February 26, 2024

Senator Josh Hawley recently proposed legislation aimed at removing Section 230 protections from artificial intelligence (AI), which would hold tech companies legally accountable for content produced by AI. Hawley argued that this would protect children from harmful content and prevent tech giants from being a government unto themselves. Section 230 currently protects platforms from being held responsible for third-party content. The law was enacted in 1996 to support the burgeoning Internet to moderate content without fear of legal ramifications. Hawley’s bill, however, is vague about which applications of AI would be affected, raising concerns about its potential impact. Senator Ted Cruz expressed worries about blocking AI innovation, stating it would be detrimental for the US to fall behind countries like China. Both Hawley and Cruz agree on the need to change Section 230, but the issue lacks consensus among lawmakers. Progress in legislative reform has been slow, though courts may soon have to intervene, given the increasing number of cases related to social media and the content shared on these platforms. All in all, the legislation aims to level the playing field between big tech companies and the free market, but the lack of agreement on how to reform Section 230 remains a significant roadblock.

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