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Definition: Section 230

Part of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Section 230 provides immunity to websites that publish third-party content. Proponents assert that Section 230 supports free speech and the social media industry. They say there is no way websites that publish user-generated content can police the thousands of postings they receive every day and that they should not be held liable for false statements. Opponents claim that the legislation allows harmful disinformation to be widely spread as well as exposing appalling content such as child pornography.

A Cause for a Major Veto
In late December 2020, President Trump vetoed the $741 billion annual U.S. defense spending bill because, in part, it did not repeal or modify Section 230 to no longer shield Internet companies. Several days later, Congress overrode the veto and the bill was passed without changes to Section 230. See CDA.