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Section 230 is Good, Actually

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Section 230 should seem like common sense: you should be held responsible for your speech online, not the platform that hosted your speech or another party.Let’s start with a breakdown of the law, and the protections it creates for you. This gives many more people access to the content that others create than they would ever have otherwise, and it’s why we have flourishing online communities where users can comment and interact with one another without waiting hours, or days, for a moderator, or an algorithm, to review every post.And Section 230 doesn’t only allow sites that host speech, including controversial views, to exist. While Section 230 didn’t exist until 1996, it was created, in part, to protect those services that already existed—and the many that have come after.What’s needed to ensure that a variety of views have a place on social media isn’t creating more legal exceptions to Section 230.If you consider that one of the Internet’s primary functions is as a way for people to connect with one another, Section 230 should seem like common sense: you should be held responsible for your speech online, not the platform that hosted your speech or another party. Without Section 230, the legal risk associated with operating such a service would deter any entrepreneur from starting one.We’ve put together an infographic about how Section 230 works that you can also view to get a quick rundown of how the law protects Internet speech, and a detailed explanation of how Section 230 works for bloggers and comments on blogs, if you’d like to see how this scenario plays out in more detail.Section 230 protects Internet intermediaries—individuals, companies, and organizations that provide a platform for others to share speech and content over the Internet. Online platforms are within their First Amendment rights to moderate their online platforms however they like, and they’re additionally shielded by Section 230 for many types of liability for their users’ speech. Without Section 230, sites that removed sexual content could be held legally responsible for that action, a result that would have made services leery of moderating their users’ content, even if they wanted to create online spaces free of sexual content. One of the reasons why Congress first passed Section 230 was to enable online platforms to engage in good-faith community moderation without fear of taking on undue liability for their users’ posts. A user can be an individual, a nonprofit organization, a university, a small brick-and-mortar business, or, yes, a “tech company.” Legacy news media companies—such as a newspaper publisher—may complain that Section 230 gives online social media platforms extra legal protections and thus an unfair advantage. When a news media entity publishes online, it gets the exact same Section 230 immunity from liability based on publishing someone else’s content that a social media platform gets.The misconception that platforms can somehow lose Section 230 protections for moderating users’ posts has gotten a lot of airtime. And platforms should add features to give users themselves—not platform owners or third parties—more control over what types of posts they see.Some people wrongly think that eliminating Section 230 will fix their (often legitimate) concerns about the dominance of online services like Facebook and Twitter. Section 230 ensures platforms make these choices based on their own calls about what constitutes speech they will not host, not the government’s whims.Now that a few companies have grown to contain a vast majority of user-generated online content, it’s essential that newer, smaller companies be given the same chance to host speech that those companies had fifteen or twenty years ago. The case recognized that Section 230 protected individual digital publishers from liability based on third-party content, a foundational principle that continues to protect individuals and online services today whenever they host or distribute other people’s content online. Though it may be easy to point the finger at the platforms, and by extension, at the law that protects those online services from liability for much of the content that users generate, Section 230 is not the problem. As described above, even without Section 230, online services have a First Amendment right to moderate user-generated content. Take a minute to exercise this right, and share this blog post, so that more people can get a clearer idea of why Section 230 matters, and how it helps the users of Internet services both big and small.San Francisco—Sen. Ron Wyden, a fierce advocate for the rights of technology users, will join EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry on Thursday, December 10, for a livestream fireside chat about the fight to defend freedom of expression and innovation on the web.Wyden is an original framer of Section...Next time you hear someone blame Section 230 for a problem with social media platforms, ask yourself two questions: first, was this problem actually caused by Section 230? The...The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) joined together to file a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the government to obtain records showing whether federal agencies have cut their advertising on social media as part of President Trump’s broad attack on speech-hosting websites he...Special thanks to legal intern Ross Ufberg, who was lead author of this post.A group of organizations and individuals are continuing their fight to overturn the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, known as FOSTA, arguing that the law violates the Constitution in multiple respects.In ...Recently, EFF joined the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and 26 other organizations to send a letter to the Senate opposing the EARN IT Act (S. 3398), asking that the Senate oppose fast tracking the bill, and to vote NO on passage of the bill.As we have ...The Senate Commerce Committee’s Tuesday hearing on the PACT Act and Section 230 was a refreshingly substantive bipartisan discussion about the thorny issues related to how online platforms moderate user content, and to what extent these companies should be held liable for harmful user content.The hearing brought into focus...Back to top

As said here by Jason Kelley