Section 230 – Nurturing Innovation or Fostering Unaccountability?

Department of Justice

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 3:00pm to 6:45pm

A public workshop to discuss Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, its expansive interpretation by the courts, its impact on the American people and business community, and whether improvements to the law should be made.

Following the public workshop, the Justice Department will invite stakeholders with diverse perspectives for private listening sessions and roundtables to seek additional input and discuss the problems, benefits, and potential improvements to Section 230.  The department will publish readouts on the various perspectives and debate from those meetings.

Drafted nearly 25 years ago in the early years of the internet to protect online businesses in their incipiency, Section 230 limited certain liabilities for interactive computer service providers for third-party content on their platforms.  Courts have interpreted the scope of Section 230 broadly, leaving a wide array of online activity immune from lawsuits.  Now that the industry has matured, valid questions have been raised regarding the broad scope of Section 230 and whether the immunity is still required in its current form.

Proponents claim that Section 230 immunity led to the flourishing of the internet and the creation of the online ecosystem we see today.  Opponents, on the other hand, believe that the broad interpretation of Section 230 has prevented solutions to a variety of problems that continue to proliferate to the detriment of victims, law enforcement, and civil discourse.  The Justice Department intends to examine these issues and identify and discuss potential solutions.

FBI Auditorium
935 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington , DC 20535