The legislative proposal comes after President (Donald Trump) tried earlier this year to stamp out tech giants.
The proposal aims to curb Article 230 of the Communications Etiquette Act, which provides major technology platforms, such as Facebook and Google, with protection from liability in relation to content posted by users.
The bill needs congressional approval, and there are many pieces of legislation going around in Congress that seek to limit the immunity of Internet platforms.
The Ministry of Justice proposal states in the first place that when “Internet companies distribute illegal material or moderate content in bad faith, Article 230 should not protect them from the consequences of their actions”.
The legislation proposes a series of amendments to ensure internet companies are transparent about their decisions when content is removed and when they should be held responsible for the speech they modify.
It also reviews existing definitions of Section 230 in a more realistic language that provides more guidance to users and courts, stimulates online platforms to address illicit content, and pushes for greater clarity about federal civil procedures.
Attorney General William Barr said in a statement: The administration is urging Congress to make these necessary reforms to Section 230 and to begin holding platforms accountable when they impose illegal speech censorship and when they intentionally facilitate criminal activity on the Internet.
In June, the Justice Department proposed that Congress adopt legislation to limit this immunity, and this came after Trump signed in May an executive order seeking new regulatory oversight over content amendment decisions for technology companies and support legislation to repeal or weaken Article 230.
Today, Wednesday, Trump is meeting with a group of attorneys general in Texas, Arizona, Utah, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, South Carolina and Missouri, amid his criticism of social media companies.
In May, Trump directed the Commerce Department to file a petition asking the Federal Communications Commission to limit protections under Article 230, after Twitter warned readers in May of his tweets about unfounded allegations of postal voting fraud.
The petition remained pending, and a group representing the major internet companies urged the Federal Communications Commission to reject the petition, saying it was misleading, lacked legal grounds, and posed serious public policy concerns.