differently on the extent of liability for content hosting, and the extent of this liability itself.

Where do Republicans and Democrats stand on the law?

  • Republicans oppose Section 230 because for long, they have accused social media giants of silencing or stifling conservative voices.
  • Democrats oppose it because they want greater policing of the Internet to tackle extremism, abuse and misinformation.
  • Following the attack on the Capitolon January 6, Facebook suspended Mr. Trump’s account indefinitely. Twitter also did the same, on grounds of ‘risk of further incitement of violence’. It also suspended more than 70,000 accounts related to QAnon, a right-wing conspiracy theory group.
  • Throughout the election, Twitter had labelled as ‘misleading’ numerous tweetsin which Mr. Trump called the election fraudulent.

How has the industry reacted to the opposition?

  • In general, the tech industry has said any changes to the law must consider the impact on First Amendment rights(free speech), business and innovation.
  • In June 2019, the Internet Association, whose members include Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc., came out in support of Section 230. Repealing the law would lead to increased censoring of online content.