Silicon Valley has steamed ahead with almost zero government oversight, leading to billions of dollars of revenue and free rein for tech giants. But now, after years of Committee’s calling leaders to testify before Congress, two bipartisan bills are gaining speed in the Senate.
Background: In 1996, Congress passed the Communications Decency Act. Section 230 of this law allows for the protection of online companies from law-suits over third-party content. This section of the law is credited for the rapid rise of companies like Facebook and Twitter who have come under sharp criticism over many of their actions in the past years. This issue is particularly concerning to Republicans, who are often censored on Twitter and Facebook for various reasons. President Trump has also been vocal in his distrust of Silicon Valley tech sites, and their political agenda which targets users with a differing point of view.
What happens next: Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham has authored a bill that will alter the Section 230, and change the outcome for tech companies permanently. Because of its bipartisan support, including six Democratic co-sponsors, his bill is expected to pass through the committee this week.
Why this matters: The bills in their original forms will be marked up, debated on, and change greatly before they pass on the Senate floor. They will then head to the House, where more changes will be added. While it is unclear just how tech companies will be regulated, their unlimited freedom days are coming to an end. This will be the first time meaningful legislation gains speed in the upper-Chamber against these billion dollar businesses, who are armed with lawyers and lobbyists throughout the DC area.
Silicon Valley has clearly voiced their concern over the legislation. The industry group, NetChoice, who represents Facebook, Twitter, and Alphabet, is already arguing this goes against the companies Fourth Amendment. If these bill pass both chambers, it is expected these powerful tech giants will not go down without a fight.
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