National Review: There’s Nothing Wrong with Section 230

National Review: There’s Nothing Wrong with Section 230. “On Saturday, Nate Hochman argued in these pages that, in order to ‘secure a wider sphere of political liberty,’ the time has come for a ‘narrowing’ or ‘repealing’ of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. Hochman is wrong on the merits, wrong on the detail, and wrong in his underlying implication, which is that the social-media companies he wishes to control are ‘state-sanctioned actor[s].’” I often hear people with lives ask what the big deal is about Section 230. This editorial is a decent overview of potential problems should it be revoked/narrowed. That said, Internet moderation is a complex and frustrating issue and if you change your mind about it ten times in fifteen minutes I don’t blame you.

Opinion: It’s time to stand up to Facebook (Washington Post)

Washington Post: Opinion: It’s time to stand up to Facebook. “The courts may address whether Facebook overstepped existing laws, but it is up to Congress and the White House to decide if it is time to remove social media’s legal exemption from liability for posts on its platform. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act specifies, ‘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.’ The question now is: If the companies are unable or unwilling to stop churning disinformation and hate in service of profits, why should they get this legal free ride?”

Houston Public Media: Texas Senate Passes Bill That Would Punish Social Media Companies For Alleged Political Censorship

Houston Public Media: Texas Senate Passes Bill That Would Punish Social Media Companies For Alleged Political Censorship. “Texas is poised to punish social media companies for alleged censorship of political views after the state Senate passed House Bill 20 on a mostly party line vote of 17-14. Republican state Sen. Bryan Hughes of Mineola, the Senate sponsor, argued that social media platforms are, in effect, common carriers – like phone companies and cable carriers – and should be treated as such from the standpoint of the First Amendment.”

Beyond Social Media: The Full Context of Section 230 (Educause)

Educause: Beyond Social Media: The Full Context of Section 230. “On July 23, the Internet Infrastructure Coalition (i2Coalition), a trade association for companies that provide the technical infrastructure and services through which the internet operates (e.g., data centers, web hosting companies, domain registrars, and cloud infrastructure providers), held an online panel discussion to explore what Section 230 liability protection means in relation to how the broader internet functions.”

Techdirt: Changing Section 230 Won’t Make The Internet A Kinder, Gentler Place

Techdirt: Changing Section 230 Won’t Make The Internet A Kinder, Gentler Place. “Users dedicated to spreading lies or hateful content are a tiny minority, but weakening Section 230 will make their job easier. When content moderation doesn’t go their way—and it usually doesn’t—they’re willing to sue. As the cases below show, Section 230 is rightfully used to quickly dismiss their lawsuits. If lawmakers weaken Section 230, these meritless suits will linger in court longer, costing online services more and making them leery of moderate the speech of known litigious users. That result could make it easier for these users to spread lies online.”

Courthouse News Service: Ninth Circuit Revives Suit Against Social Media Giants Over Nightclub Terror Attack

Courthouse News Service: Ninth Circuit Revives Suit Against Social Media Giants Over Nightclub Terror Attack. “A Ninth Circuit panel on Tuesday largely answered the question of whether social media networks can be held liable for terror attacks around the world: they can’t. Unless the families of victims can show — as they may have in one case — that the tech giants knowingly allow terrorist groups to create and maintain public accounts and turning a deaf ear to complaints. But the panel also said it’s time for either the executive or legislative branches to do something about unregulated social media networks and the broad immunity provided them under the Communications Decency Act of 1996.”

NBC News: Zuckerberg calls for changes to tech’s Section 230 protections

NBC News: Zuckerberg calls for changes to tech’s Section 230 protections. “The proposal, which Zuckerberg will present during his testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday, would raise the bar for social media companies that are currently granted immunity from liability for the content that appears on their platforms.” So giant companies which have a leg up in development and resources sail onward while smaller social networks are crushed by compliance costs.

New York Times: Tech’s Legal Shield Appears Likely to Survive as Congress Focuses on Details

New York Times: Tech’s Legal Shield Appears Likely to Survive as Congress Focuses on Details. “Former President Donald J. Trump called multiple times for repealing the law that shields tech companies from legal responsibility over what people post. President Biden, as a candidate, said the law should be ‘revoked.’ But the lawmakers aiming to weaken the law have started to agree on a different approach. They are increasingly focused on eliminating protections for specific kinds of content rather than making wholesale changes to the law or eliminating it entirely.”

Arizona State University: What the future of online content moderation might look like

Arizona State University: What the future of online content moderation might look like. “Future Tense, a partnership between New America, Slate and Arizona State University, recently brought together experts and professionals in the technology and public policy space to discuss the future of online content moderation and what it might look like in the coming years. During a conversation with Jennifer Daskal, New America ASU Future Security Fellow and professor and faculty director of the Tech, Law and Security Program at American University, technology policy leaders and professionals offered suggestions on what they think the Biden administration can do to promote effective online content moderation while remaining ethical and promoting growth and vigorous, free discourse on the internet.”

The Week: How to bring back the old internet

The Week: How to bring back the old internet. “People who grew up with the internet of the 1990s probably remember forums — those clunky, lo-fi spaces where people came together to argue about cars, cycling, video games, cooking, or a million other topics. They had their problems, but in retrospect the internet of those days felt like a magical land of possibility, not a place for organizing pogroms. What killed most forums is the same thing that killed local journalism across the country, and has turned the internet into a cesspool of abuse, racism, and genocidal propaganda: corporate monopolies.”

Bloomberg Opinion: The danger in Twitter, Facebook defining the truth

Bloomberg Opinion via Stars and Stripes: The danger in Twitter, Facebook defining the truth. “It’s true that misinformation is rampant online. One is reminded of what Isaac Asimov called Gennerat’s Law: ‘The falsely dramatic drives out the truly dull.’ There’s a lot of the falsely dramatic floating around out there, and people tend to gravitate toward the bits that make the other side look worse. Nevertheless, the tech giants, by passing judgment on what’s too unreliable to be seen, are taking tentative steps down a road that’s rarely led anywhere good.”

Vox: 5 fact-checks from the Senate’s hearing on social media

Vox: 5 fact-checks from the Senate’s hearing on social media. “Some Democrats at the hearing — and many outside observers — have written off the hearing as political theater orchestrated by conservatives days ahead of the election to intimidate these companies so they avoid fact-checking Trump or conservative disinformation campaigns. But Republicans argued that allegations of bias are critical and valid, and that they need to be swiftly addressed.”