Summary

Section 230 has been the subject of bipartisan criticism in Washington, with both President Trump and former Vice President Biden arguing that the controversial law should be revoked. As the election has approached, a flurry of legislative proposals have taken aim at the law.

This paper argues that the Biden-Harris administration should take a more targeted approach, focusing on changes that will deter some of the most harmful forms of speech while also preserving the features of tech platforms that are essential to online expression. Specifically, the next administration should modernize federal criminal law for the digital age to prohibit problematic online speech like voter suppression and incitement to riot, require platforms to comply with court orders to remove illegal content, define what it means for a platform to “develop” content, work with platforms on reporting options that will facilitate individual accountability, and incentivize platforms to share data that will inform future product design and policymaking.