President Donald Trump criticized the Senate Republicans, whom he called "Get cold feet with the removal of Section 230 of the Communications Act, which protects Internet providers and technology companies from liability for content posted on their platforms. The president called the elimination of the law "a MUST for national security and electoral integrity".
“Everyone has been talking for years, no action. The termination must be included in the Defense Act !!! " he added.
It looks like certain Republican senators are getting cold feet over the ending of Section 230 of Big Tech, a MUST for national security and electoral integrity. Everyone has been talking for years, no action. The termination must be included in the Defense Act !!!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2020
Trump has been railing against Section 230 for the past few days, and lawmakers have signaled that despite the president's threat to use his veto power, he will not make repealing the law part of a law on defense permits. Critics have stated that repeal would allow the president to investigate his political opponents and anyone who spoke out against him.
Several members of Congress have spoken up, suggesting that there is strong bipartisan backlash.
Oh look, there is @realDonaldTrump going again trying to stifle free speech, this time on the internet. Section 230 allowed freedom of speech and expression to flourish on the Internet. And Trump's veto threat is a paper tiger. Congress will just wait for Biden to sign the NDAA. https://t.co/oxeMEu20I1
– Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) December 2, 2020
To be clear, Mr. President, the repeal of Section 230 was not included in the House or Senate versions of the NDAA.
You're mad on Twitter. We all know.
You are ready to veto the defense bill on something that has anything to do with your ego and nothing to do with defense. https://t.co/qsELyzU9O0
– Rep. Adam Smith (@RepAdamSmith) December 2, 2020
I wrote a non-partisan bill to reform Section 230, but the idea that it should be repealed in the Defense Act without a hearing is stupid. You will know who is serious about policymaking in this area, whether you reflexively approve of Trump here or not.
– Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) December 2, 2020
Others, like New York Times reporter Jane Coaston, have drawn attention to the consequences of the repeal.
Removing section 230 ends user content (as in when you are talking on the internet) as we know it, and basically means any entity that contains third-party content would rather not host content than content for which it is liable could be made.
– Jane Coaston (@ cjane87) December 2, 2020
"Trump and other Republicans have long complained that social media platforms unjustifiably censor right-wing views, despite tech companies rejecting it and lacking credible evidence to support claims of technology's systemic bias against conservatives," noted CNN beginning this week.
Alan is a New York-based writer, editor, and news junkie.