Joe Biden, a candidate for president, said he wants to repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law that gives internet companies immunity from harmful content posted by their users, according to a report by Bloomberg.
When giving an interview to The New York Times editorial board, Biden shared his view that internet companies should be held responsible for the content on their platforms.
He singled out Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg as examples. Facebook recently ran a false ad claiming that Biden blackmailed Ukrainian officials.
Section 230, Biden said, “should be revoked, immediately.”
Because of the rule, internet companies can take a more hands-off approach to content posted on their sites. If the law is revoked, companies will have to be much more careful about the type of content they allow.
Because of the potential repercussions that a repeal would have on companies, many have lobbied to make sure that Section 230 isn’t repealed. However, its protection has recently been weakened. In 2018, a sex trafficking law passed by Congress caused it to lose some of its protective provisions.
Biden singled out Facebook during his interview: “It is propagating falsehoods they know to be false,” he said. “You guys still have editors. I’m sitting with them. Not a joke. There is no editorial impact at all on Facebook. None. None whatsoever. It’s irresponsible.”
He also shared his view on Zuckerberg: “I’ve never been a fan of Facebook, as you probably know. I’ve never been a big Zuckerberg fan. I think he’s a real problem.”
Biden said the U.S. should look to Europe and its protections when thinking about how to deal with internet companies and freedom of speech. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guarantees certain privacy rights to users and also gives them more leeway to remove negative content.
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