Congress to hold a hearing to amend Section 230

Facebook whistleblower France Haugen is once again asked to testify to Congress on December 1, as a subcommittee will uphold a hearing to address future “targeted reforms” and to amend Section 230 of The Communications Decency Act.

The leading directive force of the hearings will be the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on communications and technology (CAT), with a significant focus on Sections 230 of the Decency Act.

“The Committee of Energy and Commerce has held six hearings examining the immunity protections in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA 230), social media platform practices and associated harms,” the memorandum stated.

Section 230 states that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

In March 2018, the Committee called for a joint hearing to discuss Facebook’s adoption of consumer data to generate ads. This hearing was followed by another in September of the same year, to assess Twitter’s algorithms and content moderation activities.

The Committee’s most recent hearing was in March 2021, where CEOs from the most influential social networking companies appeared before both the CAT and Consumer Protection Commerce (CPC) to elaborate on their firms’ conduct on these matters.

During these hearings, members of the Committee informed Congress of the vitality of the situation, urging them to initiate legislative action if these companies failed or refused to self-regulate.

Frances Haugen will be one of many witnesses called upon the House Democrats for their testimonies. Alongside Haugen, the president of Color of Change, Rashad Robinson, and James Steye of Common Sense Media will also adhere to Congress’ call.

From their part, the subcommittee’s Republicans will also bring forth a witness, with a second panel that will strictly focus on additional testimonies from organizations such as Free Press Action, advocating net neutrality.

In October, Haugen appeared before Congress to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee, revealing how Facebook – now known as Meta – deliberately makes conscious choices detrimental to public safety, privacy, and children’s mental health.

The whistleblower’s upcoming testimony happens days before Instagram’s CEO, Adam Mosseri, submits his testimony to the Senate in a series of hearings devoted to securing teens’ protection from these social networking firms. Any future approaches to amend Section 230 will be strictly directed at the social media platforms’ effect on society.