Section 230 and Why it must be preserved

So, for those who may not be aware, a whistleblower from Facebook came forward with a trove of shocking claims about the way Facebook markets its content.

My take on Section 230 is that it’s necessary, and during these incredibly divisive times, it’s now more necessary than ever.
When people claim that Section 230 “harms our democracy” with “misinformation, conspiracy theories, etc.” what they’re doing is making a false claim that such information is the causal force behind what drives people insane, or to commit the types of acts that lead people to commit the January 6th riot.

The problem with this attack is that it’s fundamentally unfounded. Yes, there’s a great deal of misinformation. Yes, content can be outrageously divisive, and yes, the current information age we all live in is complex and sometimes difficult for people to understand.

But none of that is the content’s fault. The kind of heated divisiveness people are pointing out has been a part of the zeitgeist since before the Internet became so popular. Information was harder to come by, news was fed to the people via tightly-run, curated networks, and content wasn’t anywhere near as diverse as it is now.
People were genuinely afraid to truly express themselves due to the tight regulations on what people were allowed to say on TV, write in publications, etc. but none of that kept it from being divisive, outrageous, or otherwise politically incorrect.

I fear that if any action is taken to limit or weaken Section 230 of the CDA, like with this law proposed by a Democratic lawmaker, it will undoubtedly have a negative effect on how we communicate, which will also devastate free and legitimate speech under the impression that it may cause harm or “emotionally offend” someone.
We take those risks with the freedom of speech, and the law proposed here ticks just about every box for something that is unconstitutionally vague, overly restrictive, and simply not causally deducible.

Section 230 is fine the way it is.

@terminus what say you in this regard? Surely we can all agree that any attempt to alter the civil liability protections offered to tech companies under Section 230 will cause more harm than any sort of perceived good, right?
I can agree that QAnon, vaccine misinformation, and all of these other problems are valid issues, but censoring speech and chilling content is not the way to go about it. People are already being censored on YouTube for making videos disproving or debunking the claims made by these malicious actors, and sadly, the act of censoring something only emboldens those hold those ideas, regardless of what they are.

The decentralized information age we live in today was a step in the right direction, and to impede or harm that in any way because we may not agree with or take offense to what types of political, social, or medical information is being spread will only impede the overwhelming and proven benefits of that decentralized information mechanism.

What will happen is that if they can’t express themselves online, under the risk of “algorithms that put profits over people’s emotional health”, they will simply migrate to platforms that are not web-based, where they can spew their garbage and still retain full protections of the First Amendment.

Please lobby against this. It needs to be fought against.

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This needs to be fought against. I particularly don’t like this part.
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How can you prove this? How is this in any way, shape, or form legally actionable, civil or otherwise, when it’s the offended or ‘emotionally injured’ party who deliberately used the software or interactive computer service to begin with? People are affected by things differently, and since information is so subjective, if not arbitrary, in how effects are observed (or even materialized), it is not actionable.

The law should not be dancing around such subject matter, and this part especially shows how misinformed the government is on such issues.

@terminus @prostasia Please, please, do whatever you can to fight against these claims. I hope to see the rest of big tech to fight against this law, and any other laws which may threaten Section 230.

It’s very discouraging to see so much vitriol in Congress to revise or revoke Section 230. It shows how little they understand how the Internet works, and why these protections are literally what make the Internet whole. Just because they can’t feel the effects doesn’t mean they exist, and this requires Big Tech to come together and prove why.

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I feel like this provision also places an undue burden on tech platforms, since it’s not reasonable for them to consider the “emotions” of their userbase when tailoring algorithms.
This whole thing is much easier said than done, and there’s a lot that goes into this than these idiot Congresspersons realize.

They just want an easy way out of a complicated problem that isn’t even really a problem. Democracy is adequately protected by Section 230, and an ugly fact of it is the fact that people my disagree over things. It’s what America was founded on. And to force companies to consider things that are not within their control as civil remedies, is simply unworkable.

This law is stupid, and I hope it doesn’t make it past the Judiciary Committee, or to the Senate.

It’s also very difficult, if not impossible, to prove that social media recommendations could “materially contribute to physical or severe emotional injury” to a person, since it’s not the material that causes it. You don’t blame the content someone consumes for their deliberate choices or actions, and in none of the examples where she claimed “material contribution to physical injury” couild it really be proven that the material, or the workings of the company itself, caused that.

I feel like that Frances woman got a lot wrong, and purposefully manipulated the material she presented. I hope Facebook, Twitter, and all other companies fight back and lobby against this attack on our democracy by disgruntled, confused, and beligerant Congresspersons. Censorship and revoking liability for long-held standards is not the way.

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