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CR letter on joint hearing: “A Country in Crisis: How Disinformation Online Is Dividing the Nation”

SUMMARY: Consumer Reports letter submitted on the occasion of the June 24, 2020, joint House hearing examining how online platforms and social media networks spread false, misleading, and in many cases, dangerous information related to the twin crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide social unrest in response to a Minneapolis police officer’s horrific killing of George Floyd. Among other things, the letter makes the case that any conversation regarding platform accountability must include a discussion of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which was created to broadly insulate online platforms from being treated as publishers. While CR does not support the wholesale repeal of Section 230, the letter urges that its limits be reexamined. The letter also urges that government agencies be strengthened to better confront the challenge of online disinformation.