Laura Bassett Statement Regarding Department of Commerce’s Section 230 Petition for Rulemaking

As the Federal Communications Commission considers the Department of Commerce’s Section 230 petition for rulemaking, the Save Journalism Project submitted a public comment for consideration.

Since its inception in the 1990s, Section 230 provided liability shields for internet companies for content others post on their sites. While this legislation may have been necessary at the birth of the internet, it has outlived its purpose and now creates enormous advantages for tech platforms in the competition with news outlets for digital ad revenue.

The FCC must recognize how the dominant tech platforms have transformed the online marketplace since the 1990s and issue new rules that elevate the standard of content these platforms distribute. That would establish a more level playing field between the social media giants and news outlets, and help save the journalism industry as a whole and local news in particular.

The following is a statement from Laura Bassett, former Senior Politics Reporter for HuffPost, and co-founder of the Save Journalism Project:

”Section 230 as it stands has outlived its purpose. It may have been necessary to help the internet grow, but now this liability shield simply enables the monopolistic dominance of the online marketplace by the tech giants, lowers the quality of our public discourse, and contributes to the destruction of the journalism industry. The pen is said to be mightier than the sword, but whoever said that didn’t have to contend with the shield of Section 230. As big tech companies like Facebook have grown stronger and mightier, the pen has fallen weaker. We must level the playing field in the online marketplace to ensure the Fourth Estate survives to see another era.”