A Minnesota senator is co-sponsoring a bill that would punish social media companies for allowing the spread of “medical misinformation.”
“These are some of the biggest, richest companies in the world and they must do more to prevent the spread of deadly vaccine misinformation,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) said. “The coronavirus pandemic has shown us how lethal misinformation can be and it is our responsibility to take action.”
She and Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) proposed Tuesday what they call the Health Misinformation Act in order to reform Section 230 of the Communications and Decency Act. That now-infamous clause protects social media companies from liability based on what users post on their sites.
“The law — which was intended to promote online speech and allow online services to grow — now distorts legal incentives for platforms to respond to digital misinformation on critical health issues, like COVID-19, and leaves people who suffer harm with little to no recourse,” Klobuchar said.
According to MPR News, Klobuchar’s legislation “would strip the companies of that legal shield if their algorithms promote health misinformation during a public health crisis.”
But Klobuchar has faced swift backlash from several different factions.
Some believe the bill, which would put the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in charge of defining “misinformation,” would lead to partisan squabbles over what should be scientific fact, according to POLITICO.
That same news outlet reported that Big Tech’s lobbyists at NetChoice have already stated their opposition to the bill on Constitutional grounds. That group represents Amazon, Facebook, and Google.
“Sen. Klobuchar’s bill is unconstitutional because it gives the government control over how private media entities treat legal speech,” Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel for NetChoice reportedly said.
President Joe Biden had a tiff with Facebook earlier this week, wherein he accused the platform of “killing people.” He quickly walked those comments back after backlash from Facebook.
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