Content Moderation

07/22/2021

Sen. Klobuchar’s Misinformation Bill Conflicts With The First Amendment

Carl Szabo
Carl Szabo Vice President and General Counsel

On and off the internet, Americans have a First Amendment right to share their news and views. The First Amendment also protects websites, who have their own right to free speech and to moderate awful but lawful speech. By giving social media sites protections from frivolous lawsuits because of user-created content, Section 230 has further empowered the development of sophisticated content moderation systems that balance free speech and online safety.

Therefore, today, NetChoice opposed Senators Klobuchar and Lujan’s Health Misinformation Act of 2021 — a bill designed to gut Section 230 and circumvent our Constitution.

“Sen. Klobuchar’s bill crosses the line by using government power to dictate what legal speech social media can allow on their sites,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel for NetChoice. “Like Gov. DeSantis’ law in Florida, Sen. Klobuchar’s bill is unconstitutional because it gives the government control over how private media entities treat legal speech.”

“It is the First Amendment, not Section 230, that allows all private individuals and businesses to choose what information they host or remove. Compelling any organization or individual to do otherwise undermines our constitutional rights and brings us closer to a state-run internet,” continued Szabo. “Amending Section 230 will not make our online environments safer but will make content moderation riskier for social media sites, meaning they will be less likely to make good faith efforts to remove harmful but lawful content.”

“Section 230 enables businesses to develop content moderation systems that evolve and grow to counter growing issues, just like today’s health misinformation. Since the start of the pandemic, over 18 million pieces of misinformation were removed by Facebook alone, showing misinformation is being fought better and better with each passing day.”

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