President Donald Trump has signed the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), a bill that aims to fight sex trafficking by reducing legal protections for online platforms. FOSTA passed the Senate in March by an overwhelming majority, and it’s been endorsed by the Internet Association, which represents major companies like Facebook and Google. But privacy and civil liberties advocates say it’s a fatally flawed billthat would hurt small online communities, and sex workers say it will make them less safe by driving them offline.
FOSTA carves out a new exception to Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act, which shields website operators from liability for user-generated content. It states that Section 230 doesn’t apply to civil and criminal charges of sex trafficking, or to conduct that “promotes or facilitates prostitution.” The rule applies retroactively to sites that violate it. (It’s sometimes known as the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act or SESTA, after an earlier version of the bill.)
— Rob Portman (@senrobportman) April 11, 2018