Press Release

ADL Supports Reforming Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to Hold Tech Companies Accountable, Prioritize Users and Protect Civil Rights

New York, NY, February 5, 2021 … ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) issued the following statement in response to the introduction of the “Safeguarding Against Fraud, Exploitation, Threats, Extremism, and Consumer Harms Act” or the SAFE TECH Act from Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and which proposes reforms to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act that would directly address tech platform involvement in  discrimination, harassment and human rights abuses.

Full statement from Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO:

Tech companies must be held accountable for their roles in facilitating genocide, extremist violence and egregious civil rights abuses. We applaud Senators Warner, Hirono, and Klobuchar for their leadership in introducing a robust bill that focuses on supporting targets of civil and human rights abuses on social media while also addressing cyber-harassment and other crimes stemming from the spread of hate and disinformation. The sweeping legal protections enjoyed by tech platforms cannot continue.

Thoughtful reform of Section 230 is an important and necessary component to fighting violent extremism and creating a more equitable internet. But legislators need to proceed cautiously, addressing the imperative of providing legal redress for targets of hate-based crimes with the need to ensure that any legislation does not overreach and inadvertently silence or harm vulnerable individuals and communities. We must hold tech companies accountable while still protecting free speech and innovation.

Time and again we have seen social media platforms amplify or recommend content that foments hate and bigotry. The antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism, misogyny and disinformation that has run rampant online often results in enormous damage to the lives, reputations, businesses, and families of those targeted. Yet there is little recourse to hold tech companies liable; in fact, current law in most situations does not even allow for an inquiry to determine whether a platform engaged in unlawful behavior. ADL will be directly engaged with Congressional leaders in the weeks and months ahead as members consider this bill and other reforms to ensure a safer and less hate-filled internet for all users.