Push for social media regulations finds bipartisan support, experts urge caution

Social media regulations may be getting an overhaul after the Capitol insurrection.
Social media regulations may be getting an overhaul after the Capitol insurrection.(WVIR)
Updated: Jan. 28, 2021 at 4:43 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - New laws regulating social media could soon be on the way with a push from both sides of the political aisle.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act limits internet companies’ liability for things posted on their websites. It had been a target of President Donald Trump, who claimed without evidence that platforms unfairly silenced conservative voices.

After social media was used to spread election conspiracy theories, as well as to plan and incite the insurrection at the Capitol earlier in the month, U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) indicated he would like changes made, too.

Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia, says the law needs to be updated but that it will not be a simple process.

“Really cruel, harassing stuff is protected by Section 230,” Vaidhyanathan said. “There are ways with deep study and long interrogation, we can come up with changes to Section 230 that can protect the vulnerable and allow these companies to continue to try to filter responsibly.”

Vaidhyanathan points out repealing all liability would result in companies taking strict measures to crack down on speech that violates their rules.

Sen. Warner has not yet introduced his proposed legislation.

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