Trump will veto defense bill unless legal protections for Big Tech are removed
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WASHINGTON, D.C., December 2, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – President Donald Trump has threatened to veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), as the annual defense-spending bill is called, unless it does away with Section 230, which provides indemnity to Big Tech companies.
A tweet sent by the President On Tuesday night, the president tweeted, “Section 230, which is a liability shielding gift from the U.S. to ‘Big Tech’ (the only companies in America that have it — corporate welfare!), is a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity. Our Country can never be safe & secure if we allow it to stand.”
“Therefore, if the very dangerous & unfair Section 230 is not completely terminated as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO the Bill when sent to the very beautiful Resolute desk,” he continued.
.....Therefore, if the very dangerous & unfair Section 230 is not completely terminated as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO the Bill when sent to the very beautiful Resolute desk. Take back America NOW. Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2020
The NDAA, approved annually by Congress, accounts for $740 billion of funding for the U.S. military. Legislators on the congressional committees responsible for the bill were already scheduled to meet today to debate it.
In its current form, Section 230 removes any liability from websites for content which users post online. While touted as helping free speech to flourish, experience suggests this provision has been abused by Big Tech companies who have set their own standards for what constitutes acceptable speech on their platforms.
In the run up to the election, Twitter and Facebook widely censored Trump, but left former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden largely untouched. Twitter notably censored a New York Post article detailing that Biden was aware of his son’s Ukrainian business dealings. The Trump campaign warned at the time that “Facebook is rigging the election for Joe Biden.”
Speaking at the beginning of October, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) described the “silencing” and “censoring” performed by Big Tech as “the single greatest threat to free speech and democracy.”
The recent hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Section 230 found that tech giants have collaborated in censorship and that “Facebook has an internal platform to manage” this collaboration.
Evidence provided by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), suggested that Facebook coordinated with Twitter and Google to effect content censorship across the internet.
Trump tweeted last Friday concerning the dangers Section 230 poses, saying that “for purposes of National Security, Section 230 must be immediately terminated!!!”
Blair Brandt, political advisor and member of the Trump Finance Committee, welcomed the president’s most recent message against Section 230, calling the action “epic & legendary.” Brandt added that to repeal Section 230 “makes sense since these platforms are censoring American officials while bolstering foreign adversaries.”
Hawley also signaled his support, re-posting the president’s message with the words, “The President it right.”
The President is right https://t.co/9ReVbHVwMq— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) December 2, 2020
The phenomenon of political censorship was summarized by Trump in May, when he wrote a message saying, “Twitter is doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party. They have targeted Republicans, Conservatives & the President of the United States. Section 230 should be revoked by Congress. Until then, it will be regulated!”
The importance of the freedom which Section 230 affords to Big Tech, has been particularly highlighted since the election, as messages regarding election fraud have been consistently flagged on Twitter with the phrase, “This claim about election fraud is disputed.”
In an article published before the election, Dr. Joseph Shaw warned that it is “corporations keen to protect elite views from criticism, who are posing a threat, a threat not to some outlandishly extreme conception of free speech, but to the basic mechanisms of civil society.”
Politico notes that the president’s threatened veto is not without precedent, as he has “vetoed eight bills during his term and Congress has yet to muster enough bipartisan support to reach the two-thirds majority needed to overturn any of them.”