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Consumer Reports Opposes FCC Rulemaking on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Consumer Reports released the following statements in response to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s stated intention to proceed with rulemaking on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a federal law that shields companies from legal liability for user-generated content posted on their platforms. Consumer Reports has previously opposed the FCC’s consideration of rulemaking on Section 230 in public comments submitted in September.  

Justin Brookman, director of technology policy for Consumer Reports, said, “Social media companies have historically failed their responsibilities to consumers to police bad faith abuses of their platforms. Weakening Section 230’s Good Samaritan protections would cause tech companies to do even less to address the rampant fraud, misinformation, and abuse that exists today. We are disappointed by the FCC’s decision to act on the NTIA petition.”

Laurel Lehman, policy analyst for Consumer Reports, added, “Clarifying Section 230 is clearly outside the scope of the FCC’s authority. Congress passed the law, and separation of powers demands that it is squarely, and solely, within Congress’ domain to amend it—or the courts’, to interpret it. Certain reforms to Section 230 may not be amiss and should be carefully considered—but such reform must come at the behest of thorough investigation and consideration by Congress—not the Commission, nor the President by way of the Commission.” 

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