Hotel industry mounts attack on Airbnb with House bill

The Hill

Steve DelBianco, president of e-commerce trade group NetChoice, which promotes free speech on the internet, called Section 230 “the greatest internet law that no one’s ever heard of.”

He said issues with short-term rentals should be addressed at the local level.

“Congress should not get involved with how the city of Austin, Texas, enforces its lodging and local zoning laws against property owners,” DelBianco said. “But Congress is being pulled into this competitive conflict because Section 230 is a federal law and bars local governments from imposing liability on a platform for commerce and communication that came from users.”

Carl Szabo, NetChoice’s general counsel, argued that Case’s bill would encourage platforms to be less responsive to take down content of bad actors, which is a component of Section 230 and could lead to platforms not doing any moderation at all, similar to how 8chan operates.

“This bill would create disincentives for short term rental platforms to engage in active, aggressive, monitoring of homeowners,” he said.

Like others in the short-term rental lobby, DelBianco said NetChoice plans to educate lawmakers “on the general hazards of punching holes in Section 230.”

How Big Tech Cracks Down on Extremist Content Uploaded by Mass Shooters

Inside Sources

Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel for Big Tech lobbying group NetChoice, said that between July and December 2018, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube “took action against over 11 million accounts that had broken policies on hate speech and extremism.”

“The 11 million accounts, that’s the number you don’t hear about because it’s gone before you even see it,” Szabo told InsideSources. “The large platforms and even the small ones do work really hard to take down harmful content and do that through algorithms and bots, through user tagging, and through manual reviews.”

Don’t Shoot the Message Board – Section 230’s Importance to American Jobs

Read the report

Report: Section 230 Enables American Innovation to Flourish, Igniting Investment Opportunities for Startups

US internet companies are ten times as likely to raise over $100 million in venture capital compared to EU internet platform businesses

WASHINGTON, DC – NetChoice, a trade association committed to make the internet safe for free enterprise and free expression, today hosted the release of a new report – Don’t Shoot the Message Board – revealing the positive economic impact of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act on the US economy and the ability of American companies to innovate and receive strong investments.

Authored by the Copia Institute, the report reveals that US companies are five times as likely to raise over $10 million in venture capital, and ten times as likely to raise over $100 million in venture capital compared to those in the EU. These benefits to the US economy and businesses are attributed to the assurances and broad immunity provided by Section 230.

The report, using cross-regional comparisons, as well as changes over time within certain

countries, explores how different levels of platform protections from liability impact investment and innovation. According to the report:

  • Section 230 continues to enable strong economic growth. There is a direct correlation between countries with intermediary liability protections like Section 230 and economic growth. Over the next decade, Section 230 will contribute a further 4.25 million jobs and $440 billion in growth to the US economy.
  • Section 230 enables a world-leading, innovative and competitive tech industry. After Section 230 was put into law, investment in internet platform businesses tripled.
  • Limits on liability offered by Section 230 resulted in two to three times greater total investment in internet platform businesses in the US as compared to the more limited protections offered in the EU and under the E-Commerce Directive
  • Section 230 is credited with creating “a trillion dollars in value” and is a driver for American job creation.
  • US platform companies are five times as likely to be able to raise significant funds (over $10 million in venture capital) and ten times as likely to raise massive funds (over $100 million in venture capital) due to these stronger protections from Section 230 than those in the European Union.

Mike Masnick, CEO of the Copia Institute, added: “This report reaffirms that Section 230 is vital for strong investments and innovation around the country.”

“With the strong data presented in this report, there is no denying the fact that American innovation and start-up success is directly linked to the confidence provided to investors under Section 230,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel of NetChoice.

“Not only does Section 230 empower communities and voices across the United States, it also ignites American innovation and American economic prosperity with rippling benefits to all that utilize internet-based platforms.”

For more information and a downloadable copy of the report, please visit this webpage.

DMCA Notice and Takedown Just won’t work for Content Moderation

A new argument for “reforming” content moderation law is replacing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act with a Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice and takedown for copyrighted material approach for all content moderation. In essence, the proposal would require platforms like Reddit or Yelp to takedown comments and reviews upon notice from the disparaged party — similar to the notice and take-down model for copyright.

Read more at Medium

Tech Giants Should Have The Freedom To Kick Conservatives Off Their Platforms

This month, conservative senators held a hearing on tech companies “stifling free speech.” Before the hearing, senators read the decision of a Trump-appointed judge in Freedom Watch v. Google — a recent case tackling accusations of bias.

In the case, Judge Trevor McFadden threw out a lawsuit filed by Freedom Watch and activist Laura Loomer against YouTube, Facebook, Apple, and Twitter. Freedom Watch demanded the court stop the platforms from demonetizing and age-rating their content.

Read more at Daily Caller

NetChoice Raises Concerns About Attacks on Platforms’ Ability to Remove Content

Today, NetChoice raised concerns about suggestions made by members of the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee that government should prevent online platforms from removing content they find objectionable ahead of today’s hearing, “Stifling Free Speech: Technological Censorship and the Public Discourse”.

“If we prevent online platforms from removing objectionable content, we risk turning online platforms into 8-Chan,” said Carl Szabo, General Counsel for NetChoice. “Section 230 was specifically created to enable private platforms to remove offensive content.”

“Online platforms have bolstered conservative speech in public discourse, empowering modern conservative thought leaders such as Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson, and Blaire White,” continued Szabo.

“Sen. Cruz is a smart lawyer who surely wants online platforms to remove violent and hateful content, so he’s not really looking to apply the first amendment to private parties.” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice. “Sen. Cruz just wants assurances that online platforms are not curtailing conservative speech. We look forward to today’s witnesses giving him those assurances.”

Politico Morning Tech - Senators Bullish on Robocall Bill

FIRST IN MT: TALK 230 TO ME — E-commerce trade group NetChoice is ramping up its defense of a law that shields companies like Google and Facebook from lawsuits over content on their platforms. The new initiative, called Protect Online Voices, is part of the right-leaning association’s effort to challenge critics who argue tech firms no longer deserve the broad immunity afforded by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The campaign has debuted as a website with information about the law and statements from advocacy groups and lawmakers who back Section 230, including Democrats Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (Calif). It will supplement lobbying that NetChoice and other groups already have underway on the Hill.

The internet industry is hustling to defend Section 230 after Congress passed a law last year making websites liable for facilitating sex trafficking. Both Democrats and Republicans have flirted with additional changes to the law to, for instance, make internet companies more accountable for online opioid sales or restrict them from censoring political speech. Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel at NetChoice, argues that the law is what empowers companies to remove problematic material in the first place. “Before we consider doing anything to undermine that, I think it’s important for people to know what it is,” he said.

FTC Commissioner Chopra Misreads Section 230 on Whether it Applies to Advertising

In his statement at the ABA Antitrust Section Spring Meeting 2019, Commissioner Chopra said, “A company engaged in or benefiting from behavioral advertising is not acting necessarily as a passive conduit…we need to consider whether they have lost Section 230 immunity.”

In one word, no. Commissioner Chopra is wrong in his reading of Section 230of the Communications Decency Act.

In this blog, we’ll show that nothing in the law itself, or the way it’s being interpreted, would suggest that promoted content is not protected by Section 230.

Read more here…