×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Internet Firms Throw Support Behind Sex Trafficking Legislation

WASHINGTON — A trade group representing Google, Facebook, Amazon and other major internet companies said on Friday that they will back legislation aimed at stopping online sex trafficking, after initially opposing the bill despite its bipartisan support.

The Internet Association’s Michael Beckerman said that changes made to the legislation “will grant victims the ability to secure the justice they deserve, allow internet platforms to continue their work combating human trafficking, and protect good actors in the ecosystem.”

Internet firms feared that the initial language in the bill, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, or SESTA, was too sweeping in its changes to a key provision of the Communications Decency Act that generally shields them from liability for content that users post on their site.

But they were put in the politically untenable position of opposing legislation that was garnering significant bipartisan support, a rarity in an otherwise fractured Congress. The law eliminates federal liability protections for websites that “knowingly assist, support, or facilitate” online sex trafficking. It also allows state and local prosecutors to go after websites that violate federal sex trafficking laws.

The most recent changes to the legislation include provisions to make it clearer that it is aimed at websites that are “knowingly” facilitating sex trafficking. Another change allows state attorneys general to bring federal civil actions against those who violate federal human trafficking law.

The legislation had drawn the support of some major media companies including 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Co. Major studios have long been at odds with Google and other internet sites over when they have the obligation to remove pirated content.

The legislation has been cited as an example of how tech firms are being put on the defense in Washington. This week, representatives from Google, Facebook and Twitter faced criticism from lawmakers over their response to the use of their platforms by Russian-linked firms to try to influence the 2016 election.

The legislation’s key co-sponsors include Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

“I’m pleased we’ve reached an agreement to further clarify the intent of the bill and advance this important legislation,” Portman said.

More Politics

  • Billie Eilish and Debbie Harry

    Billie Eilish, Blondie's Debbie Harry Attack Abortion Ban

    Songwriting took a backseat to politics for the female honorees at Thursday night’s ASCAP Pop Music Awards at the Beverly Hilton. America’s rapidly spreading anti-abortion movement in states such as Alabama, Georgia and, most recently, Missouri — and resulting legal battles that could lead the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade — had veteran [...]

  • The Spectator Magazine Summer Party at

    Trump Pardons Former Media Mogul Conrad Black

    President Donald Trump has issued a full pardon for Conrad Black, a former media mogul who was convicted on counts of wire fraud and obstruction of justice and who also wrote a biography that praised the president last year. According to a lengthy post on Black’s website, Trump called Black and told him personally of [...]

  • Trump CNN

    White House Asks Users to Report Alleged Social Media Censorship

    Doubling down on the idea that conservative views are being censored on social media, the White House launched a web form Wednesday afternoon that asks users to report any actions taken against them on platforms like Facebook and Twitter because of their political views. “Social media platforms should advance freedom of speech,” the White House [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Facebook Gets One-Strike Policy for Live Streaming, Twitter and Twitch May Be Next

    Facebook will ban users who have violated certain rules from live streaming after just one offense, the company announced this week. The new one-strike policy includes posting content in support of hate groups and terrorist organizations. The policy change comes in response to the Christchurch shooting in New Zealand, which was live-streamed on Facebook by [...]

  • Julian Assange: Sweden Reopens Rape Investigation

    Sweden Reopens Rape Case Against Julian Assange

    Swedish prosecutors announced Monday that they would reopen their rape investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is currently serving a 50-week jail sentence in Britain for jumping bail on an arrest warrant stemming from the case. Eva-Marie Persson, Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecution, told reporters Monday that the investigation would be resumed. “I [...]

  • Pete Buttigieg Show Business Donations

    Stars Show Support for Pete Buttigieg at Gwyneth Paltrow Event

    Pete Buttigieg finished a day of fundraising on Thursday at the home of Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk with a reception that drew about 100 people including Bradley Whitford, Rob Reiner and Martin Sheen. According to a source knowledgeable about the event, other attendees included interior designer Michael Smith and James Costos, former U.S. ambassador [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content