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Tech firms fight anti-trafficking bill

Backpage.com executives and the sites ex-owners are sworn in before a Senate hearing. (Cliff Owen / AP)

Tech giants are fighting a new anti-sex trafficking bill in the Senate they say would expose major online platforms and other web businesses to dangerous legal liability.

At issue: The bill would weaken a legal provision — Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — that shields platforms from liability for any content posted to their platforms by users. The bill would get rid of "federal liability protections for websites that assist, support, or facilitate a violation of federal sex trafficking laws" and empower victims to pursue websites legally, according to bill sponsor Sen. Rob Portman's office.

Why it matters: Tech cares a lot about Section 230 and will fight any attempts to water it down. Without it, their ability to host user-generated content could crumble, along with the accompanying advertising revenue.