U.S. President Donald Trump signed legislation aimed at penalizing website operators that facilitate online sex trafficking and chipping away at a legal protection for the technology industry. The law is intended to make it easier for state prosecutors and sex-trafficking victims to sue social media networks, advertisers and others that kept exploitative material on their platforms, although victims would be required to show websites knowingly facilitated sex trafficking.
The signing occurred as Washington sharpens its scrutiny on technology companies, which have largely evaded regulation, for their use of privacy protections and consumer data. Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook Inc, has been testifying before lawmakers this week. Silicon Valley has long opposed efforts to rewrite the Communications Decency Act, which protects companies from liability for content posted by their users and has been credited with fueling the sector’s growth for 20 years.