No More Special Privileges for Social Media Giants: Reform Section 230

October 15, 2023

See original article in The Messenger

When Fox News aired former President Donald Trump and his supporters falsely claiming that Dominion voting machines stole the election for President Joe Biden, it was sued for defamation. This is because print and broadcast media can be held liable, not just for the content they generate themselves but also for any defamatory material produced by third parties that they carry to a larger audience.

In contrast to the traditional media landscape, internet platforms like X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook can host essentially any and every defamatory claim and legally face zero consequence because of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. This section of the law states that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” This provision provides internet platforms complete immunity from any lawsuits stemming from defamatory material posted on the platforms. If someone uses X to mass market a lie that can damage a reputation — whether it be about a person being a pedophile, a restaurant giving them food poisoning or Dominion stealing an election — the platform doesn’t have to worry about the defamatory implications.

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