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Dispirited defence: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg supports reform of Section 230

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has told the US government that it should update Section 230 to make sure "it's working as intended", however tried to make a strong argument against it. In his written testimony to the US Senate's Commerce committee, Zuckerberg said Section 230 allowed the Facebook platform to police content without the threat threat of constant litigation. At the same time, he admitted that politicians were "unhappy" with the status quo, and the people want platforms to be held accountable. Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, are scheduled to testify remotely before the committee later today. The committee is examining whether Section 230 — which protects internet platforms from legal liabilities — has "outlived its usefulness in today's digital age", and deliberate on increasing Big Tech's accountability in moderating content. What exactly is Section 230? It protects internet companies from being held legally liable for any illegal content (such as hate speech, child pornography and so on) that users post on their platforms. For instance, if a Facebook user posts hate speech on their profile, they would be legally prosecuted against, not Facebook. These protections, called the safe harbour protections, allow companies to operate with a free hand, without worrying about legal compliance. They also allow the companies to enforce their own community guidelines to take down objectionable content. Essentially, social media companies are not treated as publishers of this content, unlike in the case of newspapers or other news outlets. The hearings assume international…

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