Arlington, VA – Today, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) announced he would revisit Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a key liability protection that ensures free expression online and allowed America to become the world leader in online services. This is a message that has been echoed by politicians on both sides of the aisle including Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Section 230 provides protection against legal claims arising from hosting information written by third parties. In other words: the user, not the platform, is legally responsible for content posted online.
Americans for Prosperity Senior Tech Policy Analyst Billy Easley issued the following statement:
“Chairman Pallone needs to seriously consider the consequences of dismantling one of the Internet’s most fundamental protection before his actions have virtually irreversible consequences. Further eroding Section 230 would only increase the likelihood of government censorship of free expression on the Internet. Section 230 is a key reason why America has been home to the world’s most innovative companies that create unprecedented opportunities. It helped our economy grow and created a platform where any American, from any walk of life, could sell their services and products online or connect with the world. It is estimated that the United States would put at risk more than 400,000 jobs if Section 230’s free speech protections were weakened. Lawmakers must not destroy the principle that allowed the Internet to become what it is today.”
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is a core free speech protection that provides appropriately limited liability to online intermediaries. Congress stated in Section 230 that “the Internet and other interactive computer services offer a forum for a true diversity of political discourse, unique opportunities for cultural development, and myriad avenues for intellectual activity,” and adopted Section 230 to preserve that diversity. Internet businesses are required to comply with all federal laws, like any other business, but the Congress recognized that users should be held accountable for their actions online, not the tools they use.