Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act
Today is the first I’ve heard of “Section 230,” a little-known provision in the 1996 Communications Decency Act that underpins the modern internet.
Today, POLITICO breaks it down:
The tech industry is turning to its supporters in Washington to defend its long-standing legal immunity for offensive and defamatory online content, in the face of growing attacks from politicians fed up with hate speech, fake news and alleged ideological bias.
The provision, known as Section 230, has helped Silicon Valley’s giants become some of the wealthiest companies on Earth. But its supporters say it’s also crucial to the online freedoms ordinary Americans enjoy — and that if Congress insists on tinkering with it, the resulting wave of potential lawsuits facing social media platforms, customer review sites, blogs and message boards could bring to a halt the user-driven internet as people have known it for decades.
Hate speech is a serious matter, but the conservative in me is wary of tinkering with regulations that underpin the entire digital economy.
My gut reaction: leave Section 230 as it is.
The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.