Bill unveiled to reduce Section 230 protections for social media companies

The new legislation, introduced Friday, could lead to more lawsuits against Facebook, Twitter and Google.

Oscar Gonzalez Former staff reporter
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's company, and all social media companies, could lose some legal immunities. 

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New legislation from Sen. Mark Warner would make changes to Section 230, which shields social media companies from liability for content published by users of their platforms. Loosened legal immunities could expose the companies to more lawsuits over what's posted on their sites. 

Virginia Democrat Warner introduced to the Senate on Friday his Safe Tech Act, otherwise known as the Safeguarding Against Fraud, Exploitation, Threats, Extremism and Consumer Harms Act. The bill would change the protections that social media companies have under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The potential changes include:

  • Holding platforms accountable for ads and other paid content that scams vulnerable consumers.
  • Letting victims seek out legal action when the  platform  is used to cause harm.
  • Upholding civil rights protections.
  • Making sure platforms don't interfere with cyberstalking laws and can be held accountable by victims of targeted harassment and abuse.
  • Giving families a legal option against a platform if it directly contributed to the loss of a loved one.
  • Allowing victims of human rights violations abroad to seek legal action in US courts if a platform enabled activities like the Rohingya genocide

"The SAFE TECH Act reaffirms that vital consumer safeguards and civil rights protections don't end when activity moves online, preventing online providers from continuing to externalize the costs of their scale and mismanagement on the public," Warner said in a release Friday.