Justin Amash Says Revoking Section 230 Would Have A 'Chilling Effect' On Freedom Of Speech

Tyler MacDonald

Both President Donald Trump and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have voiced support for revoking Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA). In response, Libertarian congressman Justin Amash warned against the ramifications of such a move.

"Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden want to 'revoke' Section 230," Amash tweeted on Friday. "This would have a chilling effect on the freedom of speech. Using the power of the state to silence speech you don't like is un-American."

As reported by National Post, the federal law protects social media companies like Twitter from being held responsible for the content posted by users of their websites. According to Trump, the law allows such companies to evade responsibility for their actions. But as the outlet noted, the law does not require that internet sites be neutral. In addition, the publication noted that only Congress has the power to change Section 230.

Amash believes that repealing Section 230 would be harmful to free speech and also suggested Trump could be affected by this damage.

"Without Section 230, Twitter would likely shut down @realDonaldTrump over liability concerns," he tweeted. "Read the law."

Amash also pushed back on the argument that Twitter is immune from legal action for defamatory content it creates — a narrative that has been promoted by Trump and allies like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

"The fact is that Twitter doesn't create much of its own content. If Donald Trump wants to sue over fact checks that Twitter creates, he's welcome to do so. Section 230 doesn't prohibit it. But he will lose nonetheless because of the First Amendment."

In addition to Amash, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro has expressed skepticism over Trump's push to repeal Section 230. According to Shapiro, such a move would inevitability lead to the takedown of comments sections due to a lack of resources necessary to actively edit every post. Shapiro also expressed concern at Trump's call to redefine unfair business practices and noted the possibility of political bias among possible social media regulators.

Kate Klonick, assistant professor at St. John's Law School, claimed that Trump's recent social media order — which included his call to repeal Section 230 — contained many provisions that will not be enforceable.