US Energy and Commerce Committee reveals legislation that holds social platforms accountable for 'malicious algorithms'
Traditionally, social platforms were protected from liability in accordance with Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act whenever their algorithms promoted content that contributed to grave emotional and bodily harm. Conversely, a new House Bill (the Justice Against Malicious Algorithms Act) was declared by the leadership of the US Energy and Commerce Committee on October 14 and aimed to eliminate the immunity that Section 230 provided.
The chairman of the committee, Frank Pallone Jr., has asserted that technology corporations such as Facebook are intentionally bolstering dangerous material to boost profit margins. He continued to argue that specified algorithms were created to recommend hateful and extremist content as well as misinformation to generate clicks. This view was supported by Frances Haugen who appeared before the Senate to testify against Facebook; and consequently, the whistleblower may have sparked lawmakers into action. Haugen alleged that Facebook and other social platforms developed algorithms that endorse angry speech with the purpose of preserving people’s interest to keep them on the website.
High-ranking officials of the committee have added that the House Bill would end self-regulation and companies would be held responsible for causing intentional and reckless endangerment of people. Furthermore, they have maintained that the Bill would place the interests of the people over profits in which the social platforms have failed to do.
However, PCMag has reported on critics to the Bill who have claimed that the courts cannot ban all false speech due to conflicts with the First Amendment rights. Additionally, those same critics insisted that large companies have access to many lawyers whereas smaller social platforms do not. It is also important to note that the House Bill will not cover web-searches or social platforms with fewer than five million unique users.