Donald Trump

Trump Takes Another Shot at Section 230, Once Again Threatening to Veto Defense Bill

President Donald Trump has once again threatened to veto a national defense bill if it doesn’t include legislation to terminate Section 230 of the Communications Act, which protects internet providers and tech companies from liability for content posted on their platforms. 

“I will Veto the Defense Bill, which will make China very unhappy. They love it,” the president wrote. “Must have Section 230 termination, protect our National Monuments and allow for removal of military from far away, and very unappreciative, lands. Thank you!”

What the president doesn’t mention is that the defense bill passed with a veto-proof majority in Congress. Advisors have urged Trump not to veto the bill because he has little to gain from the action, especially with his term ending in little more than a month. They have also advised against vetoing the bill because “it could,” as Reuters reported, “hurt Republicans’ ability to hang on to two U.S. Senate seats from Georgia, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Trump has called eliminating Section 230  “a National Security and Election Integrity MUST.”

Critics have noted that repealing it would allow the president to go after his political opponents and anyone who has spoken out against him.

Eliminating Section 230 would also change communication on the internet as we know it, according to free speech advocates. Without Section 230, tech companies would have to police the information on their platforms or abandon user-generated content altogether. Section 230’s “Good Samaritan” protections allow the removal of obscene or offensive speech, which, as the Brookings Institution observes, “provides the primary legal basis for today’s content-moderation regimes.”

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