Read the full article by Gene Zorkin at YNOT.com

 

Back before the COVID-19 pandemic began (understandably) dominating the headlines, the chief development out of Washington, D.C. that I’d been keeping an eye on was the growing momentum among members of Congress to amend or even repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

While it wasn’t the first time I’d heard a member of Congress sound the alarm about the possibility of Section 230 being overhauled, I didn’t truly take the notion seriously until in the summer of 2018. That’s when Sen. Ron Wyden, one of the chief Congressional architects of the safe harbor provision, penned an article for TechCrunch in which he warned that “failure by the companies to properly understand the premise of the law is the beginning of the end of the protections it provides.”

“I say this because their failures are making it increasingly difficult for me to protect Section 230 in Congress,” Wyden continued. “Members across the spectrum, including far-right House and Senate leaders, are agitating for government regulation of internet platforms. Even if government doesn’t take the dangerous step of regulating speech, just eliminating the 230 protections is enough to have a dramatic, chilling effect on expression across the internet.”

In the months since Wyden published that article, Section 230 has been on the lips of both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi remarked to the Recode Decode podcast that “230 is a gift to (providers of interactive computer services) and I don’t think they are treating it with the respect that they should.”