What Exactly Is Section 230, And How Can It Be Used To Stop Big Tech?
Section 230 of The U.S. Communications Regulatory Act :
Back in 1996, when the infamous Bill ‘SuckMyWeenie‘ Clinton was the President of The United States, he signed what was known as the Telecommunications Act. What exactly is it? Some have described it as “a watershed in the old and new communications worlds of the United States.” The point of the act was to promote, develop, and use new technologies by stripping away regulatory boundaries to competition in the telecommunications market. For the reason of controlling obscene and violent content, in part of the Telecommunications Act, it creates the Communications Regulation Act (Communications Decency Act – CDA).
The first part of the Communications Regulation Act states that any person or persons who distribute, transmit or provide (through the internet) images and/or other materials containing nasty or obscene acts or text, requests, suggestions, images, video or information, to a person or persons under the age of 18 years old, shall be held criminally responsible. The 2nd part of the regulation act, is Section 230.
Section 230 is broken down into 3 paragraphs, and contains the following :
- Paragraph (a) states that rapidly developing interactive computer services have provided citizens with tremendous convenience in accessing information resources, providing greater access to political life, cultural development, and intellectual activity, making people increasingly dependent on the Internet for political, educational, cultural, and recreational purposes.
- Paragraph (b) states that it is the fundamental policy of the United States to promote the development of Internet technology and the free and active market for it, while also establishing blocking and filtering technologies to protect children from objectionable information.
- Paragraph (c), “Protection of ‘good Samaritans’ (good Samaritans is a Christian allegorical term that refers to people who do good deeds)”, provides that
- (1) Neither the user nor the provider of the network service shall be considered as the publisher or spokesperson of other content providers and shall not be liable for the content provided by third parties.
- (2) The provider of the network service shall not be liable for any acts taken in good faith in response to violent or pornographic content, nor shall it be liable for providing technical measures that restrict access to the uploader of the network content.
Since it’s been almost 25 years since the original Section 230 was written, many feel it needs to be revised and updated due to the immense changes in technology and the internet. On September 23rd, 2020, the DOJ introduced amendments to Section 230. The changes consisted of closing the exemptions that exist for online platforms, and the ability that allows them to censor content based on their own personal guidelines.
Because these entities fall under the category of ‘platforms’, and not ‘publishers’, it allows them the freedom to censor what ever they want. Some examples of this happening are with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other large ‘top of the chain’ industry leaders. The movement to alter Section 230 came hard when those said above entities started to inject their influence into the most recent 2020 Presidential Elections.
I personally am not sure about ‘ending’ Section 230, but I definitely believe that it needs to be changed, at a minimum, so that these powerful Big Tech leaders can stop their bias censorship of American Citizens that disagree with the platform’s point of views. … What do YOU think? Please tell us in the comments below.