What is section 230 and “can it be abolished”?


An aging The U.S. law, which helped Facebook, Twitter and YouTube gain ground, came under the spotlight again this week after President Donald Trump said it should be “abolished.”

The legal provision, section 230 of the Communications Fairness Act 1996, faces growing resistance on both sides of the political divide, despite the fact that social media and technology giants claim that this is vital to their survival.

Section 230 provides a degree of exemption for websites uploaded to content uploaded by third parties – be it social media posts, classifieds or user reviews.

It provides “bona fide” websites with protection against the removal of any objectionable material, whether or not it is “constitutionally protected.” The law is broad, saying the rules apply to any “interactive computer service provider or user.”

However, section 230 does not provide full comprehensive protection and exemptions apply, which means that criminal and intellectual property litigation is possible.

What does legalese mean in reality? This means that platforms can allow users to post status updates, product brochures, forum posts, or upload videos without having to consult a veterinarian. live approve the content and may incur litigation without fear.

Theoretically, the lack of Article 230 protection would mean that websites and users would have to aggressively watch online content – a radically different business model in mainstream social media or technology companies built around user-generated content on a single wall. via or subscriber service.

“Given the sheer size of user-generated websites, it’s impossible for online intermediaries to prevent objectionable content from appearing on their site,” explains the electronic border protection organization, a digital rights organization.

“Instead of being potentially responsible for users’ actions, most people probably don’t store user content at all, or they have to protect themselves by actively participating in censorship of what we say, what we see and what we do online.”

Although called the backbone of the modern Internet, there is a growing call among Democrats and Republicans to repeal or reform the provision.

Although they have different reasons, both Donald Trump and the President-elect, Joe Biden, both voiced their view that Article 230 should be withdrawn.

Trump suggested that social sites censor conservative voices, including his own, while Biden said earlier. The New York Times the law had to be changed as platforms played a key role in spreading misinformation about viruses.

Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) tweeted In May, Facebook and Twitter will be considered publishers if they continue to be “edited and censored.”

That same month, President Trump issued an enforcement order stating that Article 230 needed to be clarified because social networks were now too strong.

It wrote: “Section 230 was not intended to grow from a handful of companies to Titans who control the vital paths of our national discourse under the guise of promoting open forums of discussion and then grant a comprehensive exemption to these behemoths when they use their power. the content and quiet points of view that they don’t like. ”

Mark is Facebook CEO Zuckerberg , CEO of Google Sundar Pichai Jack Dorsey and Twitter CEO testified in the Trade, Science and Transport Committee last month at a hearing that questioned whether 230 immunities allowed for “bad” behavior . “

Of the three, it was Zuckerberg who supported updating the law, noting that politicians on both sides were “dissatisfied with the status quo.”

“I think Congress needs to update the law to make sure it works as intended. We support the ideas around transparency and industrial cooperation that are being discussed in some of the current bipartisan proposals.” Zuckerberg he said, adding that he was “ready to work with Congress” to shape future regulation.

It remains to be seen whether the Internet law will “be abolished” under the incoming Biden government, as Trump urges. As Reuters noted, only Congress can change Article 230. Although there are suggestions, a decision is not expected until next year.

Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Ajit Pai on October 15, he said his agency “has the legal authority to interpret Article 230,” but it is unclear whether there is any change and the move has been criticized by Democrats.

As he remarked A Wall Street Journal On Thursday, the decision now depends on Biden’s FCC election. The President-elect did not formally propose the repeal of Rule 230.

And although there seems to be a consensus among politicians that certain aspects need to be clarified, it is clear that a broad agreement in Congress is unlikely.

“Its complete withdrawal is not viable,” the MP said Anna Eshoo (D-CA) said last month, although it acknowledged that “be on the agenda for the next Congress. “

Ron Democrat is a Democratic senator Wyden , who was originally a co-author of the 1996 provision, blew up Republicans ’arguments for repealing the section 230 provision after the trio of technology giants ac ongressional commission next October 28.

“I don’t think my Republican colleagues have read the first amendment, let alone section 230. Their obsession with forcing private companies to print misinformation, lies and hate speech is unconstitutional.” Wyden said in a statement.

Experts said earlier Newsweek it is unlikely that Article 230 will be repealed and will instead see amendments or clarifications to the current provision.

Angelo Carusone , The custodian CEO of Media Mattes said Newsweek: “Amendments or additional laws that provide both legal protection for negligence in dealing with extremism, dangerous misinformation, and other unauthorized activities, as well as liability for breach of warranties, are highly likely.”

President Donald Trump will address the White House Diplomatic Hall at Thanksgiving on November 26, 2020 in Washington DC. Trump suggested that Article 230 be “abolished” for reasons of national security. Erin Schaff – Pool / Getty