Trump: Terminate Social Media Shield or I'll Veto Defense Bill

President goes after Section 230 again
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2020 8:59 AM CST
Trump Tries to Claw Back Tech Shield Using Veto Threat
In this Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

President Trump returned to his beef with social media companies and what he perceives as their bias against conservatives on Tuesday night. The president took to Twitter to rail against a legal protection that Twitter and other social media companies currently enjoy. He wants to see it gone—and indicated he would veto what NPR calls a "critical" defense spending bill unless that occurs. What the pinned tweet, which refers to Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, says, and context:

  • "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..........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 AP explains what the 25-year-old Section 230 does: "protects companies that can host trillions of messages from being sued into oblivion by anyone who feels wronged by something someone else has posted—whether their complaint is legitimate or not."
  • Twitter and Facebook did not comment when contacted by Fox News, but the network resurfaced Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's October comments on the subject during his appearance before the Senate Commerce Committee: "Section 230 is the most important law protecting internet speech. In removing Section 230, we will remove speech from the internet."

  • NPR reports there is little willingness among lawmakers to repeal Section 230 in its entirety, but some revisions have previously been proposed with an eye on updating the policy for today's environment.
  • As for the $740 billion defense policy bill, the AP reports it has been passed for 59 consecutive years and specifies everything from troop counts to military pay raises.
  • The NDAA conference committee plans to meet Wednesday to begin reviewing the language, with a potential draft text expected by day's end. Axios reports by way of Congressional sources that as of Tuesday the language did not touch on repealing Section 230.
  • A senior House staffer was more unequivocal in comments to Politico, calling the president's request a "total non-starter."
  • Trump threatened to veto the NDAA in July because it allowed for the renaming of Army bases named after Confederate leaders. Politico calls the subject "the greatest divide between lawmakers and the White House heading into negotiations," but says progress has been made toward a resolution.
  • Trump has also repeatedly gone after Section 230. Witness this tweet from Nov. 26: "For purposes of National Security, Section 230 must be immediately terminated!!!"
(More President Trump stories.)

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