Hillary Clinton argues tech companies should be stripped of legal immunity

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton argued Thursday that major tech companies should no longer receive widespread legal immunity for content posted on their websites under Section 230. 

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act broadly protects social media platforms from being sued over the material people post to their sites. However, Clinton said these expansive protections no longer make sense.

“They were granted this impunity for a very good reason back in the late ’90s, which is [when] we didn’t know what was going to happen,” Clinton said, adding, “Nobody knew anything because nobody had a real sense of what was happening.” 

“Well, now we do, and shame on us that we are still sitting around talking about it,” she continued. “Section 230 has to go. We need a different system under which tech companies — and we’re mostly talking obviously about the social media platforms — operate.”

Instead, Clinton suggested the U.S. should “come up with the right form of liability” for tech companies.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have previously expressed interest in rolling back protections granted under Section 230.

Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) teamed up last May to advance legislation through the Senate Judiciary Committee that would expose tech companies to legal liability for child pornography posted on their sites.  

However, the Strengthening Transparency and Obligation to Protect Children Suffering from Abuse and Mistreatment Act has sat in limbo for months.

Hawley attempted to move the legislation to the Senate floor in early February by asking for unanimous consent to consider and approve the measure, but the push was blocked by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who argued it would weaken the encryption safeguards of popular websites and apps.

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