U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) told reporters during a Zoom conference call Tuesday that she and other senators are working to address online censorship — an issue that she said affects musicians, authors, and Christian entertainers.
“Online censorship is an issue that a lot of Tennesseans are talking about,” Blackburn said.
Blackburn said something that she described as a Section 230 reform bill will address liability protection.
“It will bring some clarity as to who can use these liability protections, when they can be used, how you are going to use them, and where they can be used,” Blackburn said.
“Basically, Section 230 is a sword [for] when you get outside the bounds and [is] a shield for younger companies who are starting out that need some protection in order to correct something that may have been done inappropriately. That legislation is filed, and it’s also now filed in the [U.S.] House, and we look forward to the process of moving it forward.”
Blackburn did not offer more specifics.
As The Tennessee Star reported in May, Section 230 is the section of the law that created the concept of “platform immunity” from liability for the social media companies. An interactive computer service provider, such as Twitter, may engage in “Good Samaritan” blocking of content deemed obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable and still retain its “platform immunity” from civil liability.
But that protection is qualified, and an interactive computer service provider may lose that protection if it fails to act in good faith.
“Our view has long been that the interactive computer service providers, Twitter and Facebook in particular, long ago waived their platform immunity by engaging in editorial actions far outside the parameters established in Section 230,” said commentator George Rasley, writing for The Star.
“However, many conservative commentators seem to regularly overlook the necessity of good faith and the fairly narrow list of content that qualified for ‘Good Samaritan’ editing by the providers to come forth with the ‘it’s a private company we cannot and should not try to do anything about it.’”
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