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Joe Biden at the Democratic candidates' debate on Jan. 14, 2020. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

A 1996 law that protects online platforms from liability for material their users post should be "revoked, immediately ... for Zuckerberg and other platforms," Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said in a New York Times editorial board interview.

Why it matters: Inside the industry, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is seen as a cornerstone of the internet's success in giving users a voice. But as tech giants have consolidated their wealth and power, policymakers and industry critics — alarmed by the rise of online misinformation, privacy controversies and the impact of precision ad targeting — have zeroed in on Section 230 as a target.

"It should be revoked because [Facebook] is not merely an internet company. It is propagating falsehoods they know to be false, and we should be setting standards not unlike the Europeans are doing relative to privacy. You guys still have editors. I'm sitting with them. Not a joke. There is no editorial impact at all on Facebook. None. None whatsoever. It's irresponsible. It's totally irresponsible."
— Joe Biden

Between the lines: Facebook, like other social media companies, sees itself not as a publisher with editorial obligations but as a platform that enforces standards of conduct among users who are free to communicate with one another both publicly and privately. Critics contend that Facebook's algorithms and human moderators are making digital-era editorial judgments when they decide what content is allowed on the site.

The bottom line: Biden isn't the only Democrat gunning for Section 230. Facebook's decision not to police fact in political speech and ads has made it some powerful enemies, and if the White House changes hands next year, it and other tech platforms could face a major fight.

Go deeper: Tech's liability shield becomes trade-deal flashpoint

Go deeper

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.

9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Kaine, Collins pitch Senate colleagues on censuring Trump

Sen. Tim Kaine speaks with Sen. Susan Collins. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine and Susan Collins are privately pitching their colleagues on a bipartisan resolution censuring former President Trump, three sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction in his second impeachment.