Facebook Welcomes Regulations, Specifically Those That Hurt Its Competition

Tech giants expressing openness to amending Section 230 are doing so out of naked self-interest, not the goodness of their hearts.

Nick Clegg, Facebook’s head of global affairs and communications, appeared on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday after a harrowing week for the company. Last week a whistleblower, Frances Haugen, testified before the Senate on a number of topics relating to Facebook’s lack of transparency and the potentially deleterious effects on its users. However, Clegg’s answer to a question about Section 230, the clause within the Communications Decency Act which generally shields platforms from liability for user-generated content posted to their sites, was perplexing.

When asked by host Dana Bash if he supported “amending Section 230” in order to “hold companies like [Facebook] liable” for certain posts made on their sites, Clegg responded that he did, and recommended “mak[ing] that protection…contingent on them applying…their policies as they’re supposed to, and if they fail to do that, they would then have that liability protection removed.”

What, exactly, does that mean in practice? “You tell me, because it makes no sense to me,” says Jeff Kosseff, a cybersecurity law professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and author of The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet, a book about the history and application of Section 230.- READ MORE