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posted ago by redpillschool +42 / -2

I've seen a lot of talk here and other forums that tend to lean right, that they want to either abolish Section 230 or configure it in such a way that sites have to earn permission for such protections.

Among other attempts at reigning in 230 is the EARN-IT act, which on its surface, looks like a way to finally get social media in line by making 230 protections conditional, requiring compliance, checks, and hoops that need to be jumped. EARN IT uses the age-old tactic of "think of the children" by making is specifically about online child sexual prevention, but it's far more insidious than that.

What is Section 230?

In brief, section 230 gives website owners protection against direct liability for what users post on their sites, by attributing such content to the authors of the content rather than the party which hosts the public forum.

It gives companies and websites leeway to operate in "good faith" to remove content they believe "provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected;"

This works well in conjunction with the DMCA, which puts a process into place to protect providers who operate in good faith to remove copyrighted material in a timely manner immunity to copyright infringement claims.

Without these two protections, websites such as kia2, trp.red, thedonald, etc, would be legal liabilities to the site runners, if posting by anonymous users were to continue to be allowed.

What would happen if 230 were revoked?

If 230 were revoked in its entirety, then most of the web would be shuttered instantaneously. Hobby sites and projects with little funding would not have the resources to defend against legal actions taken against them, nor would they have the resources to inspect each and every thing users contributed before publishing live to the net.

Understand that even with a large enough team to inspect 100% of content before it goes live, you stand risk of mistakes getting through, content your moderators didn't know was a legal liability at the time- such as libel, copyright infringement, threats, etc.

While on the surface it appears that revoking 230 would take away the prerogative of site runners to subjectively moderate the content, it also moves the liability of said content to the site runner as though they are a publisher rather than a platform.

Even if 230 were simply elevated to be "earned" rather than given, the extra costs for applications, overhead for legal work, and risk of losing accreditation would likely affect smaller sites disproportionately.

Why does Facebook, Twitter, etc want this?

It's called regulatory capture. They are currently the titans in their fields. It would take a huge effort to overtake them. They have resources to handle increased regulations, it's very likely bills like Earn it were drafted by lobbyists directly on the payroll of Facebook or Twitter, etc.

The big tech companies have the staff to monitor every post. It will require hiring a few new people, but the cost they will endure is nothing compared to the money long-term they will make simply by being a monopoly when no other startups can afford it.

Like the banking industry, they like the big fees and hurdles to get to the position they're in because it secures their position against upstarts.

The more regulation, the harder it is for smaller upstarts to take root. They bet on this.

Right now, if you don't like big tech, you are free to open your own site. TRP.red, the win communities, seddit, voat, these are all examples of a free and open internet.

Revoking 230 will kill these smaller websites, while big tech will flourish. Censorship will be much worse when there are no places for alternative ideas.

Revoking 230 is absolutely the worst way to solve this problem. I guarantee you the strong push for it by the right is from astroturfers and swamp republicans trying to make you believe it's in your own interest.

It absolutely is not.

I've seen a lot of talk here and other forums that tend to lean right, that they want to either abolish Section 230 or configure it in such a way that sites have to earn permission for such protections. Among other attempts at reigning in 230 is the EARN-IT act, which on its surface, looks like a way to finally get social media in line by making 230 protections conditional, requiring compliance, checks, and hoops that need to be jumped. EARN IT uses the age-old tactic of "think of the children" by making is specifically about online child sexual prevention, but it's far more insidious than that. **What is Section 230?** In brief, section 230 gives website owners protection against direct liability for what users post on their sites, by attributing such content to the authors of the content rather than the party which hosts the public forum. It gives companies and websites leeway to operate in "good faith" to remove content they believe "provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected;" This works well in conjunction with the DMCA, which puts a process into place to protect providers who operate in good faith to remove copyrighted material in a timely manner immunity to copyright infringement claims. Without these two protections, websites such as kia2, trp.red, thedonald, etc, would be legal liabilities to the site runners, if posting by anonymous users were to continue to be allowed. **What would happen if 230 were revoked?** If 230 were revoked in its entirety, then most of the web would be shuttered instantaneously. Hobby sites and projects with little funding would not have the resources to defend against legal actions taken against them, nor would they have the resources to inspect each and every thing users contributed before publishing live to the net. Understand that even with a large enough team to inspect 100% of content before it goes live, you stand risk of mistakes getting through, content your moderators didn't know was a legal liability at the time- such as libel, copyright infringement, threats, etc. While on the surface it appears that revoking 230 would take away the prerogative of site runners to subjectively moderate the content, it also moves the liability of said content to the site runner as though they are a publisher rather than a platform. Even if 230 were simply elevated to be "earned" rather than given, the extra costs for applications, overhead for legal work, and risk of losing accreditation would likely affect smaller sites disproportionately. **Why does Facebook, Twitter, etc want this?** It's called regulatory capture. They are currently the titans in their fields. It would take a huge effort to overtake them. They have resources to handle increased regulations, it's very likely bills like Earn it were drafted by lobbyists directly on the payroll of Facebook or Twitter, etc. The big tech companies have the staff to monitor every post. It will require hiring a few new people, but the cost they will endure is nothing compared to the money long-term they will make simply by being a monopoly when no other startups can afford it. Like the banking industry, they like the big fees and hurdles to get to the position they're in because it secures their position against upstarts. The more regulation, the harder it is for smaller upstarts to take root. They bet on this. Right now, if you don't like big tech, you are free to open your own site. TRP.red, the win communities, seddit, voat, these are all examples of a free and open internet. Revoking 230 will kill these smaller websites, while big tech will flourish. Censorship will be much worse when there are no places for alternative ideas. Revoking 230 is absolutely the worst way to solve this problem. I guarantee you the strong push for it by the right is from astroturfers and swamp republicans trying to make you believe it's in your own interest. It absolutely is not.
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19
Ahaus667 19 points ago +19 / -0

Reworking is a win win for big tech, it gives them unilateral cause for censorship and allows them to squish any upstarts. The only way reworking would benefit all is attaching first admendment riders like with public colleges, since you are granted exemptions by the US Gov for liability, you should also be bound by the US Gov for freedom of speech, otherwise you are editorializing content and no longer a platform.

3
TentElephant 3 points ago +5 / -2

Every US Gov anti-trust action is a win for the monied interests of the industry it is ostensibly against.