Top executives from Reddit and Google are against any tweaking of the law that will take away the legal liability shield from internet companies. Ahead of the congress meeting, they are arguing that changing liability protection will affect their ability to minimize harmful content on the internet. According to them, it will also make things difficult for new companies to thrive.
Reddit’s CEO Steve Huffman and Google’s head of intellectual property Katherine Oyama announced this before Wednesday’s congressional meeting.
At the hearing, the executives will speak with Lawmakers representing the House Energy and Commerce committee. The contention here is the 1996 communication decency act, which gives protection to internet companies against contents from users. Apart from the two executives Huffman and Oyama, there will be other cybercrime experts to testify on Wednesday.
Earlier, the committee invited Robert Lighthizer to talk about the deal involving Canada and Mexico to tweak the internet law.
The alteration may hinder the growth
The fear of internet companies is when congress alters the law in the users’ favor, it will restrict their immunity when dealing with internet users. It is coming against the backdrop of the decision by Congress last year, which empowered sex-trafficking victims and prosecutors to sue advertisers and media networks.
Section 230 of the law grants immunity to internet companies for content users post on their platform. However, the act still holds them liable for contents that violate intellectual property or criminal law.
Experts believe that the law has encouraged free expression over the internet and has encouraged the rapid rise and growth of internet platforms over the past two decades. With the adjustment of the new law that will give users more rights, it will hamper the continuous growth of these companies, according to Oyama and Huffman.
In a statement, Oyama noted that it would be difficult for a blog, video content platform, and blogs to filter contents if the law in section 230 is not there. It could also affect their operation, as they could easily filter out important contents for fear of sanctions.
Also, Huffman reiterated the fact that if the congress tweaks the law, established internet companies and intending startups would have a serious challenge trying to provide the right content. He further explained that, although the 230 act has its downsides against some users, the downsides do not outweigh the overall positives the 230 act is enabling.
With 6.3 million daily comments on 750,000 posts a day, Huffman says the new change in the law will put too much pressure on them. He further said that it would be almost impossible to filter the bulky contents to stay in the good books of the new law.
Congress faults Tech Company’s excessive immunity under the law
Earlier in June, Senator Jose Hawley removed the immunity tech companies have been enjoying under section 230. He submitted that this immunity has made the companies too relaxed and carefree on user rights in their platform. Hawley said that the section would only remain the same if the companies can provide audit proof that their content-removal and algorithm practices are politically neutral.