The Justice Department proposal primarily states that when internet companies “willfully distribute illegal material or moderate content in bad faith, Section 230 should not shield them from the consequences of their actions.” It proposes a series of reforms to ensure internet companies are transparent about their decisions when removing content and when they should be held responsible for speech they modify. It also revises existing definitions of Section 230 with more concrete language that offers more guidance to users and courts. It also incentivises online platforms to address illicit content and pushes for more clarity on federal civil enforcement actions.
Attorney General William Barr said in a statement the administration was urging “Congress to make these necessary reforms to Section 230 and begin to hold online platforms accountable both when they unlawfully censor speech and when they knowingly facilitate egregious criminal activity online.” In June, the Justice Department proposed that Congress will take up legislation to curb this immunity. This was after Trump in May signed an executive order that seeks new regulatory oversight of tech firms’ content moderation decisions and backed legislation to scrap or weaken Section 230.