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.