Sen. Klobuchar Introduces First Major Section 230 Carve-Out Since FOSTA-SESTA

WASHINGTON — A new Section 230-eroding bill, the “Health Misinformation Act” (HMA) was introduced yesterday by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to create liability for platforms which allow third-party content that is deemed to spread “misinformation” about an “existing public health emergency.”

Klobuchar’s HMA, co-sponsored by Sen. Ray Luján (D-NM), would “create an exception to the landmark internet law Section 230, which has always shielded tech companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter from being sued over almost any of the content people post on their platforms,” Recode — the tech vertical for news site Vox — reported.

“Klobuchar’s bill would change that,” Recode continued, “but only when a social media platform’s algorithm promotes health misinformation related to an ‘existing public health emergency.’ The legislation tasks the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to define health misinformation in these scenarios.”

This specific Section 230 carveout would be the first major exception to Section 230 immunity since the 2018 passage of FOSTA-SESTA, which created liability around supposed instances of “human trafficking.”

However, in the HMA case, “the law wouldn’t apply in cases where a platform shows people posts using a “neutral mechanism,” like a social media feed that ranks posts chronologically, rather than algorithmically,’ Vox reports.

Last week, President Joe Biden made some confusing statements stating that Facebook was “killing people” for allowing “misinformation” about the COVID-19 pandemic, inciting legislators to activate projects to reform or repeal Section 230.

As XBIZ reported, several Free Speech and First Amendment organizations criticized Biden for those statements, with the ACLU tweeting, “No matter which party is in power, the government cannot be trusted to label ‘truth’ or ‘fiction’ any more than Facebook or Twitter can.”

Main Image: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)

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