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A new attack on social media's immunity

Illustration of hands holding giant hashtags
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

For all the talk of antitrust investigations, the bigger threat to tech platforms like Google and Facebook is an intensifying call from Congress to revamp a law that shields them and other web companies from legal liability for users' posts.

Driving the news: House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff today joined a motley group of policymakers calling to reconsider the legal protections afforded to tech platforms. It's a broadening of a line of attack that caught fire last year when a new law made it easier to sue tech platforms for hosting sex-trafficking ads.

The Trump White House has a record of violating the Hatch Act

Kellyanna Conway looking ahead wearing a white dress with a watercolor print.
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

In the wake of the Office of the Special Counsel recommending that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway be fired for violations of the Hatch Act, it's worth noting that she's not the first Trump administration to be censured as a result of the law.

The big picture: In 2018, six White House staffers were found to have violated the Hatch Act which prohibits specific political activities while serving as a federal employee. The law, established in 1939, is meant to ensure that the federal government does not exert influence on elections. All of the individuals were officially warned that continued violations could be subject to further action, but no official punishments were enforced.