JUSTICE DEPT: The Justice Department Unveils Proposed Section 230 Legislation on Behalf of the Administration
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Today, on behalf of the Trump Administration, the Department of Justice sent draft legislation to Congress to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The draft legislative text implements reforms that the Department of Justice deemed necessary in its June Recommendations and follows a yearlong review of the outdated statute. The legislation also executes President Trump’s directive from the Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship.
“For too long Section 230 has provided a shield for online platforms to operate with impunity,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “Ensuring that the internet is a safe, but also vibrant, open and competitive environment is vitally important to America. We therefore urge Congress to make these necessary reforms to Section 230 and begin to hold online platforms accountable both when they unlawfully censor speech and when they knowingly facilitate criminal activity online.”
“The Department’s proposal is an important step in reforming Section 230 to further its original goal: providing liability protection to encourage good behavior online,” said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen. “The proposal makes clear that, when interactive computer services willfully distribute illegal material or moderate content in bad faith, Section 230 should not shield them from the consequences of their actions.”
The Department of Justice is grateful to all the experts, victims’ groups, academics, businesses, and other stakeholders that have and continue to engage closely with the department during this process. The draft legislation reflects important and helpful feedback received thus far. The department is also grateful to our colleagues in Congress for their support on Section 230 reform and looks forward to continued engagement moving forward.
The Department of Justice’s draft legislation focuses on two areas of reform, both of which are, at minimum, necessary to recalibrate the outdated immunity of Section 230.