2020/06/17

Rolling Back Section 230?

If past experience is any indication, it would be wise to reserve belief until we actually see the legislation, but Attorney General Bill Barr has proposed rolling back Big Tech's Section 230 protections.
Attorney General William Barr told “Special Report” in the second part of an exclusive interview that aired Tuesday that he believes social media platforms are “engaged in censorship” and are acting more like “publishers”.
“So you think these [social media] firms are somehow censoring the president and his supporters?” host Bret Baier asked Barr.
“I think there are — clearly these, these entities are now engaged in censorship,” Barr responded. “And they originally held themselves out as open forums where people, where the third parties could come and express their views and they built up a tremendous network of eyeballs.
“They had a lot of market power based on that presentation,” the attorney general added. “And now they are acting much more like publishers because they’re censoring particular viewpoints and putting their own content in there to to diminish the impact of various people’s views.”
As a reminder, Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act shields social media platforms from exposure to the sorts of legal liability incurred by publishers for printing libelous, defamatory, etc. content. These protections were enacted on the assumption that online forums would not curate their users' content as publishers do.

But as anyone who's been paying attention knows full well, Big Tech now actively curates--and censors--the content on its platforms.
The U.S. Justice Department will propose legislation as soon as Wednesday to try to remove protections that big tech platforms like Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google and Facebook (FB.O) have had for decades, a department official said on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
President Donald Trump, who has battled Twitter (TWTR.N) and other tech companies over alleged censorship of conservative voices on social media platforms, said in late May he would propose legislation that may scrap or weaken the law shielding internet companies, in an extraordinary attempt to regulate the outlets where he has been criticized.
Trump wants to “remove or change” a provision of a law known as Section 230. Under the 1996 Communications Decency Act, Section 230 does not generally hold platforms responsible for what their users post and allows them to moderate the content of their sites as they see fit.
The Justice Department plans to make a legislative proposal that Congress would have to pass, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the proposal.
Again, I'll believe it when I see it. But I'll be watching how the situation unfolds with interest.


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9 comments:

  1. If big tech engages in "alleged" censorship, then the feds should respond with "alleged" regulation.

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  2. Google going after The Federalist seemed to be a step too far. Here's hoping!

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  3. As I understand it, the original intent of Section 230 was to allow the platforms to be able to remove porn from their sites. Since you can indeed find porn on them (if you are so inclined), the original justification is mute. Therefore, they don't need the protection.

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    1. Chris

      Just as good. Google explicitly waived its 230 protection when it publically wrote a statement about implementing rigorous criteria for publishing.
      So anyone injured by Google's decisions to censor should simply sue them as publishers

      xavier

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  4. I was reading someone claiming repeal of 230 would make big tech stronger, not weaker. I suspect he might be concern trolling. All I know is that for years (decades practically) a handful of megacorporations have been profiting off a quasi-public domain like a bunch of Old West cattle barons. This was tolerable as the internet domain was infinite unlike land. But then they started trying to dictate what is said on done in that domain and now it's time for judgement day.

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  5. If Trump even wants a hope st winning, he’ll need Barr to do this. He’s lost a lot of the female vote over BLM-Antifa. To cut through to the id of that demographic, he’ll need to take back the social media ground.

    Otherwise prepare for Biden to win and then step down to allow for our new, female, black president. ANC tactics to follow.

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  6. When private companies are shown favoritism, they are indistinguishable from the government.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, and elements of the government have been outsourcing their censorship to corporations for a while now.

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