Do you think social media platforms should be liable for their users’ content?
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What is it?
Section 230 in the Communications Decency Act of 1996 is the law responsible for protecting free speech on the internet. Under section 230, providers of online interactive platforms cannot be held legally responsible for information or speech posted on their sites by users.
If interactive platforms were liable for their users' posts, the internet would look very different from how it does today. Hiring lawyers to defend platforms against lawsuits would be prohibitively expensive, and the costs would likely be passed onto users in the form of fees. Platforms that could not afford the initial fees for lawyers might shut down entirely, and all sites would likely, drastically reduce users' freedom of expression.
Why does it matter?
Many low-controversy, day-to-day online interactions are possible because of Section 230. Without section 230, it could be challenging or impossible to access product reviews, online business or work ads, and interact with comedic or parody content online due to potential legal backlash for the platforms hosting the content.
Across the United States, over 239 million internet users would find their online interactions limited without the protection of section 230. To protect themselves against lawsuits, online platforms might severely limit Americans' access to free speech on a major social forum: the internet.