Senator Josh Hawley is reportedly working on a new bill that, if passed, could see social media companies losing their Section 230 liability protections if they 1) fail to support freedom of speech and 2) use data profiling of users to display targeted ads.
Social media sites use online activity and browsing history to display targeted ads and they’re a significant source of revenue for tech giants such as Facebook and Google.
That’s the price users pay for using the services for free.
The bill is likely to be the same one that we mentioned last week, but these added details about personalized ads is a new detail.
According to Politico, a source supposedly familiar with the plan said that the new bill is in the preparation phase. It is the latest of the attempts by legislators to regulate social media companies, which they claim practice online biases.
To get back at these Silicon Valley billion-dollar companies, recent ideas have been to target Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech companies from liability of the content published by users. Last month, President Trump signed an Executive Order calling for federal regulators to redefine Section 230 to cap the broad protections it provides tech companies, but the? order is really shaky and isn’t likely to hold up to any real scrutiny.
Hawley has been publicly criticizing tech companies for some time, claiming they censor opinions, impede competitors, and disregard users’ privacy. Through targeted ads, these companies invade privacy and also provide enough revenue for these companies to quash competitors.
According to Politico’s alleged source, Hawley is discussing the proposal with White House officials, a bipartisan group of senators, and third-party groups. While Hawley is a Republican, it’s worth noting that even Democrats have taken issue with Section 230, their main problem being inadequate policies against “misinformation”.
The attacks on Section 230 from the current administration escalated when Twitter started including fact-check labels on some of Trump’s posts.