Why is this important: Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle lobbied to change or revoke the Section 230 of the law – often for opposite reasons. Many Congressional Democrats argue that social media platforms have relied on legal protections in Section 230 to flout responsibility for bogus and potentially dangerous content on their sites, like the medical misinformation that has undermined vaccine uptake Covid-19.
The Biden administration struggles to tackle vaccine misinformation, an issue that has contributed to vaccine reluctance and a plateau in inoculation rates as the Delta variant sweeps across the country and states United seem to be backing down on the road to recovery.
Klobuchar’s health disinformation law of 2021, co-sponsored by Sen. Ben Ray Luján (DN.M.), is an attempt to address this, and it would extend beyond the current crisis. Under this measure, technology platforms would be required to propagate false or misleading health content during any public health emergency declared as such by the Secretary of Health and Social Services. The secretary, with input from experts and heads of other federal agencies, would be tasked with defining what constitutes health disinformation.
What is missing : Republican support. Political polarization around vaccinations is intensifying as some Republican lawmakers and conservative activists attack vaccines and the administration’s strategy to deploy them. In this climate, without the support of Republicans, Klobuchar’s bill faces an uphill battle.