President Donald Trump announced in a tweet on Tuesday, Dec. 1, that he would veto the National Defense Authorization Act if it does not include the end to Section 23 (S230), which provides a legal shield for internet companies.
This provision protects platforms like Facebook and Twitter from being held responsible for the content published by their users or third parties. Both President Trump and Republicans have claimed that social networking companies use the law to censor conservatives, according to The Hill.
“Section 230, which is a liability shielding gift from the U.S. to “Big Tech” (the only companies in America that have it—corporate welfare!), is a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity. Our Country can never be safe & secure if we allow it to stand,” President Trump wrote on his Twitter account.
“Therefore, if the very dangerous & unfair Section 230 is not completely terminated as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO the Bill when sent to the very beautiful Resolute desk. Take back America NOW. Thank you!,” the president added in the tweet.
President Trump has insisted on imposing a veto on large technology companies because of their proactive role in censoring conservative opinion and more evidently doing so on his personal count for the presidential race so far.
On Sept. 23, the Justice Department sent a bill to Congress on behalf of the Trump administration to introduce an amendment to S230 of the Communications Decency Act.
“Ensuring that the internet is a safe, but also vibrant, open, and competitive environment is vitally important to America. We therefore urge Congress to make these necessary reforms to Section 230 and begin to hold online platforms accountable both when they unlawfully censor speech and when they knowingly facilitate criminal activity online,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement.
“In October, he [the president] signed an executive order directing executive branch agencies to ask independent rule-making agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission and the Commerce Commission, to consider new sanctions against the technology giants,” according to USA Today.
According to The Hill, last November the president suggested to House Democrats that he might abandon his opposition to the provision if the NDAA included a repeal of S230.