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…

St Louis Dispatch - Hawley's declarations of independence riling up his party's right wing

“I understand the frustration about the issue, of being concerned that my voice is being de-prioritized,” said Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel for the internet freedom group NetChoice. “But at the same time undermining our conservative values is risky business, because once you hand over this power to the government, you may not like what you get.”

NetChoice Panel – Section 230: Our Internet Depends on It

As Congress considers legislation around privacy initiatives and user created content across platforms, this panel focused on lesser known internet laws that enable the internet of today and user-created content, meaning we have access to a plethora of online services, from big companies and small.

On February 26, we heard from the people behind innovations we use every day like Medium, Patreon, and Wikipedia.

NetChoice Applauds the US Supreme Court’s denial of Certiorari in Online Platform Liability Case

Washington, D.C. – Today, NetChoice applauded the US Supreme Court’s denial of Certiorari in Hassell v. Yelp, Inc, No. 18-506. This denial retains a California State Supreme Court ruling that Section 230 protections prevent Yelp from being held legally liable for negative reviews posted on their site.

“This case shows the importance of Section 230. Without Section 230 Yelp would be held responsible for negative reviews posted on their site — a legal burden that could shut them down,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “Americans increasingly rely on online services like Yelp in their daily lives, services which rely on Section 230 to function.”

NetChoice Concerned By Push for Government Intervention in Barr Confirmation Hearing

Washington, D.C. – Today, NetChoice raised concerns with some Senators’ politically motivated demands to punish the tech industry during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearing of William Barr.

 

“Weaponizing antitrust in order to attack online platforms sets a dangerous precedent,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “Conservatives should turn to market-based solutions to solve perceived problems, not seek more intervention from big government.”

 

“Anyone who’s seen the movie “Vice” knows conservatives like Vice President Dick Cheney fought against the so-called fairness doctrine for broadcast TV.  Only after eliminating “equal time” mandates did we see the rise of conservative voices like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh,” continued Szabo.

 

“An internet unhindered by heavy-handed government regulation continues to help conservative voices be heard online. Had the proposals we heard in today’s confirmation hearing been implemented 10 years ago, modern conservative voices like Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens would likely be no more than whispers.”

The Information - Tech’s Next Big Battle: Protecting Immunity From Content Lawsuits

Groups like NetChoice, a trade association for eCommerce whose clients include Airbnb, Facebook, Google, Twitter and Hotels.com, are educating new and old members of Congress on the history and usefulness of the law.

“Without Section 230, we couldn’t have Yelp reviews. We couldn’t have services like Patreon or GoFundMe or websites like NextDoor,” said Carl Szabo, president of NetChoice, in an interview with The Information. “This is the most important law for the internet that no one has ever heard of.”

Disruptive Competitive Project - Crucial USMCA Intermediary Protections Are Consistent with U.S. Law

Disruptive Competitive Project – Crucial USMCA Intermediary Protections Are Consistent with U.S. Law

However, this progress has been criticized by a handful of commentators who are under the misimpression that inclusion of these longstanding protections will lead to political bias, or represent a departure from current U.S. law.  (For more on why neither Section 230 nor the USMCA provision are enablers of political bias, see this post by NetChoice’s Carl Szabo.)

The Kansas City Star - Josh Hawley’s war against Big Tech could bring down small startups

The Kansas City Star – Josh Hawley’s war against Big Tech could bring down small startups

Also available in the Miami Herald, and the Sacramento Bee

Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel of the tech industry group NetChoice, said that rolling back the law would make it nearly impossible for some internet startups to operate.

“The liability would just be too great to the point where only incumbents with armies of lawyers and dollars could even conceive of operating,” he said.

“Digital Deceit II” Debunked

“Digital Deceit II” Debunked

After misstating the nonexistent problems of tech platforms, “Digital Deceit II” then puts forward solutions that will only cause more problems.

There is a disconnect between privileged elites in Washington and the rest of the country.

Americans value online platforms as a way for them to truly be a part of the internet revolution. Lawmakers and policy professionals in D.C. must recognize that. By pointing out the problems with this paper, we hope that more DC groups will start listing to Americans beyond the beltway.