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App Store Control Is Less Important Than Human Rights, Actually 

October 11, 2019 Apple , Free Expression , Free Speech , Global , Human Rights , Privacy , security

I have written about app stores at length before but it is worth reiterating a few points given the recent news about Apple removing access to the Hkmap.live app (which helps people track police activity) and Google removing access to The Revolution of Our Times (a protest game).  First, Apple’s (and Google’s) explanations don’t pass […]

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Speech and Commerce: What Section 230 Should and Should Not Protect

September 24, 2019 Content Liability , Free Expression , Section 230 , Section 230 Series

This is the fourth blog post in a series about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. You can view the full series here. Section 230 plays an important role in allowing sites with user-generated content to operate in general–since it shields them from most liability for third-party speech–while giving them the ability to moderate […]

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How to Go Beyond Section 230 Without Crashing the Internet

May 21, 2019 Content Liability , Free Expression , Platform Regulation , Section 230 , Section 230 Series

The previous post was about what Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act does, and why it does it. One theme is that Section 230 is a very broad and powerful statute. But the law can change, and given that digital platforms have a very different role in society and the economy now than they did in 1996, when the law was passed, maybe it should. This post will list some proposals that I am not necessarily endorsing, but which may be worth considering. But before that, it’s also important to realize that Section 230 has limits even under the law today.

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Application of the “Diversity Principle” in Content Moderation

January 15, 2019 Content Moderation , Facebook , FCC , Free Expression , Platform Regulation Series

The promotion of diverse viewpoints has been the cornerstone of United States media policy over the last 100 years. In November 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg published an article that delineated the algorithm that Facebook will use to disincentivize hate speech. Although Zuckerberg’s proposal is a laudable step for content moderation, it may be neglecting the value of exposing people to diverse views and competing sources of news. As we debate moderation issues, platforms should consider not only the prohibition of hate speech, but also the affirmative exposure to broader ideas and perspectives. The Federal Communications Commission’s implementation of the diversity principle on radio and TV, explored below, offers some valuable lessons here.

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The ITU Is Trying (Again) to Govern the Internet

October 1, 2017 Free Expression , Internet Governance , ITU , Net Neutrality , OTTs

Over the past several years, the International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations agency specializing in information and communication technologies, has been discussing new ways to regulate internet services and applications. These apps include favorites like Skype, Signal, Line, Telegram, and Vimeo — essentially most popular “over-the-top” (OTT) and streaming applications. These discussions will have serious consequences for both how you use the internet and your internet freedom. How we govern streaming services closely affects how we govern the internet itself. Expect this transformative internet governance conversation to escalate in the ITU and other arenas as we approach the ITU’s 2018 Plenipotentiary Conference, or “Plenipot”.

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