President Trump has been threatening to veto the NDAA for some time now, as most observers are already aware. Unless it includes a provision to repeal section 230 of the 1969 Communications Decency Act, Trump will move forward with the veto. This has never seemed like the best of ideas, in all honesty. It’s seemed destined to backfire from the very beginning, that is for sure.
The NDAA has always scanned as a must-pass for us. The veto is probably going to be overridden, leaving Trump with very little recourse otherwise. The bipartisanship crowd would get a major win and the president would be furious that his wishes were denied. Some believe that Section 230 “prevents Big Tech from exercising excessive censorship” but we are not so sure.
That is not even the purpose of this section. As we speak, a social media giant is silencing someone, somewhere. We have seen it happen over and over again on Twitter lately. For a while there, it felt like every single tweet that was fired off by President Trump was being slapped with some sort of advisory label. Twitter also had a convenient outage just as Tucker Carlson prepared to blow the lid off the Hunter Biden investigations.
Some may want to argue over censorship. Others may feel as if any form of censorship is less than appropriate. We land squarely in the latter crowd. Freedom of speech is freedom of speech, regardless of whether you like what is being said or not. There are plenty of folks on both sides who could stand to learn that lesson but we digress.
Our issues with the concept of terminating section 230 are numerous but we’ll just focus on those that are most important. For starters, it does absolutely nothing to address the current situation. To make matters even worse, any problems that are addressed would be replaced by even bigger ones. This is something that Trump is struggling to understand at the moment.
Conservatives are the ones who would be suffering in these instances. The liberals would skate by, free and clear. Robert H. Bork Jr. at Real Clear Politics got more in-depth about the matter recently. He pointed out the obvious. Ben Sasse has already stepped into the line of fire and showed people how much worst it can get. Those who have been crying about Facebook and Twitter info blackouts may want to read on.
“Sasse started by voicing skepticism about the way the two companies moderate content “because I don’t think the standards are very transparent and I don’t think the execution is very consistent.” At first, it seemed as if Sasse was going to follow his partisan colleagues across the goal line. Then this …
I am more skeptical than a lot of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle about whether or not there is a regulatory fix that will make it better instead of worse,” Sasse said. “I think it is very odd that so many in my party are zealous to do this right now when you have an incoming administration of the other party that would be writing the new rules and regulations,” the Bork report begins.
To make matters even simpler, section 230 is put into place so that information service providers are not held liable for content generated by other parties. If Section 230 is removed? The tech giants actually have even more power to keep blacking out content. They are not going to want to risk a lawsuit.
There’s no good answer to the current dilemma and that’s the hardest thing for people to wrap their minds around. If the government is allowed to determine what posts social media sites can and cannot allow? We are willing to bet that the conservatives are the ones who are going to be bearing the brunt of the blackouts. This might seem bleak to some but that is the reality we are dealing with.