Senate Commerce Vets Sec. 230-Related PACT Act

The Senate Communications Subcommittee has scheduled a hearing on a proposed bill, the Platform Accountability and Consumer Transparency (PACT) Act from Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Subcommittee chairman John Thune (R-S.D.), that is billed as protection transparency, accountability and protections for consumers online.  

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It would do so by creating an enforceable regime for insuring that social media companies and other web sites make it clear their policies for moderating third-party content and can be held accountable by the Federal Trade Commission if they violate those policies. 

It comes as the FCC is preparing for a petition from the National Telecommunications & Information Administration to create a similar regime, as directed by President Trump in his executive order on Sec. 230. That is the law that give edge providers immunity from civil liability over how they moderate most third-party content on their sites. 

The hearing, “The PACT Act and Section 230: The Impact of the Law that Helped Create the Internet and an Examination of Proposed Reforms for Today’s Online World,” is scheduled for Tuesday. July 28. 

The hearing will look at "the important role of Section 230 in promoting and disseminating speech online, and the history, evolution, and expansion of Section 230’s protections for online platforms." 

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Witnesses are Christopher Cox, Counsel, Morgan, Lewis & Bokius LLP and director, NetChoice; Jeff Kosseff, assistant professor, Cyber Science Department, U.S. Naval Academy; Olivier Sylvain, law professor, Fordham University; and Elizabeth Banker, deputy general counsel, Internet Association.

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.