Facebook's Zuckerberg proposes conditional Section 230 reforms

Facebook's Zuckerberg proposes conditional Section 230 reforms
© Greg Nash

Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergBudowsky: How Biden can defeat COVID-19 for good White House looks to cool battle with Facebook Facebook to dole out billion to creators into 2022 MORE is set to propose a reform to legal liability protections for tech firms during congressional testimony on Thursday.

In prepared remarks released Wednesday, Zuckerberg argues that the immunity granted by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act for third-party posts should be conditioned on platforms adhering to best practices for removing unlawful content.

“Instead of being granted immunity, platforms should be required to demonstrate that they have systems in place for identifying unlawful content and removing it,” he is set to tell the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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Facebook has recently positioned itself as being open and encouraging of government regulation, and Zuckerberg has previously said he would support some changes to the bedrock internet law.

Bipartisan momentum to change or just scrap Section 230 has been building over the past year, with several proposals already having been reintroduced or in the works for this session of Congress.

"Mark Zuckerberg knows that rolling back Section 230 will cement Facebook's position as the dominant social media company and make it vastly harder for new startups to challenge his cash cow," said Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Jan. 6 probe, infrastructure to dominate week Democrats brace for slog on Biden's spending plan MORE (R-Ore.), who wrote Section 230, in a statement. "Everyone working to address real issues online should be deeply wary about Mark Zuckerberg's proposals for new regulations."

Zuckerberg will testify remotely on Thursday along with Google’s Sundar Pichai and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.

Pichai’s testimony appears to hew to a more cautious approach to Section 230, warning that repealing it could hamper efforts to address misinformation.

“Regulation has an important role to play in ensuring that we protect what is great about the open web, while addressing harm and improving accountability,” he is set to say.

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“We are, however, concerned that many recent proposals to change Section 230—including calls to repeal it altogether—would not serve that objective well," he will continue.

Dorsey’s prepared remarks focus less on legislative fixes and more on the content and policy decisions that Twitter has made recently to rein in misinformation.

-Updated 1:24 p.m.