Thursday, April 11, 2019

Senate Judiciary Committee (Ted Cruz) hints at changes to Section 230 if tech platforms won't remain "neutral"

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a three hour hearing on Internet platform content moderation and the widespread belief that the Big Tech companies are biased against conservatives. This follows a hearing in the House on harmful content on April 9 (yesterday's post, including a story about the sudden suspension and then restoration of Hunter Avallone). 

Ted Cruz opened with a statement and mentioned Section 230 (at about 3:00).  He suggested Big Tech enjoys a downstream liability protection that normal media does not, after it bargained with Congress to remained neutral.  He also suggested anti-trust action (and idea discussed by YouTuberLaw)  and possibly “principles of fraud”.

Ms. Hirono, however, talked about the prevalence of alt-right speech on social media, as amplified by social media algorithms.  She is concerned that most Americans get their news from social media and not traditional papers.

Ted Cruz later asked both Facebook and Twitter if they considered themselves “neutral public platforms”. 

Barbara Ortutay and Rachel Lerman of the AP report in the Washington Post that Facebook is “de-agothiming” content that is near the edge but not over it, and the same with Instagram, which won’t show edgy content to non-followers, story. 

Update: April 12

Elliot Harmon and India McKinney discuss a similar hearing in the House and talks about Ted Cruz's views of Section 230 here, April 9. 

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