Congress' latest blow to freedom of speech could come in the form of a bill intended to stop sex trafficking. If passed, the “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017” (S. 1693) would undermine Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects online platforms from liability for some types of speech by their users.
Section 230 grants “interactive computer services” including Facebook, Twitter, and Google, immunity for their users’ content. Congress granted this immunity based on the finding that ICS’s “offer a forum for a true diversity of political discourse.” Without Section 230, social media could not exist, and neither would the plethora of online outlets such as blogs that serve as conduits for free expression.
The Committee for Justice joins a group of free speech advocates -- including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Freedom of the Press Foundation, and the Foundation for Individual rights in Education -- in urging Congress to oppose legislation that would weaken protections for online free speech under Section 230.
To learn more about how this bill would weaken Section 230 and strangle online communities, or to hear what others are saying, please visit the STOP SESTA website.