Mark Zuckerberg has "repeatedly lied to the American people about privacy," Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said in a recent interview with the Willamette Week, a Portland alternative weekly newspaper. "I think he ought to be held personally accountable, which is everything from financial fines to—and let me underline this—the possibility of a prison term."
Zuckerberg, Wyden said, has "hurt a lot of people." Wyden was talking to the Willamette Week about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a 1996 law that gives online platforms like Facebook broad immunity for content posted by their users. Wyden was the co-author of the law and has been one of its most ardent defenders ever since. The law has come under increasing criticism as concern has grown about toxic online content. Wyden isn't ready to scrap it, but he says that he's "looking for more ways to create market pressure on the big tech companies to take moderation more seriously." Wyden worries that more aggressive efforts to root out toxic content online would effectively "throw the First Amendment in the trash can." "I still think the basic frame of the shield—particularly for the little guy—is essential," Wyden said of Section 230's immunity provisions. "And I'm looking very aggressively for ways to shore up the sword, to get at the slime." Technology companies, Wyden argued, have "done practically everything wrong since the 2016 election." He said he recently told technology companies: "If you don't get serious on moderation, you're going to have a lot of people coming after you."