Limiting Section 230 Immunity for Big Tech Would Expose Social Media Platforms to a Wave of New Lawsuits, Says ITIF; Lawful Speech Shouldn’t Be Restricted

June 17, 2020

WASHINGTON— In response to today’s announcement that Senators Josh Hawley (R-MO), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Braun (R-IN), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) introduced the “Limiting Section 230 Immunity to Good Samaritans Act,” which proposes prohibiting large technology companies from receiving Section 230 immunity unless they operate in “good faith,” ITIF Vice President Daniel Castro issued the following statement:

Social media companies provide an important platform for users of many different political orientations to share ideas, and content moderation is necessary to limit the spread of misinformation, hate speech, and other objectionable material. 

Unfortunately, this legislation would expose popular social media services to a wave of new lawsuits that would undercut their ability and willingness to effectively moderate their platforms. 

While this legislation is unlikely to gain broad support, it represents yet another attempt to intimidate companies from enforcing fair and reasonable online content moderation practices by threatening to poke holes in the intermediary liability protections that have formed the legal foundation of the Internet economy. 

There is room for debate on reforms, but these reforms should be focused on reducing unlawful activities, not restricting lawful speech. 

For more analysis on Section 230, see: