In wake of U.S. Capitol attack, Access Now and 70+ civil society groups warn against overbroad changes to Section 230

A group of more than 70 organizations sent a letter to the U.S. Congress and the Biden-Harris administration warning against responding to the violence in the U.S. Capitol by renewing injudicious attacks on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

The groups, including digital rights, racial justice, LGBTQ+, and many others urge lawmakers to consider impacts on marginalized communities before making changes to Section 230, calling on them to take meaningful action to hold Big Tech companies accountable, including enforcement of existing anti-trust and civil rights law, and passing federal data privacy legislation.

“The world’s eyes are on the U.S. as the country struggles with social media platforms’ role in the January 6 insurrection and related white supremacy,” said Jennifer Brody, U.S. Advocacy Manager at Access Now. “However, knee-jerk attempts to change Section 230 will only do further damage to at-risk communities already facing the brunt of social media platform concentration and power. Congress instead should approach Section 230 deliberations thoughtfully and place human rights at the center of any reform, which must tackle tech companies’ profit incentives that lead to the amplification of harmful content.”

The letter urges lawmakers to pass the SAFE SEX Workers Study Act to investigate the harm done by SESTA/FOSTA, the last major change to Section 230, and to hold hearings on the human rights, freedom of expression, and civil liberties concerns associated with changing the law, before legislating further.