Facebook, Section 230, and how we all might be affected

Oh!

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What's to stop Freakbook or Google from buying one of the mboard publishers like XF or InvisionBoard? Zuck could make an offer that's hard to refuse to the owners of the forum software companies.
Facebook will buy businesses which they they think will either improve their core products (or expend upon them in a useful way); or because they view the business as (potential future) competition. But given Facebook are already being sued up and down the US for antitrust violations, they will not be buying out anyone they can safely ignore. They more businesses they acquire, the greater legal (antitrust) jeopardy for them.
 

Nev_Dull

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That is to say, all US-based social media companies would need to find another country to register their business to avoid insurmountable legal liabilities.
This doesn't follow. If 230 went away, facebook, et al, would simply establish a new set of terms and conditions, shifting any responsibility for content to the users. Certainly they have the wherewithal to push through legislation to keep them safe.

They certainly wouldn't relocate to somewhere in Europe where they would have to pay much higher taxes, or someplace like China where the government would have more control over the platform.
 

Pete

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They certainly wouldn't relocate to somewhere in Europe where they would have to pay much higher taxes

...or have higher standards of data security and protection to adhere to. They don't like having to deal with the EU laws much as it is.
 

Oh!

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...or have higher standards of data security and protection to adhere to. They don't like having to deal with the EU laws much as it is.
I think, so far, the EU have taken a reasonably pragmatic approach to Internet regulations. They seem to understand what is practical, business interests, and have not - for example - enforced large swaths of the GDPR upon smaller businesses and not-for-profit websites (like the vast majority of hobby forums). But, of course, we cannot be certain of anything going forward - I would not necessarily assume that the EU always would be an alternative safe haven.
 

Nev_Dull

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Either, Facebook (and all of us ) would never attempt to perform any moderation of any content; or perform even a single act of moderation and be potentially liable for all user-generated content on the platform/forum we operate. It is crazy, but that was the state of play (case law) before Section 230.
I think you might be underestimating the collective power of the social media platforms.

It's also perhaps important to point out that case law is only valid until another precedent is set. Maybe hanging on to S230 isn't necessarily the right course of action. You can stick your finger in the duck to plug the hole, but all that ****e will continue to build up.

Times have (hopefully) changed a bit and perhaps the courts are less willing to look favourably on greed-inspired litigation. The best way to change the law for the better is to put it to the test in the courts.
 

Oh!

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I think you might be underestimating the collective power of the social media platforms.

It's also perhaps important to point out that case law is only valid until another precedent is set. Maybe hanging on to S230 isn't necessarily the right course of action. You can stick your finger in the duck to plug the hole, but all that ****e will continue to build up.

Times have (hopefully) changed a bit and perhaps the courts are less willing to look favourably on greed-inspired litigation. The best way to change the law for the better is to put it to the test in the courts.
I posted this earlier to in thread; it is not long and really is worth the read. Section 230 was created because the Constitution, existing statute and case law lead to a position where any platform provider (at any level of the Internet) would either not moderate content at all, or else be potentially liable for all content created through their systems by third-parties. Legislators (correctly) reasoned that the existing paradigm would stifle innovation of the Internet. Section 230 was the fix.

 

Nev_Dull

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So you're saying it's 230 or the end of the internet? There's no other possible solution.
 

Pete

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So you're saying it's 230 or the end of the internet? There's no other possible solution.
It would get rid of a lot of the advertising if the US withdrew from the internet. I suspect the remaining 95% of the world’s population wouldn’t see much difference though.
 

Oh!

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So you're saying it's 230 or the end of the internet? There's no other possible solution.
No, not all. What I am saying is that there was a problem in the early to mid 90s in the US because of (then) recent case law. It required a fix through federal legislation. And Section 230 was the fix. If 230 goes away, there would need to be something comparable to replace it. And, this is particular to US-based companies. If 230 was repealed (because legislators do not understand the consequences of this action), it would require a very quick fix or social media companies would have to move their businesses abroad. No Section 230 (or similar) - no social media businesses in the US. I have linked to the EFF (short) article several times - it explains the problem and why 230 was essential for the development of the Internet (in the US).
 

Nev_Dull

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I have read that article and the way I read it, 230 WAS the quick fix rather than a solution for the base problem (greedy litigators).

If 230 was repealed (because legislators do not understand the consequences of this action), it would require a very quick fix or social media companies would have to move their businesses abroad.
Perhaps they do understand the consequences and want to move to a different sort of resolution. You assume 230 (or something similar) is the only answer. As for the rest, I don't agree. Where exactly would these companies move to where they had the same level of power and influence? It would be madness to move somewhere they were less important. I don't think any of these companies would make such a move lightly. But assuming facebook, for example, decided to pack up and move it's operation to Greenland. Why would that matter? Are you saying the law should be held hostage by the desires of social media companies?

This is a bit of an aside, but I find it odd in a country where people put such emphasis on their right to "free speech", that there is so little desire for personal consequences. Putting in place a law that made the individual liable for what they write online would solve a lot of the problems.
 

zappaDPJ

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If I walk into a room and say something really, really bad to a group of people, who is responsible? Me? The room? The owner of the room?

Just a thought :)
 

mysiteguy

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It would get rid of a lot of the advertising if the US withdrew from the internet. I suspect the remaining 95% of the world’s population wouldn’t see much difference though.

Post a source for this.
 

mysiteguy

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I have read that article and the way I read it, 230 WAS the quick fix rather than a solution for the base problem (greedy litigators).


Perhaps they do understand the consequences and want to move to a different sort of resolution. You assume 230 (or something similar) is the only answer. As for the rest, I don't agree. Where exactly would these companies move to where they had the same level of power and influence? It would be madness to move somewhere they were less important. I don't think any of these companies would make such a move lightly. But assuming facebook, for example, decided to pack up and move it's operation to Greenland. Why would that matter? Are you saying the law should be held hostage by the desires of social media companies?

This is a bit of an aside, but I find it odd in a country where people put such emphasis on their right to "free speech", that there is so little desire for personal consequences. Putting in place a law that made the individual liable for what they write online would solve a lot of the problems.
People in the USA are liable for what they say online, and there's plenty of case law precedent. It's just a matter of if it's worth pursuing, since it's usually something that is dealt with in courts of equity rather than courts of law, and that's expensive.
 

Pete

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Post a source for this.
A source for the “the US is only 4% of the world’s population”? Or a source for a somewhat flippant response to the hyperbole of “if there is no S230, there is no internet”?
 

Nev_Dull

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People in the USA are liable for what they say online, and there's plenty of case law precedent. It's just a matter of if it's worth pursuing, since it's usually something that is dealt with in courts of equity rather than courts of law, and that's expensive.
Exactly. And that leads back to the real issue of greedy litigators. So really, Section 230 is there to protect multi-billion corporations like facebook from lawsuits. A small forum, like an individual, isn't worth the trouble to sue, so the existence of S230 doesn't matter to Joe's Forum, or Sally's blog.
 

Oh!

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Exactly. And that leads back to the real issue of greedy litigators. So really, Section 230 is there to protect multi-billion corporations like facebook from lawsuits. A small forum, like an individual, isn't worth the trouble to sue, so the existence of S230 doesn't matter to Joe's Forum, or Sally's blog.
Hi Nev_Dull,

I don't know how else to explain this. Yes, Section 230 is there protect US companies who host content at all levels on the Internet. This includes the large webhosting companies, social media platforms, and even your ISP. It also protects independent forum and blog owners from being sued because of potentially libelous or illegal content poster by members/commenters. Section 230 makes the individual who posts content solely responsible for their actions, not the operator of the systems used by the errant poster.
 
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mysiteguy

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A source for the “the US is only 4% of the world’s population”? Or a source for a somewhat flippant response to the hyperbole of “if there is no S230, there is no internet”?

A source for data suggesting most Internet advertising would go away?
 

Nev_Dull

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Section 230 makes the individual who posts content solely responsible for their actions, not the operator of the systems used by the errant poster.
That's interesting information. I've not seen that stated in anything I've read on S230.

However, that leads to some more confusion for me. Why is it then that a site like Parler was taken down if it was the posters, not the site, who were responsible for the content. (I'm not making any comment on whether it should have been axed or not.) Yes, I know the reason given was to do with its provider's terms of service, but that doesn't make sense, given S230's role in protecting sites. Or can terms of service supersede the protections of federal law? If that's the case, I don't see 230 being more useful than well-crafted terms and conditions.
 

mysiteguy

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That's interesting information. I've not seen that stated in anything I've read on S230.

However, that leads to some more confusion for me. Why is it then that a site like Parler was taken down if it was the posters, not the site, who were responsible for the content. (I'm not making any comment on whether it should have been axed or not.) Yes, I know the reason given was to do with its provider's terms of service, but that doesn't make sense, given S230's role in protecting sites. Or can terms of service supersede the protections of federal law? If that's the case, I don't see 230 being more useful than well-crafted terms and conditions.

One is government action, the other is private business. If a private business chooses policies that a client violates it, they have every right to toss them.

It's like the government not controlling speech, but I can instruct you can't say certain things in my home or I'll toss you out.

There's too much conflating the public and private sector here.
 
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