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President Trump threatened to veto the annual defense spending bill if Congress does not repeal Section 230, which provides a legal shield to tech companies from content on their sites.
The commander-in-chief issued the threat via Twitter Tuesday evening, in which he called on the House and Senate to include language repealing Big Tech’s immunity in their military funding measure.
“Section 230, which is a liability shielding gift from the U.S. to ‘Big Tech’ (the only companies in America that have it – corporate welfare!), is a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity. Our Country can never be safe & secure if we allow it to stand,” Trump wrote in the first of two posts.
“Therefore, if the very dangerous & unfair Section 230 is not completely terminated as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO the Bill when sent to the very beautiful Resolute desk. Take back America NOW,” he continued, adding a “Thank you” for good measure.
Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act provides tech companies with liability protections against illegal content posted by third-party users.
In addition to shielding companies from being sued by anyone who is wronged by something someone else has posted, they also allow said platforms to moderate their content, as long as moderation is done “in good faith.”
Trump, joined by a growing chorus of GOP lawmakers, has railed against 230 in recent months, arguing that it provides a loophole preventing companies from being held accountable and leads to the censorship of conservatives.
Despite bipartisan support for the idea of taking on Big Tech, one senior House staffer told Politico that Trump’s ultimatum would not be successful.
“It’s a f—–g joke. This is a complex debate that has no business as an eleventh-hour airdrop,” the senior staffer told the outlet, adding that even a push to include Senate Majority Whip John Thune’s (R-SD) bipartisan proposal targeting 230 wouldn’t make it into the defense bill.
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