Senate Democrats introduced legislation Thursday that removes liability protections from online platforms that promote content deemed health misinformation.
The bill, proposed by Senators Amy Klobuchar and Ben Ray Lujan, seeks to forge an exception to Section 230 liability shields enjoyed by online platforms, such as Facebook or YouTube, if those platforms increase content classified as health misinformation, Vox reported for the first time.
The legislation, known as the Health Misinformation Act, directs the Department of Health and Human Services to create a definition of health misinformation and removes liability protections from platforms “if the provider promotes that health misinformation through an algorithm. used by the provider “.
HHS definite health misinformation in an ad last week as “information that is false, inaccurate or misleading based on the best available evidence.”
The bill allows for a “neutral” push for disinformation, such as through “chronological functionality,” in which newer content is promoted to users.
“For too long, online platforms have not done enough to protect the health of Americans,” Klobuchar said in a statement to Vox. “These are some of the largest and richest companies in the world, and they must do more to prevent the spread of misinformation about vaccines.”
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act states that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service will be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another provider of information content”, which protects companies in line like Facebook of responsibility for users posted content.
By creating an exception for health misinformation, the bill would allow tech companies to be sued for driven content on their platforms.
Even as more Americans get vaccinated, the danger from the coronavirus and vaccine-related misinformation persists. I will continue to push for policies to address the proliferation of misinformation and hold perpetrators accountable. https://t.co/JiDaUrCc2M
– Senator Amy Klobuchar (@SenAmyKlobuchar) July 20, 2021
“The COVID-19 pandemic remains a constant threat and it is necessary to ensure that social media platforms do their part to promote accurate scientific information for users of those platforms,” the text of the bill reads.
The bill directs HHS to consult with other federal agencies and “outside experts” to issue guidance on what is health misinformation within 30 days of the bill’s enactment.
The introduction of the bill follows a campaign by the White House and federal agencies to crack down on misinformation on social media related to COVID-19 vaccines.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki Announced Last week, the White House was working with Facebook to point out misinformation related to the COVID-19 vaccine. Psaki pointed to a list than 12 Facebook users, who she said produced 65% anti-vaccine misinformation, and call for users to be banned from all social media platforms if they were banned from one.
The Office of the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy released An advisory last week urged tech companies to be more aggressive in combating misinformation related to the COVID-19 vaccine. President Joe Biden accused Facebook of “killing people” by not removing as much misinformation as the president would have liked.
Klobuchar did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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