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What Is Section 230? What Can We Do About It?

Have you heard of the Communications Decency Act of 1996? If you have, you may or may not know everything it wrote into law. But you’ve most likely heard of a little code inside called Section 230. What is it? Well, let’s take a look at the actual law

Contents of Section 230

  • It’s a piece of legislation that allows for “‘Good Samaritan’ blocking and screening of offensive material.”
  • The provider (i.e. Twitter, Instagram) or user (you) won’t be treated as the publisher of something that someone else posted.
  • And the provider can’t get in trouble for restricting access to content that they consider to be “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing or otherwise objectionable.”
  • They also note that this can happen even if the speech is protected by the Constitution. 

What are the thoughts from both sides of the aisle?

Social media companies are private, so, in theory, they should be able to monitor what happens on their platforms. They don’t want to be held accountable for crimes being committed in their public forum. But everyone’s on social media now. Is there a free speech line being crossed if your ideas are “otherwise objectionable” to the provider? People on the left and right have spoken against Section 230, but it’s difficult to regulate the internet. Can they agree on how to reform it without infringing on free speech? Is there a line? Check out the video to see where our Millennial Minute guests stand.

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