Conservatives at CPAC Criticize—and Misunderstand—Section 230
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis skipped this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), but his ideas were still on display.
Conservatives and Republican officeholders gathered in the Washington, D.C., area for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Featured among the schedule of events and appearances was one talk titled “Big Tech– Break ’em Up, Bust ’em Up, Put ’em in Jail.” Panelists included Sen. Mike Braun (R–Ind.), Florida attorney general Ashley Moody, and former Rep. Devin Nunes (R–Calif.), who served nearly two decades in the U.S. House before resigning in order to serve as CEO of Truth Social, former President Donald Trump’s social media service.
While nominally about Big Tech companies and their role in everyday Americans’ lives, the discussion touched on Section 230, the 1996 law that protects online platforms from legal liability for most content their users post. It allowed the internet to grow from nascency to ubiquity, but politicians on both the right and the left think it should be reformed or simply repealed.
Each panelist has an unimpressive pedigree on free speech and internet freedom. Braun cosponsored the 21st Century FREE Speech Act, which would have replaced Section 230 with “more limited protections.” While in Congress, Nunes filed numerous lawsuits alleging hundreds of millions of dollars in defamation claims against people and personalities who said mean things about him on Twitter. And Moody, as Florida’s top law enforcement officia
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