Trump administration proposes punishing sites for ‘censoring lawful speech’ or hosting illegal content
The US Department of Justice has submitted a proposal to weaken Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a rule that protects websites and apps from liability for third-party content. The proposal would make it riskier for sites to remove offensive content and would remove sites’ immunity for hosting material related to terrorism, child sex abuse, or cyber-stalking. It would also remove some protections for sites that don’t sufficiently explain their content moderation policies.
The new rules are a concrete application of ideas the Justice Department floated months ago. They cover two orthogonal goals for Section 230 reform: pushing web platforms to more aggressively remove harmful (and sometimes illegal) content like harassment and child sexual abuse material and discouraging them from removing content from conservative and far-right users, including misinformation and hate speech. In a letter to Congress, the Justice Department said