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Consumer Reports Opposes Executive Order on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

Consumer Reports Opposes Executive Order on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. Consumer Reports released the following statements in response to an Executive Order issued by the President that would seek to circumvent Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a federal law that shields companies from legal liability for user-generated content posted on their platforms.

Justin Brookman, Director, Consumer Privacy and Technology Policy, for Consumer Reports, said, “This executive order is a half-baked effort that will have few legal effects, but it could chill free expression online and threaten the open internet. A fact check by Twitter is an editorial decision protected by the First Amendment. More platforms should engage in transparent efforts to moderate the content on their platforms. For far too long, online platforms have been too slow to react to abuses of their systems. Section 230 immunity leaves them without enough reason to act to protect their users. This order would go even further and actually prevent companies from trying to address misinformation.”

Jonathan Schwantes, Senior Policy Counsel for Consumer Reports, added, “An order like this raises enormous questions about the Constitution and the separation of powers. It’s Congress that has the right to change a law, and the FCC and the FTC are independent agencies. If the White House wants to challenge that, the right path is the court system, not an executive order.”

Contact: Cyrus Rassool, cyrus.rassool@consumer.org