Ravi Singh


Donald Trump Literature Reviews

Should Section 230 be Repealed?

Should Section 230 be Repealed?

Lai, S. (2021, July 26). Trump’s big tech lawsuits highlight the urgency of section 230 reform. Brookings.

According to this article, Trump lawsuit against the Big Tech, Facebook, Twitter, and Google's YouTube highlight the urgency repealing Section 230. The social media platforms deplatformed Trump from mainstream social media following the January 6 riots at the US Capitol. The lawsuit argues that the decision by the Big Tech to ban Trump was a violation of his First Amendment rights. The lawsuits also address Section 230 which Trump was trying to dissolve while in office. According to the author “Section 230 establishes that; no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” There is argument that the statute was deliberately enacted by Congress to pressure social media into removing intolerable speech since Congress lacks power to do that. So, the statute is therefore an unconstitutional delegation of authority to censor Trump as well as other conservatives.

Ron DeSantis, Floridian Gov. recently proposed a law to stopsocial media companies from banning political leaders from their platform, butit did not get through. Federal Judge Robert Hinkle blocked the law saying itviolates Section 230 and the First Amendment. The argument is that the decisionto ban Trump was within the platforms reason of their terms of service whichare binding contracts between the Big Tech and their users. If Trump is able toprove that the companies applied the terms of service unequally to him, he canbe able to authenticate his argument around Section 230. The author adds that althoughthe lawsuit may have little legal basis to succeed, the First Amendmentargument could be an interesting turn in favor of Donald Trump. This is in relationto government censorship and the power that private corporations have toregulate content. According to Trump, the ban has impacted how he communicated necessitatedby the fact that he is the head of the Republican Party and possibility ofbeing a presidential candidate in 2024. And this argument begs the question ofhow the social media platforms will react to Trump ban if confirms that he isrunning for president come 2024. The author states that the courts do takequite a broad view of freedom of expression especially when it comes topolitical candidates to ensure that the minority views are not censored ordisregarded. As well, the social media companies are under pressure on the samethe reason why some companies are not willing to ban Trump permanently fromtheir platforms. The lawsuit and addressing Trump’s ban right now is a reminderof unfinished business in the debates around repealing Section 230.  

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