The U.S. Senate passed legislation on Wednesday aimed at penalizing website operators that facilitate online sex trafficking, chipping away at a bedrock legal shield for the technology industry.
The bill passed the House of Representatives last month and was expected to be signed into law as soon as this week by President Donald Trump.
The legislation, which passed the Senate on a 97-2 vote, would make it easier for state prosecutors and sex-trafficking victims to sue social media networks, advertisers and others that failed to keep exploitative material off their platforms.
Law enforcement has lobbied for years for such a law, an effort which resulted in part from a crackdown on backpage.com, the second largest U.S. classified ad service and which is used for sex advertising.
Passage of the bill represented a rare defeat for the internet industry, which despite coming under renewed scrutiny for how companies protect user data or guard against Russian meddling has for years avoided meaningful regulation in Washington.