Biden's Commerce secretary pick says Section 230 'needs some reform'

Biden's Commerce secretary pick says Section 230 'needs some reform'
© Getty

President Biden’s nominee to serve as the secretary of Commerce, Gina RaimondoGina RaimondoRepublican lawmakers raise security, privacy concerns over Huawei cloud services Solar companies warn tariffs on imported panels would be devastating The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden increases vaccine requirement for federal workers MORE, said Tuesday a controversial law that provides tech companies a legal liability shield from third-party content posted on their platforms needs to be reformed.

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Liberal group launches campaign urging Republicans to support Biden's agenda Domestic extremists return to the Capitol MORE (R-Wis.), a fierce proponent of reforming Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, asked Raimondo about reforming the landmark law during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee.

“I would agree that we need some reform in Section 230 and I would look forward to working with you on that,” said Raimondo, who is currently the Democratic governor of Rhode Island.


Raimondo said if confirmed she would use the resources at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency within the Commerce Department, to convene stakeholders and discuss with members of Congress potential reforms to Section 230.

Biden said during his presidential campaign that Section 230 should be revoked, but he has largely not detailed plans moving forward regarding tech regulation.

Biden’s reasoning behind revoking Section 230 differs from his predecessor. 

Whereas former President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE and Republicans accused the law of being used to censor conservative content online, Biden and Democrats have said tech companies are not doing enough to combat the spread of hate speech and misinformation on their platforms. The concerns have mounted since the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6 following reports that social media platforms were used to help organize and amplify rioters' demands.

Raimondo voiced similar concerns during her confirmation hearing, noting that she has seen the impact of misinformation narratives in Rhode Island. 


“I think platform accountability is important. I've seen in my own state that misinformation hurts people — misinformation posted anonymously or otherwise can hurt people,” Raimondo said. “So we have to hold these companies accountable, we need platform accountability, but of course that reform would have to be balanced with the fact that these businesses rely upon user-generated content for their innovation and created many thousands of jobs.” 

Trump had sought to repeal Section 230 through an executive order calling for the NTIA to submit a request to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the law to be reconsidered. His executive order was issued shortly after Twitter fact-checked some of his posts about mail-in voting. Twitter has since permanently banned Trump from their platform.

Former FCC Chairman Ajit PaiAjit PaiLobbying world Biden revokes Trump-era order targeting shield for website operators Top Democrat: FCC actions are a 'potential setback' to autonomous vehicles MORE said earlier this month he would not move forward with Trump’s order targeting Section 230 due to time constraints.