Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants Congress to make legal liability protections for tech platforms conditional upon the platforms’ ability to censor unlawful information online.
As lawmakers prepare to grill Mr. Zuckerberg at a House hearing on Thursday, he is calling for specific changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects companies such as Facebook from legal liability for content posted by their users.
“We believe Congress should consider making platforms’ intermediary liability protection for certain types of unlawful content conditional on companies’ ability to meet best practices to combat the spread of this content,” said Mr. Zuckerberg, in testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee posted on the committee’s website.
“Instead of being granted immunity, platforms should be required to demonstrate that they have systems in place for identifying unlawful content and removing it. Platforms should not be held liable if a particular piece of content evades its detection — that would be impractical for platforms with billions of posts per day — but they should be required to have adequate systems in place to address unlawful content,” his prepared remarks said.
Mr. Zuckerberg previously announced support for an “update” of Section 230 ahead of an October 2020 hearing in the Senate, but he made more definite recommendations to lawmakers in his testimony for Thursday’s hearing.
Section 230 applies to the entire internet, and changes to the law will likely yield new litigation. Facebook recorded more than $84 billion in revenue in 2020 and is in a better position to financially weather a legal storm than a startup competitor.
Mr. Zuckerberg said in his testimony for Thursday’s hearing that he believes Facebook does “more to address misinformation than any other company” but noted that there will always be things that the company misses.
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