Donald Trump Now Wants To Repeal Section 230, Which Will Actually Make The Stuff He Complains About Worse
from the our-president-is-a-fool dept
We’ve already discussed how the President has been urging Congress to make “complaining about the internet” a key election issue for Republicans. This is why Congress has introduced 17 different bills about Section 230 this year, combined with two separate proposals from the White House itself. But apparently, even that is not enough for our completely clueless President. On Tuesday after facing a bit more mild moderation concerning dangerous lies about COVID that he had posted, he announced that he wanted to “repeal” 230 entirely.
This was in response to both Facebook and Twitter taking action after Trump’s accounts falsely claimed that the flu is more deadly than COVID-19 (a truly incredible bit of disinformation coming directly from the President, a man still sick with COVID-19). Facebook removed the post while Twitter put a misinformation warning on it. And this is why Trump is upset and wants to “repeal 230.”
To be fair, this is the same thing that his opponent in next month’s election has been saying, with his equally ridiculous and foolish calls to “revoke” Section 230. Both of them are wrong. Neither of them seem to understand what Section 230 does or why repealing or revoking it won’t help with whatever they think they’re doing.
But since the President is the latest to spout this nonsense, it should be pointed out that if he got his wish, it would create the exact opposite of what he thinks will happen. Rather than putting pressure on social media companies to leave his nonsense, lies, propaganda, and disinformation alone, it will make them more likely to pull it down to avoid being taken to court and having to deal with questions of liability.
It’s an ironic statement since, without the existence of Section 230, Trump very well might not be able to tweet it. If Congress were to remove social media platforms’ liability protection, then companies like Twitter and Facebook would have no choice but to remove users’ ability to post content at-will. Instead, moderators would have to vet and approve content to make sure that it wasn’t potentially libelous.
This would exacerbate the very problem that many conservatives have with social media?namely, that Twitter (and to a lesser extent, Facebook) sometimes takes aggressive action against provocative right-wing speech, by labeling the content as misleading or removing it outright.
For whatever reason, both Democrats and Republicans seem to think that “Section 230” is Facebook/Google/Twitter. And if they don’t like a move made by any of those companies they think the “solution” is to harm 230. This is wrong and shows a fundamental lack of understanding about how 230 works, what it does, and what would happen if it were changed or removed. It is ridiculous that the President calls for this in response to those sites trying to limit the damage caused by the President himself, and it’s just as ridiculous that this seems to be one area that the President and his opponent actually agree on: that the open internet should go away.