|Weekly News Digest
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'Proposed Sec. 230 Rewrite Could Have Wide-Ranging Consequences' by Kate Cox
Kate Cox writes the following for Ars Technica:
A trio of Democratic Senators has taken this administration’s first stab at Section 230 reform with a new bill that would make platforms, including giants such as Facebook and Twitter, liable for certain limited categories of dangerous content. Unfortunately, although the bill’s authors try to thread a tricky needle carefully, critics warn that bad-faith actors could nonetheless easily weaponize the bill as written against both platforms and other users.
The bill (PDF), dubbed the SAFE TECH Act, seeks not to repeal Section 230 (as some Republicans have proposed) but instead to amend it with new definitions of speakers and new exceptions from the law’s infamous liability shield. …
Users would be able to file lawsuits for injunctive relief (i.e., a court order requiring someone to stop doing something) for unmoderated material that ‘is likely to cause irreparable harm.’ Basically, if someone is harassing you on Twitter, and every report to Twitter about the offending tweets is returned with a version of ‘this doesn’t violate our guidelines,’ you could in theory go to court to demand Twitter take the harassing posts down.
SAFE TECH also adds a litany of new exceptions to the section of the law that governs how it interacts with other laws, adding civil rights laws; antitrust laws; stalking, harassment, or intimidation laws; international human rights law; and wrongful death actions to the list of laws on which Sec. 230 has no effect. …
Several legal experts and lawmakers have warned that the changes in this draft bill could, if enacted, have wide-ranging and unintended consequences.
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