By Ryan Tracy and Brent Kendall
The Justice Department will submit a proposal to Congress on Wednesday to curb longstanding legal protections for such internet companies as Facebook Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB -5.67% , Alphabet Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL +4.61% /zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite GOOG +4.19% Google and Twitter Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite TWTR -19.88% and force them to shoulder more responsibility for managing content on their sites, a senior department official said.
The proposal advances two main goals the Trump administration and the department outlined in June: encouraging online platforms to actively address illicit conduct and manage content on their sites in fair and consistent ways.
The department refined its proposal in the intervening months based on feedback from market participants and other stakeholders such as victims’ rights groups. As a result of that process, the department made some changes, including clarifying that internet companies would have immunity when they take down material that promotes violent extremism or self-harm, the official said.
President Trump is also scheduled to discuss “protecting consumers from social media abuses” at a meeting Wednesday with state attorneys general, according to the White House. While the legislation is unlikely to pass during a busy and contentious election year, Congress could take up the proposal or others like it next year. Both Democrats and Republicans say they want to review the legal protections internet companies enjoy, though they have differing concerns.
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