Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) Photo: Al-Drago-Pool/Getty Images

At the request of the Trump administration, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) is working on new legislation targeting the tech industry's liability shield, a source familiar with the effort told Axios.

Why it matters: The Hawley bill will be an additional threat against platforms like Facebook and Twitter following President Donald Trump's executive order aimed at curbing their legal protections from content posted by users.

Details: The legislation would open platforms to legal liability if they enforce their terms of services in unequal or uneven ways, including by making politically motivated moderation decisions.

  • That would be a reversal from the broad immunity from lawsuits over both user-posted content and making moderation calls like taking down posts and banning user accounts that platforms have under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.
  • Hawley and his office have had multiple conversations with senior White House and Justice Department on revisiting Section 230, the source said. They have shared draft text of the measure with other Senate offices seeking cosponsors, and the bill could be introduced as early as next week.

The big picture: The Trump administration and others on the right claim that online platforms have a heavier hand in moderating conservative views online.

  • Democrats too have been critical of the protections Section 230 offers, but want to see platforms better moderate false or harmful content online.

Go deeper

Sep 1, 2020 - World

Facebook threatens to pull news from Australia if new law passes

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook said Monday that it will block users in Australia from sharing news on Facebook and Instagram if a controversial law forcing tech giants like Facebook and rival Google to pay publishers to distribute portions of their content passes this fall.

Why it matters: This is Facebook's last-ditch effort to stop the law's enactment, which it says will harm publishers more than itself. The tech giant contends that the Australian law's broad payment terms are likely to end up requiring Facebook to overpay for a relatively modest amount of content, and the social network is also wary of setting a broad precedent.

"Not enough": Protesters react to no murder charges in Breonna Taylor case

A grand jury on Wednesday indicted Brett Hankison, one of the Louisville police officers who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March, on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots blindly into neighboring apartments.

Details: Angering protesters, the grand jury did not indict any of the three officers involved in the botched drug raid on homicide or manslaughter charges related to the death of Taylor.

Two officers shot in Louisville amid Breonna Taylor protests

Police officers stand guard during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Ben Hendren/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Louisville Metro Police Department said two officers were shot downtown in the Kentucky city late Wednesday, just hours after a grand jury announced an indictment in the Breonna Taylor case.

Details: A police spokesperson told a press briefing a suspect was in custody and that the injuries of both officers were not life-threatening. One officer was "alert and stable" and the other was undergoing surgery, he said.

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