Content Moderation

08/03/2021

NetChoice Releases Final Video in 2021 Section 230 Series: “A World Without Section 230

Robert Winterton
Robert Winterton Director of Public Affairs

Today’s internet lets each of us, and our families, friends, and neighbors connect and communicate in real time. Thanks to the internet, Americans create, upload, and share billions of pieces of user-generated content from recipes and vacation photos to GoFundMe Pages and real estate listings. Most of this wouldn’t be possible without digital platforms that enable users to create and share their content.

That’s where Section 230 comes in. Under Section 230, content creators, not the platforms they use, are responsible for their content. This common sense liability principle gives platforms reassurance that they can host user content without prior approval (which would be impossible to do with billions of pieces of content every day). The new NetChoice video seeks to explain all this, and to show how a world without Section 230 brings us closer to an internet without user-generated content.

“Section 230 has democratized the internet by giving all Americans, regardless of their skill level, the ability to create, share, and digest content,” said Robert Winterton, Director of Public Affairs at NetChoice. “Losing the ability to moderate content means losing the opportunity to discuss and engage with communities online.”

“Given the new House Energy & Commerce package of 32 different model legislation, it’s clear we need to preserve digital free speech and properly vet any proposals that could affect it,” said Winterton. “Otherwise, what we could see is a state-run internet where all kinds of lawful and helpful speech disappear because awful but lawful content from provocateurs, trolls, and other bad apples drown out wholesome content from the rest of us. An overhaul of Section 230 would spell disaster for many critical nonprofits and advocacy organizations that harness the power of online forums every day.”You can find the video on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

In the NetChoice video we highlight that:

  • Section 230 enshrines the idea that users should be held legally responsible for what they post rather than the website they post it on.
  • Without Section 230, Americans would have fewer locations to share online.
  • Small businesses will likely lose access to customers and digital marketplaces without Section 230.
  • Prior amendments to Section 230 resulted in harm to vulnerable communities.

NetChoice is a trade association that works to fight for free expression and free enterprise online.

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