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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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Viewpoint Diversity Requires Media Policy, Not Editorial Regulation

June 19, 2019 Platform Competition , Platform Regulation , Section 230 , Section 230 Series

Many conservatives feel that major online platforms discriminate against them. But their proposed policy solutions, which usually involve modifications to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, cannot have the effect that they want. However, policies adapted from traditional media policy might help ensure that users of all political viewpoints have the ability to freely communicate online.

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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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What Section 230 Is and Does — Yet Another Explanation of One of the Internet’s Most Important Laws

May 14, 2019 Content Liability , Platform Regulation , Section 230 , Section 230 Series

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunizes internet platforms from any liability as a publisher or speaker for third-party content — and is one of the most important and wide-reaching laws that affect the internet. With the increased attention on online platforms in the past few years, it has become one of the most controversial. It’s also widely misunderstood, or misconstrued, both by its supporters and detractors. Much of the discourse around this law has focused on two extremes — on the one hand, from those who want to defend it at any cost and view it as a general charter against platform regulation, and on the other hand, from those who simply want to repeal it without realizing what the consequences of this could be. At the same time, both the press and politicians tend to either overstate or misunderstand what 230 does.

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