“All posts on 8chan are the responsibility of the individual poster and not the administration of 8chan, pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 230,”reads one line of tiny fine print on the site’s landing page, invoking Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the clause that gives 8chan and other websites legal immunity for user-generated content. The statute has been at the center of a growing debate over whether the legal shield is providing cover to tech companies that need to do more to combat hate speech and disinformation. (Republicans have also floated the idea of weakening 230 because, they say, Google, Facebook and Twitter are biased against conservatives.) The 8chan link to the El Paso shooting could accelerate talk of changing the law. But industry groups argue 230 helps tech platforms police bad content.
“Section 230 empowers platforms to stop the spread of vile content from the dark corners of the Internet,”Carl Szabo, general counsel at NetChoice, told MT.
“Without Section 230, extreme speech would become more prevalent online — not less.”