GOP Bills Carve Up Section 230

Capitol Hill
(Image credit: Architect of the Capitol)

A new package of House Republican-backed Big Tech-targeted reform bills would carve up Section 230 by carving out a bunch of actors and actions from the section's protection of social media sites from civil liability for the content they host.

The Sec. 230-targeted legislation was just part of a massive drop of draft bills by House Republicans, though for any to make it to law they would need buy-in by some of the Democrats who control that chamber.

The bills include ones that would deny Sec. 230 protections from those who "censor "constitutionally protected speech" and from so-called "bad Samaritans," defined as those who "knowingly promote, solicit, or facilitate illegal activity."

Also Read: Big Tech Sues Florida Over Sec. 230 Law

Also being carved out of those protections would be 1) companies with "direct or indirect ties to the Chinese Communist Party"; 2) companies "who take action based on a user’s racial, sexual, political affiliation, or ethnic grounds"; 3) cyberbully posts; 4) "doxxing" (malicious exposure of private information); 5) terrorist content; 6) content that exploits children; 7) content about counterfeit products; 8) the illegal sale of drugs as well as the sale of illegal drugs; 9) product liability claims if a site has possession or control of a product.

Also Read: Facebook on Sec. 230: Regulate Us, Please

In addition to the bills removing Sec. 230 protections from all of the above, there are also companion bills requiring companies to apply reasonable content moderation practices to address all of the above.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.