US Department of Justice proposes reform of Section 230

After ten months of reviews, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) is proposing to update the outdated immunity for online platforms under Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act (CDA). Attorney General William P. Barr stated ‘When it comes to issues of public safety, the government is the one who must act on behalf of society at large.’ 

With the changes of the online environment since the CDA was adopted, the DOJ has identified four areas in need of substantial reform to incentivise online platforms to address illicit content, promote open discourse and greater transparency, clarify US government enforcement capabilities, and promote competition.

In addressing the core principles of online immunity regulations of online platforms conduct, the Key Takeaways highlighted the need to recognise that large tech platforms are no longer nascent or fragile, to preserve and promote competition for smaller platforms, to promote free speech, and to distinguish between hosting defamatory content and enabling criminal activity.

This report will serve as the basis of a legislative reform on the immunity of online platforms in the USA.