Posted on September 16, 2022

Biden Demands End to ‘Special Immunity’ for Social Media Platforms Who Allow the Spread of Hate

Rob Crilly, Daily Mail, September 15, 2022

President Joe Biden put himself on a collision course with social media giants on Thursday, as he laid out his plans to tackle the ‘venom’ of white supremacy.

He demanded that companies like Twitter and Facebook be held accountable for hatred spread on their platforms, and urged Congress to end legal protections that give them immunity from being prosecuted over users’ posts.

Biden set out his plans after a one-day summit at the White House that brought together campaigners and survivors of racist violence.

He called on Congress to pass his plans for greater spending to protect nonprofits and houses of worship from hate attacks.

‘And hold social media platforms accountable for spreading hate and fueling violence,’ he said.

‘I am calling on Congress to get rid of special immunity for social media companies and impose much stronger transparency requirements on all of them.’

His words went further than previous demands for reform of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects publishers of other people’s content.

Campaigners say social media platforms are less likely to police hate speech if they know they do not face penalties for failing to do so.

Biden put it at the heart of his speech on Thursday during a week when allies put the platforms on notice.

On Tuesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law requiring social media companies publish their policies on disinformation, hate speech and harassment.

And a day later the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee grilled social media executives on their efforts to tackle extremism.

‘In America, evil will not win. It will not prevail,’ said Biden in the East Room of the White House, watched by campaigners including the Rev. Al Sharpton.

‘And white supremacists will not have the last word, and this venom and violence cannot be the story of our time.

‘So we convened this summit to make clear what the story of our time must be.

‘It has to be a story in which each and every one of us has a vital role to play, a story. with this message from the White House: United united, united, we stand.’

And he again told the story of how it was a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, that inspired him to run for president in 2020.

When those folks came out of that field carrying torches – in the United States of America, carrying torches, chanting the same anti-Semitic bile that was chanted in Germany in the early 30s, accompanied by white supremacists holding Nazi flags. And I thought to myself: My God, this is the United States of America. How could it happen?’ he said.

He was introduced by Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer, who was killed during protests at the August 2017 white nationalist rally.

And he took aim at Republicans such as Sen. Lindsey Graham who have dismissed their opponents as ‘wacko.’

‘Unless we speak out it’s going to continue,’ he said. ‘We cannot be intimidated by those who are talking about this as some a bunch of wacko liberals who are engaged in this,’ he said.

‘I mean, think about how it’s characterised.’