Trump administration proposes rolling back protections for big tech

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department proposed on Wednesday that Congress take up laws to curb protections massive tech platforms like Alphabet’s Google and Facebook have had for many years, a senior official stated, following by means of on President Donald Trump’s bid to crack down on tech giants.

FILE PHOTO: Facebook, Google and Twitter logos are seen on this mixture picture from Reuters information. REUTERS/File Photos/File Photo

The objective of the proposal, which is being finalized, is to push tech corporations to deal with legal content material on their platforms comparable to little one exploitation, terrorism or cyber stalking, and enhance transparency for customers when the shops take down lawful materials, the Justice Department official stated, talking on situation of anonymity.

For the proposal to turn into legislation, U.S. lawmakers would want to submit an approve a invoice.

“These reforms are targeted at platforms to make certain they are appropriately addressing illegal and exploitive content while continuing to preserve a vibrant, open and competitive internet,” Attorney General William Barr stated in a press release.

The president, who has battled Twitter and different tech corporations over alleged censorship of conservative voices on social media platforms, stated in late May he would suggest laws to probably scrap or weaken the legislation shielding web corporations, in a rare try to manage shops the place he has been criticized.

Trump stated he sought to “remove or change” Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which usually exempts platforms from accountability for what their customers put up and permits them to average the content material of their websites as they need.

The Justice Department proposal would search to push platforms to “address” illicit content material on-line, comparable to materials that violates federal legal legislation, the division stated. It would additionally search to require the businesses to be upfront about content material moderation choices and forestall the large on-line platforms from invoking Section 230 in antitrust instances.

Facebook coverage chief Nick Clegg informed reporters that Section 230 permits the corporate to take away hate speech and that massive modifications would, “in the end, mean less speech of all kinds appearing online.”

The White House, for its half, welcomed information of the Justice Department proposal. “The president expressly called on DOJ to develop such model legislation in the Executive Order signed recently, and yes, President Trump is pleased to see the department following through,” stated White House spokesman Judd Deere.

Trump has attacked Twitter for tagging his tweets about unsubstantiated claims of fraud about mail-in voting with a warning prompting readers to fact-check the posts.

Google and Twitter didn’t remark.

Carl Szabo, common counsel of NetChoice, a commerce affiliation which counts Google and Facebook amongst its members, stated the proposal would create so many obstacles to eradicating content material that the U.S. House of Representatives wouldn’t take into account it.

Also on Wednesday, Senator Josh Hawley joined with three different Republicans to introduce a invoice that might permit individuals to sue tech corporations in the event that they really feel that their speech was censored.

In a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Hawley referenced a dispute with the conservative web site The Federalist, saying that Google’s risk to demonetize the positioning due to feedback made about Black Lives Matter protests was “profoundly disingenuous.” Hawley stated Google sought to carry The Federalist answerable for its readers’ feedback although Google’s YouTube isn’t held answerable for feedback due to Section 230.

“In short, Google demands minimum oversight for itself, but maximum power over those who use its platform,” Hawley wrote.

Reporting by Diane Bartz and Alexandra Alper; Additional reporting by Katie Paul; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Andrea Ricci and Leslie Adler


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