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Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden defends against criticism by President Donald Trump of legal immunity clause in the Communications Decency Act.

FILE - Sen. Ron WydenOregon's senior U.S. senator issued a sardonic dismissal after President Donald Trump repeated his calls to repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

"I'd like to start for the Blazers, but it's not going to happen either," Sen. Ron Wyden said in a statement on Dec. 2.

Trump has vowed to veto a defense spending bill unless Congressional leaders agree to nix the clause, which essentially shields websites and social media companies from being held liable for the posts of their users.

"Section 230, which is a liability shielding gift from the U.S. to 'Big Tech' (the only companies in America that have it — corporate welfare!), is a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity," Trump tweeted on Dec. 1. "Our Country can never be safe & secure if we allow it to stand..."

Wyden and California Republican Rep. Chris Cox co-authored Section 230 in the 1990s, providing in general legal immunity to website publishers for the third-party content they host and disseminate. Traditional publishers, including newspapers, have no such safeguard against lawsuits over user-generated content, such as letters to the editor.

While Section 230 has received blame at times for stoking a rarely civil discourse online, message boards, comment sections and social media companies all rely on it for their existence, at least in their current form.

Wyden continues to support Section 230.

The senator added: "It is pathetic that Trump refuses to help unemployed workers while he spends his time tweeting unhinged election conspiracies and demanding Congress repeal the foundation of free speech online."

Zane Sparling
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