Senate Bill Removes Facebook, Twitter of Immunity for Spreading Vaccine ‘Misinformation’ • Protecting Children’s Health

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A provision that protects social media platforms from being sued for content shared by its users has been attacked left and right – but for different reasons.

Section 230, passed as part of 1996 Communication Competency Code, provides legal resistance to internet giants such as Facebook and Twitter for content hosted on their platforms.

Democrats say Section 230 is used to “spread misinformation on the anti-vaccine,” while Republicans argue that the provision conservative censorship perspectives.

Proponents of Section 230 say the law is an important tool to protect free speech.

The most recent target of Section 230 is Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) Who last week introduced a bill intended to curb the spread of so-called incorrect vaccine information.

Agreed to Wall Street Journal, Klobuchar’s Health Misinformation Act of 2021 will take social media giants “from their protections of responsibility if their technologies spread misinformation related to public health emergencies.”

If passed, the law would make it easier for social media giants to sue for publishing information that caused harm to Americans in events considered public health emergencies by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Klobuchar SAYS in a statement:

“In the long run, online platforms have not done enough to protect the health of Americans. They are some of the largest, richest companies in the world and they need to do more to prevent the spread of deadly information. of the vaccine. We have shown the coronavirus epidemic what deadly misinformation can be and it is our responsibility to act. ”

The law does not apply to individual users ’posts, instead it will be used against social media giants who spread algorithms that spread misinformation.

As in The Washington Post reports, Klobuchar was not the first legislator to propose carving a specific category of interior from Section 230.

According to The Washington Post:

“In 2018, Congress passed a bill removing Section 230 protections for companies that are aware of sex trafficking on their sites. Proponents of free speech say it is a dangerous example. for example to be able to snow into the law, which is seen by many as essential to maintaining a free and open Internet, which has been completely deconstructed.

“That hasn’t happened, even though there have been a lot of attempts over the past three years by other politicians. Shortly after passing the sex-trafficking reform, there was a discussion in Congress about making a similar change that related to opioids and other drugs sold on social media sites such as Instagram. “

Both President Biden and former President Donald Trump have pushed for Section 230 reform.

Biden accused Facebook in June of “killing people” by spreading “misinformation” about COVID vaccines. Her comments follow White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s claim that Facebook spread the false account that COVID vaccines cause infertility.

Biden also left out his remarks, saying he didn’t accuse Facebook of killing people, but he wanted the social platform to “do something about misinformation, a lot of information about the vaccine.”

Kennedy: Eliminate anonymity, not protect free speech

Section 230 provides basic protections in the first amendment, but they are not exhaustive, according to Protecting the Health of Children Chairman Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Section 230 states:

“CDA 230 also offers this legal shield of bloggers acting as a mediator by hosting comments on their blogs. Under the law, bloggers are not responsible for comments left by readers, the work of guest bloggers, tips sent via email, or information received via RSS feeds. This legal protection can still be maintained even if a blogger is aware of the bad content or judging the editorial. ”

However, nothing prevents a guest blogger, who is not protected under Section 230, from posting under a false name, which allows the guest blog author to avoid liability. for the content he posted.

For example, Kennedy submitted a petition in June with the Westchester County Supreme Court to order the Daily Kos to reveal the real name of the “Downeast Dem” – a blogger, Kennedy claimed he was insulted on the Daily Kos platform last year.

Under Section 230, Daily Kos has no liability, although guest blogger, “Downeast Dem,” does not.

Kennedy said The Protector that while “the strengthening industry and those Lots of Tech the allies used Section 230 “to attack and insult him, he still considered it a“ practical platform for free speech. “

Kennedy said:

“I’m not going to remove it outright. I think the best fix is ​​to remove the recognition of platforms, so that people have to be responsible for their posts and accountable honorably and financially.

“I think there can be a lot of poisoning and polarization on the internet because the ability of individuals to post the most toxic lies irresponsibly is one of the main reasons that has become a negative force the internet against civil discourse.

Jeff Kosseff, a professor of cybersecurity law at the U.S. Naval Academy, SAY the Washington Post said it was “very unlikely” any major changes to the law would be approved by a court.

Kosseff, who wrote a BOOKS in the history of Section 230, it is said that the First Amendment Protects the right of social media companies to moderate their platforms how they see fit.

“Not all solutions to what goes wrong on the Internet come in Section 230,” Kosseff said. “There are no quick answers.”

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