US to meet Facebook, Google, Twitter to discuss law that exempts liability for content their users post

The US Justice Department will hold a public meeting on 19 February to discuss the future of the federal law.


The US Justice Department said on Thursday it will hold a public meeting on 19 February to discuss the future of a federal law which largely exempts online platforms from legal liability for the material their users post.

The meeting will examine the future of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides immunity to companies such as Facebook , Alphabet’s Google and Twitter for content posted by users, although companies can still be held liable for content that violates criminal or intellectual property law.

The meeting titled 'Section 230 – Nurturing Innovation or Fostering Unaccountability?' will explore the expansive interpretation of the law by courts, it's impact on citizens, businesses and will look at whether improvements to the law should be made, the Justice Department said in a statement.

 US to meet Facebook, Google, Twitter to discuss law that exempts liability for content their users post

Image: Reuters

"Now that the industry has matured, valid questions have been raised regarding the broad scope of Section 230 and whether the immunity is still required in its current form," the statement said.

(Also read: Facebook off the hook, can be allowed to block Sikh groups' page in India: US court)

Lawmakers from both the Republican and Democratic parties have called for Congress to change Section 230 in ways that could expose tech companies to more lawsuits or significantly increase their costs.

Some Republicans have expressed concern that Section 230 prevents them from taking action against internet services that remove conservative political content, while a few Democratic leaders have said the law allows the services to escape punishment for harbouring misinformation and extremist content.

(Also read: US family sues Twitter for promoting Islamic State)

Earlier this week, Representative Jan Schakowsky, the chair of a key US House Committee on consumer protection, said she is exploring legislation around Section 230, focussing on online content posted on elections

 

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