Biden thinks law that protects Facebook from liability should be revoked 'immediately'

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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wants to eliminate the law that shields tech companies like Facebook from being held liable for users' posts.

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The former vice president made the comments in an interview with The New York Times when asked about his thoughts on Facebook, which has come under growing scrutiny for antitrust and privacy concerns.

"Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one," Biden said in the interview, which was published on Friday.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN and The New York Times at Otterbein University, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in Westerville, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The law, which was enacted in 1996 as part of the Communications Decency Act, gives websites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter broad legal immunity — essentially, it eliminates the possibility of legal consequences over what their users post. The statute was created to protect free speech on the internet.


Biden compared online platforms avoiding responsibility for what users post to the Times' responsibility to moderate what it publishes as a digital and print newspaper.

"[The Times] can’t write something you know to be false and be exempt from being sued," Biden said. "But [Zuckerberg] can."

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, on Facebook’s impact on the financial services and housing sectors. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Debate over the law has forced tech giants to answer difficult questions and tread a fine line between regulating hate speech, preventing possible crimes and still guaranteeing free speech.


Biden also tied in Zuckerberg's decision to allow not fact check any political advertisements that run on the platform, even if the information in the ad is false. The Facebook founder said the policy was put in place to protect free speech. In October, the social media behemoth came under fire for refusing to take down a false ad run by Trump's reelection campaign about Biden, the 2020 frontrunner.

Biden’s campaign sent a letter to Facebook, requesting the company take down the ad, which has been viewed 5 million times. But Facebook refused, saying the video did not violate company policies.

"It is propagating falsehoods they know to be false, and we should be setting standards not unlike the Europeans are doing relative to privacy," Biden told the Times. "There is no editorial impact at all on Facebook. None. None whatsoever. It’s irresponsible. It’s totally irresponsible."


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