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Legal Shield for Websites Rattles Under Onslaught of Hate Speech

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Credit: Media Law Monitor

Amid proliferating online hate speech, U.S. lawmakers are debating Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects websites from liability for user-generated content. Section 230 also permits Internet companies to police their content, without instilling legal responsibility for all of that content.

Supporters of Section 230 claim that revising or repealing the statute would hobble online discussion, and the law has helped Internet companies profit, by posting ads next to largely free content from online visitors. Criticisms of Section 230 differ, with Democrats saying the law's legal shield gives sites no incentive to remove problematic material or address online harassment. Republicans, meanwhile, say Internet firms' bias against conservative voices is a breach of the law's intent to enable diverse political discourse.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) has proposed legislation to strip Section 230's immunity for tech companies, unless they submit to audits to validate the neutrality of their content moderation.

From The New York Times
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