FCC chairman plans rule to curb legal protections enjoyed by social media platforms

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Amid lockdowns of social media accounts imposed by Facebook and Twitter, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai plans to move forward with an FCC rule that could remove a yearslong legal immunity Big Tech companies have enjoyed.

A provision in federal law enacted early in 1996 at the beginning of the internet era, known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, provides legal protection for “interactive computer services,” such as Facebook and Twitter, to host content on their platforms that is violent, harassing, “or otherwise objectionable.”

Big Tech companies, unlike traditional media, are known as platforms as opposed to publishers that are not protected by Section 230 and can be held liable for their content.

However, with this legal protection, the social media giants came under scrutiny for censoring conservative political content on their platforms, leading lawmakers such as Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley to question if Facebook and Twitter were acting more like publishers than platforms for all types of ideas for their users.

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