Lawmakers on opposite sides of the aisle are seeking to eliminate Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act because it has “outlived its usefulness.” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rogers and Ranking Member Frank Pallone Jr. have launched a bipartisan project legislation introducing their proposed bill that seeks to make the provision ineffective after Dec. 31, 2025. In the commentary, the lawmakers write about The Wall Street Journal, they acknowledged that Section 230 “helped transition the Internet from the era of ‘you have mail’ into today’s global nexus of communication and commerce.” But they said big tech companies are now using the same law to “shield them from any responsibility or accountability as their platforms cause enormous harm to Americans, especially children.”

They added that lawmakers who had previously tried to fix the problems with Section 230 had failed because the tech companies had refused any meaningful cooperation. Their bill would force tech companies to work with government officials for 18 months to create and implement a new legal framework to replace the current version of Section 230. The new law would still allow free speech and innovation, but also will encourage companies “to be good stewards of their platforms.” Rogers and Palone said their bill would give companies a choice between ensuring the Internet is a “safe, healthy place for good” or losing their Section 230 protections altogether.

Section 230 protects online publishers from liability when it comes to content posted by their users. Companies like Meta and Google have repeatedly used it in the past to fend off lawsuits, but it has come under intense scrutiny in recent years. Last year, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill that would amend the section to require major platforms to remove content within four days if deemed illegal by the courts. Another bipartisan group has also proposed the “No-Section 230 AI Immunity Act,” which would seek to hold companies like OpenAI accountable for harmful content, such as deep fake images or audio, created to ruin someone’s reputation.

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