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What Digital Marketers Should Know About Section 230 Under the New Administration
01.20.21 | Jennifer Novick, Head of Marketing

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) have shaken up the digital marketing industry and turned consumer privacy into a global movement that affects every business and marketer. While the dust is just starting to settle, digital marketers may be looking at more changes for Section 230 as the new administration takes over.

A data-driven marketing approach has become essential in today’s highly competitive marketplace. Marketers rely on consumer data to optimize everything from messaging and segmentation to targeting and media planning. Moreover, advertisers today are leveraging first-party data to inform their marketing initiatives.

Yet, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have increasing concerns regarding how consumer information is used to disseminate information. Many expect that the Biden administration will revisit Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA).

What CDA Section 230 Is and How It Affects Advertisers

Section 230 is a 25-year-old law that protects online publishers from getting sued for the content posted by users. This is particularly important for social media sites because the law shields them against legal liability from any content posted on their platforms.

Any changes to the law could mean that online publishers are no longer protected if users post content that could result in a lawsuit. Essentially, Section 230 makes it possible for brands to advertise online with minimal scrutiny and leverage user-generated content for their marketing campaigns.

How Online Privacy Laws Might Change Under the Biden Administration

Biden wants the US to set more rigorous standards similar to the GDPR. In an interview with New York Times, he expressed support for revoking Section 230—or at least changing the degree to which the media should be responsible for the content posted on their sites.

Biden and the Senate are leaning toward reforming Section 230 to make online media platforms more accountable for the content posted on their sites. However, the commerce secretary, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will ultimately determine the details.

Although drastic changes won’t happen on January 20, the signs do point towards the desire to stop the internet from being a Wild West free-for-all without any government regulation or oversight. We expect elected officials to address the public sentiment.

What Can Marketers Do in Anticipation of The Changes?

While it’s too early to tell what might happen during the Biden presidency, both the public and lawmakers will likely demand more transparency and full disclosure from businesses using online platforms to advertise and collect data.

If you have been following data privacy best practices to protect customer data and sharing truthful and transparent information about your brand, products, and services, then you’re well-positioned for what’s to come.

Do you want to ensure that your digital marketing strategy adheres to the latest privacy regulations? Get in touch to see how we can help you execute timely best-in-class strategies.

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