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

Biden's Commerce secretary pick says Section 230 'needs some reform'
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President Biden’s nominee to serve as the secretary of Commerce, Gina RaimondoGina RaimondoRaimondo has won confirmation, but the fight to restrict export technology to China continues The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate Dems face unity test; Tanden nomination falls On The Money: Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief | Relief bill tests narrow Democratic majority | Senate confirms Biden's picks for Commerce, top WH economist 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 JohnsonMarjorie Taylor Greene's delay tactics frustrate GOP Democrats gear up for PR battle on COVID-19 relief Johnson says leaving office after 2022 'probably my preference now' 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.

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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 TrumpBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Albany Times Union editorial board calls for Cuomo's resignation Advocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout 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. 

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“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 PaiHuawei wants appeals court to overturn FCC's national security ban Rep. Rodgers outlines GOP 'Big Tech Accountability Platform' Biden's Commerce secretary pick says Section 230 'needs some reform' MORE said earlier this month he would not move forward with Trump’s order targeting Section 230 due to time constraints.