Wait – what happened? And what’s next?

This week the Senate moved the House bill (FOSTA) to the floor for brief debate. Here’s what that means and what we learned:

  • The movement of things was/is up to Mitch McConnell (R, Senate Majority Leader).
  • The Senate is going to take up the House version of the bill, which has BOTH bad elements. Previously, the Senate version of the bill (SESTA) only included the expansion of liability – which would create the chilling effect for websites around advertising. The House version had that AND creates a whole new crime around facilitation/promotion of prostitution.
  • Sen. Ron Wyden, who wrote the 230 exemption in the Communications and Decency Act and had previously been the only one holding the bill, proposed two amendments. The first is about exempting companies who have an automated review system from liability if they miss something – but doesn’t cover real-people reviewers. The second is giving $20m to the DOJ for prosecutions of websites.
  • The bill is scheduled for a vote after another debate next Monday (which means, depending on the length of that it could be Tuesday).

We’re going to be holding two calls in the coming week – one on Thursday, March 22 at 7:30pm EST and one on Sunday, March 25 at 4:30 EST. It’ll be the same information, there are two to make it more accessible. If you’d like to join, we just ask a quick RSVP here. All the questions are optional, and please use whatever info you feel comfortable sharing. We want to share some updates, including the impact that this has already had, and thoughts on next steps.

Thank you all for your hard work and dedication.

Liberation means you don’t have to be silenced.(Toni Morrison)

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