Trump’s latest attack on Section 230 is really about censoring speech.
By Casey Newton @CaseyNewton Sep 9, 2020, 6:00am EDT
Both President Trump and Joe Biden have called for the end of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech companies in most cases when their users post something illegal on their platforms.
The reason Twitter (usually) leaves phony pictures like that up is that the United States permits its citizens to speak freely about politicians
It might, however, make Twitter legally liable for what its users post — which would lead the company to remove more speech, not less.
Paul Barrett at the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights looks at the origins and evolution of Section 230, evaluates both partisan and nonpartisan critiques, and offers a handful of solutions.
Section 230 has allowed platforms to under-invest in content moderation in basically every dimension, and the cost of the resulting externalities has been borne by society at large.
Barrett writes (PDF):
Ellen P. Goodman, a law professor at Rutgers University specializing in information policy, approaches the problem from another angle. She suggests that Section 230 asks for too little — nothing, really — in return for the benefit it provides. “Lawmakers,” she writes, “could use Section 230 as leverage to encourage platforms to adopt a broader set of responsibilities.” <snip>