Justice Department defends Section 230 protections in Trump suit
The Justice Department stepped into former President Trump’s lawsuit against Facebook Monday to defend Section 230, an internet communications law criticized by both Trump and his successor.
The department intervened in a lawsuit that Trump brought against the social media giant for suspending his account in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.
Monday’s filing notes that the government is stepping in “for the limited purpose of defending the constitutionality of Section 230c.”
The 1996 law, which protects online platforms from liability for content posted by third parties and allows them to conduct good faith content moderation, was a favored target of Trump during his term.
He argued that the law gives cover for platforms to discriminate against conservatives, an allegation that has yet to be substantiated.
The former president signed an executive order aimed at dismantling the law but the order was revoked early into President Biden’s term before any concrete action was taken.
Biden has not positioned himself as a defender of Section 230 either. He called for it to be “immediately” revoked on the campaign trail and has not publicly changed that position as president.
Trump also sued YouTube and Twitter at the same time as Facebook for pulling down his accounts.
Judges have ordered the cases against YouTube and Twitter be transferred to Northern California, where the companies are based. A motion to move the Facebook suit to the same location remains pending.