WASHINGTON – The Heritage Foundation today released a set of proposals to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA).
In recent months, tech and social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, and others have rightly come under increased scrutiny for a number of actions that have generated reasonable and understandable accusations of bias and censorship, and raised questions about whether these companies are benefitting from an overly generous interpretation and implementation of Section 230.
Some have proposed either abolishing Section 230 altogether, while others have suggested the statute is in need of no reform at all. However, this new report from Heritage, authored by Center for Technology Policy Director Klon Kitchen, offers a way forward that addresses the legitimate concerns of both sides while simultaneously proposing real reforms to a law written in 1996 governing the management of content on the Internet.
Kitchen released the following statement about the report:
“Tech and social media companies play an increasingly important role in our society, but with that growing role come certain responsibilities and obligations to the American people. Today, they find themselves in a mess largely of their own making – a mess that requires thoughtful policy solutions to clean up. This report offers a conservative way forward that protects free-market principles, while also enhancing speech protections that are necessary for a robust, truly functional Internet. We hope our policymakers will take them to heart, and take action.”
Recent polling shows that more than 40% of Americans believe technology companies support liberals over conservatives, and 72% think it is likely that “social media platforms actively censor political views that those companies find objectionable.” More than 80% of those on the political “right” believe such bias is real, and 62% of those on the political “left” share this concern. The need for Section 230 reform is a legitimate one because tech platforms have failed to fairly and impartially apply their own rules and standards.