March 19, 2019

Wyden Statement on Calls to Regulate Speech Online and Repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today issued the following statement in reaction to new calls to regulate speech online and repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act:

“Tech companies certainly need to continue to be far more vigorous about identifying, fingerprinting and blocking content and individuals who incite hate and violence. If politicians want to restrict the First Amendment or eliminate the tools with which much of the world communicates in real time they should understand they are also taking away the tools that bear witness to government brutality, war crimes, corporate lawlessness, and incidents of racial bias. Banning such platforms either directly or indirectly will do far more harm and facilitate far more injustice than they would prevent.

“So often in the wake of horrible events politicians grasp for knee-jerk responses that won’t solve real problems, and may even make them worse.  Focusing on restricting speech only deflects from the core rot of white supremacy that our country and the world needs to address.

“Donald Trump, Devin Nunes and Ted Cruz are proving exactly why Section 230 is so essential – without protections, all online media would face an onslaught of bad-faith lawsuits and pressure campaigns from the powerful in an effort to silence their critics. The fact is, social media companies should be doing more to clean up their platforms, not less. Calls for government regulation of online speech and the business practices of private corporations run counter to everything conservatives claim to believe.”