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Senate bill would create exception to Section 230 to limit health misinformation


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A week after Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy declared health misinformation an "urgent threat" to the US public, Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico have introduced new legislation that would modify Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act to strip liability protections from technology companies if their platforms help spread misinformation during a health crisis.

If passed, the Health Misinformation Act of 2021 would create an exception to Section 230 that would see social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter "treated as the publisher or speaker of health misinformation" when their platforms algorithmically amplify misleading health content. What falls under the definition of health-related misinformation would be decided by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The exception would only apply during a public health crisis, which the HMS Secretary would have to declare beforehand.

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