No origin story of the internet would be complete without mentioning one of its legal pillars: Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a 21-year-old law that shields tech companies from liability for content posted by users. Silicon Valley has long argued that any change to the law would hamper free speech and destroy the internet as we know it. Now, outrage over sex trafficking, mixed with growing unease about Silicon Valley’s economic and political clout, may be pushing tech companies to loosen their grip on the shield.

The change emerged during a packed Senate hearing on Tuesday to debate The Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA), which would amend Section 230 to create liability for internet companies that knowingly facilitate trafficking on their platforms.

Senator Rob

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