Justice Department Plans To End Free Speech Legal Loophole For Tech Giants

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The Department of Justice announced that it was looking into measures to end the legal immunity clauses that have protected tech giants such as Google and Facebook from being targets of lawsuits relating to the content posted onto their websites.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the proposed changes will likely be announced on Wednesday and will aim to ensure that online platforms address “illicit and harmful conduct” on their websites.

In addition, the regulations will reportedly work to ensure that the companies will institute fair and consistent policies when it comes to taking down content that goes against community guidelines.

One of the main focuses on the new measures will be Section 230, which currently protects online platforms from content posted to their comments sections.

Section 230 states that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider,” meaning many internet companies have been privileged with legal immunity for years, per Fox News.

A potential law rolling back such protections and holding tech giants accountable is one of the few that has found bipartisan support.

Democrats have argued that Section 230 has helped spread disinformation across social media. Conservatives, meanwhile, have claimed that it has allowed the liberal tech giants to blacklist and de-platform Republican viewpoints.

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The move comes after many Silicon Valley giants have come under fire from President Donald Trump, who has accused the firms of having an anti-conservative bias.

In fact, the president even signed an executive order eliminating Section 230 in May, though its legality is currently being determined in court.

“Section 230 was not intended to allow a handful of companies to grow into titans controlling vital avenues for our national discourse… and then to provide those behemoths blanket immunity when they use their power to censor content and silence viewpoints that they dislike,” the executive order stated.

Meanwhile, tech companies have attempted to fight back against the measures. Last month, Twitter claimed that ending legal immunity for the company would “threaten the future of online speech and Internet freedoms.”

Facebook echoed similar sentiments, warning that such measures would have the adverse effect and restrict free speech “by exposing companies to potential liability for everything that billions of people around the world say.”

Meanwhile, another tech giant facing heat is Amazon. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, CEO Jeff Bezos has finally agreed to make an appearance on Capitol Hill, making it the first time the billionaire will be interviewed in-person by lawmakers.