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Trump vows defense bill veto unless internet liability shield scrapped

TechnologyDec 01, 2020 11:55PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump speaks to reporters at the White House in Washington

By Nandita Bose and David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he would veto the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act unless it includes a measure eliminating a federal law protecting tech companies such as Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter.

"If the very dangerous & unfair Section 230 is not completely terminated as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO the Bill when sent to the very beautiful Resolute desk," Trump tweeted late on Tuesday.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects tech companies from liability over content posted by users, and has been under attack from Trump and Republican lawmakers, who have criticized internet platforms' content moderation decisions accused them of stifling conservative voices.

The Internet Association, which includes Facebook, Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN), Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Inc’s Google and Twitter, blasted Trump.

"Repealing Section 230 is itself a threat to national security. The law empowers online platforms to remove harmful and dangerous content, including terrorist content and misinformation," the group said.

The sweeping NDAA sets policy for the Department of Defense. It has been passed annually for six decades, one of the few major pieces of legislation seen as a "must-pass" because it governs everything from pay raises for the troops to how many aircraft should be purchased or how best to compete with rivals like Russia and China.

Congressional aides expressed skepticism Trump would actually veto the legislation. Democrats won't agree to repealing 230 because the 24-year-old law provides a vital protection to social media companies.

The aides suggested Trump's threat was part of an effort to force revisions to Section 230 and include them in the defense bill.

This year, the Democrat-led House and Republican-controlled Senate passed versions of the bill. It is in conference, where lawmakers come up with a compromise final version.

Trump has pulled back from threats to derail legislation in the past. Early last year, Trump agreed under mounting pressure to end a 35-day-old partial U.S. government shutdown without getting the $5.7 billion he had demanded from Congress for a border wall, handing a political victory to Democrats.

Trump vows defense bill veto unless internet liability shield scrapped
 

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Comments (5)
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Dec 02, 2020 12:15AM ET
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Reuters is leftist propaganda. The Democrats want to protect big tech to continue their communist takeover of America
Randeep Rothi
Randeep Rothi Dec 02, 2020 12:15AM ET
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Shouldn't you be spouting off on the Fox News forum or something, Felipe?
James White
James White Dec 01, 2020 11:40PM ET
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I love Trump!
Randeep Rothi
Randeep Rothi Dec 01, 2020 11:16PM ET
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Let Trump veto the defense bill.  Our country don't  need to be spending $700+ BILLION a year in order to line the pockets of the defense contractors.  Why do we need ELEVEN (11) aircraft carriers when the next biggest navy in the world only has 2?
rizwan aslam
rizwan aslam Dec 01, 2020 11:16PM ET
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Need bigger spending
Gamer Turtle
GamerTurtle Dec 01, 2020 11:16PM ET
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good question. why do you think we're able to invade someone and prosecute them for war crime when we couldnt find wmd... why are we able to act without consequences, cuz we have 11 carriers while everyone else has 0-2. lmao!
Randeep Rothi
Randeep Rothi Dec 01, 2020 11:16PM ET
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Gamer Turtle So basically America is now the world's BULLY !
Zack Harding
Zack Harding Dec 01, 2020 10:30PM ET
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Good.
Irvin Mermelstein
Irvin Mermelstein Dec 01, 2020 10:23PM ET
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The only thing I agree with Trump about is repealing Section 230. Here, though, Trump is just looking for a license to sue FB and other platforms where criticism of him appears.
Zack Harding
Zack Harding Dec 01, 2020 10:23PM ET
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You really think it is about criticism of Trump? The hypocrisy is palpable. They literally refuse to cover real scandals of liberals but will factcheck the flavor of ice cream Trump eats with partisen “fact-checkers” who just got beat by Owens in court, falsly “fact-checking” her... then FB gets to say “well, its their factchecking”. Its asinine.
Gamer Turtle
GamerTurtle Dec 01, 2020 10:23PM ET
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sounds like the party of minority is hating the majority. lol. why are there so many left outlet when there is only 1 version of fox? lol. if your base is big enough, it would have more major outlets doing what fox is doing.
 
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