WASHINGTON, Dec 1 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump
said on Tuesday he would veto the $740 billion National Defense
Authorization Act unless it includes a measure eliminating a
federal law protecting tech companies such as Facebook
"If the very dangerous & unfair Section 230 is not
completely terminated as part of the National Defense
Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO
the Bill when sent to the very beautiful Resolute desk," Trump
tweeted late on Tuesday.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects tech
companies from liability over content posted by users, and has
been under attack from Trump and Republican lawmakers, who have
criticized internet platforms' content moderation decisions
accused them of stifling conservative voices.
The Internet Association, which includes Facebook,
Amazon.com Inc, Alphabet Incs Google and
Twitter, blasted Trump.
"Repealing Section 230 is itself a threat to national
security. The law empowers online platforms to remove harmful
and dangerous content, including terrorist content and
misinformation," the group said.
The sweeping NDAA sets policy for the Department of Defense.
It has been passed annually for six decades, one of the few
major pieces of legislation seen as a "must-pass" because it
governs everything from pay raises for the troops to how many
aircraft should be purchased or how best to compete with rivals
like Russia and China.
Congressional aides expressed skepticism Trump would
actually veto the legislation. Democrats won't agree to
repealing 230 because the 24-year-old law provides a vital
protection to social media companies.
The aides suggested Trump's threat was part of an effort to
force revisions to Section 230 and include them in the defense
This year, the Democrat-led House and Republican-controlled
Senate passed versions of the bill. It is in conference, where
lawmakers come up with a compromise final version.
Trump has pulled back from threats to derail legislation in
the past. Early last year, Trump agreed under mounting pressure
to end a 35-day-old partial U.S. government shutdown without
getting the $5.7 billion he had demanded from Congress for a
border wall, handing a political victory to Democrats.
(Reporting by Eric Beech,Nandita Bose, David Shepardson, Alex
Alper and Mike Stone; Editing by Sandra Maler, Christian
Schmollinger and Gerry Doyle)