Why do Republicans universally misunderstand Section 230?

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John Q. Public
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Why do Republicans universally misunderstand Section 230?

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The leader of the Republican Party on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act:



The pertinent part of Section 230 says: "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

In short, what it does is protect websites like Facebook, Twitter, Parler and this one from liability for things that their users post. What it doesn't do is prevent sites from having and enforcing rules. Republicans, except for a small handful, seem to think that it does and if a site enforces its rules it becomes a publisher rather than a platform. Censorship, they scream!

Incredibly, what they don't seem to understand - even the lawyers among them - is that repealing the rule would force sites to censor. And it would likely get Trump, various Congresspeople and Senators and their followers banned from Twitter and would likely put Parler out of business, at least if what it claims about a lack of rules is true.

Why is that so hard for them to understand? And what sort of train wrecks can we expect if they're successful in getting it overturned? Moderated Facebook posts, anyone?
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Re: Why do Republicans universally misunderstand Section 230?

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Oh, and apparently Don took the Resolute Desk off Ebay. :thumbsup:
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Re: Why do Republicans universally misunderstand Section 230?

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Huh. I learned that the rule came from the internet's horse and buggy days.
In 1991, a federal court in New York dismissed a lawsuit against an early internet service provider named CompuServe on the grounds that CompuServe couldn’t be held liable for users’ speech because they didn’t exercise any control at all over posted content. Then, in 1995, a New York state court ruled that Prodigy – a competing internet service provider– could be held liable for a user comment because it moderated the message board, removing comments that violated Prodigy’s posting guidelines. Even that small level of control rendered Prodigy liable for its users’ speech.


Taken together, the two rulings put online providers in a difficult dilemma. Let everything in and your service would be quickly swamped with the worst, most vile forms of expression. But if you imposed even modest controls on user content, then you’d be liable for their words. Internet companies were on the verge of being forced to make a stark choice – dive into the sewer or dive into censorship.

https://time.com/5770755/threat-free-speech-online/
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Re: Why do Republicans universally misunderstand Section 230?

Post by Fordama »

John Q. Public wrote: Tue Dec 01, 2020 8:42 pm In short, what it does is protect websites like Facebook, Twitter, Parler and this one from liability for things that their users post.
I've been trying to tell some of my righty friends that if 230 is gone, so is Parler.
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Re: Why do Republicans universally misunderstand Section 230?

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Reading about all of Donald's allegations of allegations and how all of his so-called "evidence" is made-up QAnon nonsense passed along on conspiracy sites and social media, I'm wondering if his efforts to repeal 230 might be a cry for help. Seems to me that making the owners of those sites liable for what's posted on them would put some pretty serious restrictions on the Q pipeline.

If it weren't for that little issue with the 1st Amendment, maybe repealing it wouldn't be such a bad idea.
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Re: Why do Republicans universally misunderstand Section 230?

Post by Hanna »

CBS had an interesting story about it which was quite convincing.



But then I realized that for sites like that one, where people often fire their opinions, it could be dangerous.
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