On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump threatened to veto the annual defense budget to avoid billions of dollars in military spending unless Congress agrees to remove an Internet law providing Facebook, Google and Twitter legal immunity from content posted by their users.
The result is of course a stalemate as vital congressional bills cannot move forward as it prioritizes section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Article 230 of the Communications Decency Act, passed in 1996, states that an "internet service" cannot be considered as a publisher or representative of third party content. The article in a nutshell protects websites from lawsuits if a user posts illegal, pirated or pornographic material.
With Article 230, website owners can monitor their pages without worrying about any upcoming legal liability. The law is particularly vital for social networks, but it also covers many sites and services, such as news sites that allow comments. The Electronic Frontier Foundation she calls him "The most important law that protects communication on the Internet".
However, it is increasingly controversial and often misinterpreted. Critics say its widespread protection allows powerful companies to ignore the real harm to users. On the other hand, some lawmakers erroneously claim that it only protects "neutral platforms" - a term that is not related to the law.
A fundamental legal protection for online chat platforms, Article 230 has become controversial in recent years and there is a desire from across the ideological spectrum to reform the law.
During the primary campaign, President-elect Joe Biden said that Article 230 "should be repealed immediately." Republicans again do not want the law because they believe they are granting broad platform censorship permission.
Trump brought the issue to the fore again and considers it very urgent. If you remember, use Twitter to spread baseless allegations of electoral fraud. The platform responded by pointing out the tweets as misinformation, limiting their reach.
So right now, the outgoing president has vetoed defense funding, a piece of legislation that is considered a "must-pass" by members of Congress.