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Section 230

Social Media Not About Publisher Versus Platform, Says Expert Author on Section 230

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Screenshot of Jeff Kosseff, author of The Twenty-Six Words that Created the Internet, courtesy of C-Span

July 13, 2020 — Social media moderation will inevitably be biased to some degree, said Jeff Kosseff, assistant professor of cybersecurity law at the United States Naval Academy and author of The Twenty-Six Words that Created the Internet.

“I mean, they’re anecdotal reports, and what the anecdotal reports say to me is these are really hard decisions,” Kosseff said in a Lincoln Network webinar Monday. “Again, moderation will be biased to some degree, and a lot of the moderation decisions are no brainers — things that are clearly illegal… but when it gets to things that are legal speech, constitutionally-protected… that’s where it gets hard.”

Kosseff said that while he is open to listening to such anecdotal reports of bias, he has not yet seen evidence of systemic prejudice against conservatives.

“I have not seen any aggregate statistical evidence of that — but that’s not to rule out that it doesn’t happen,” he said. “This is where a fact would be really, really useful in the debate.”

Arguments about Section 230 that include lines about publisher versus platform distinctions are incorrect, Kosseff explained.

“It’s not from the text of Section 230,” he said. “The publisher/platform distinction, that’s really something that has materialized in the recent debate about Section 230 in the past few years.”

Kosseff said that a more accurate distinction would be between publisher and distributor.

“A distributor is someone who distributes someone else’s content like a bookstore, and they become liable if they [distribute illegal materials],” he said. “But a publisher, something like a newpaper’s letter to the editor page isn’t strictly liable.”

Section 230 is crucial to internet freedom, Kosseff claimed.

“My personal opinion is that Section 230 is an incredibly important law,” he said. “And I’m actually surprised that it’s taken this long for there to be public attention to it.”

Elijah Labby was a Reporter with Broadband Breakfast. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and now resides in Orlando, Florida. He studies political science at Seminole State College, and enjoys reading and writing fiction (but not for Broadband Breakfast).

Section 230

Companies May Hesitate Bringing Section 230 Arguments in Court Fearing Political Ramifications: Lawyers

Legal experts say changing views on Section 230 will make platforms less willing to employ that defense in future cases.

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Carrie Goldberg, founder of C.A. Goldberg law firm

July 13, 2020 — Social media moderation will inevitably be biased to some degree, said Jeff Kosseff, assistant professor of cybersecurity law at the United States Naval Academy and author of The Twenty-Six Words that Created the Internet.

“I mean, they’re anecdotal reports, and what the anecdotal reports say to me is these are really hard decisions,” Kosseff said in a Lincoln Network webinar Monday. “Again, moderation will be biased to some degree, and a lot of the moderation decisions are no brainers — things that are clearly illegal… but when it gets to things that are legal speech, constitutionally-protected… that’s where it gets hard.”

Kosseff said that while he is open to listening to such anecdotal reports of bias, he has not yet seen evidence of systemic prejudice against conservatives.

“I have not seen any aggregate statistical evidence of that — but that’s not to rule out that it doesn’t happen,” he said. “This is where a fact would be really, really useful in the debate.”

Arguments about Section 230 that include lines about publisher versus platform distinctions are incorrect, Kosseff explained.

“It’s not from the text of Section 230,” he said. “The publisher/platform distinction, that’s really something that has materialized in the recent debate about Section 230 in the past few years.”

Kosseff said that a more accurate distinction would be between publisher and distributor.

“A distributor is someone who distributes someone else’s content like a bookstore, and they become liable if they [distribute illegal materials],” he said. “But a publisher, something like a newpaper’s letter to the editor page isn’t strictly liable.”

Section 230 is crucial to internet freedom, Kosseff claimed.

“My personal opinion is that Section 230 is an incredibly important law,” he said. “And I’m actually surprised that it’s taken this long for there to be public attention to it.”

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Section 230

Head of Big Tech Lobby Group Says Repealing Section 230 Unconstitutional

CTA CEO said abolishing intermediary liability protections violates private industry protections against government interference.

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Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association

July 13, 2020 — Social media moderation will inevitably be biased to some degree, said Jeff Kosseff, assistant professor of cybersecurity law at the United States Naval Academy and author of The Twenty-Six Words that Created the Internet.

“I mean, they’re anecdotal reports, and what the anecdotal reports say to me is these are really hard decisions,” Kosseff said in a Lincoln Network webinar Monday. “Again, moderation will be biased to some degree, and a lot of the moderation decisions are no brainers — things that are clearly illegal… but when it gets to things that are legal speech, constitutionally-protected… that’s where it gets hard.”

Kosseff said that while he is open to listening to such anecdotal reports of bias, he has not yet seen evidence of systemic prejudice against conservatives.

“I have not seen any aggregate statistical evidence of that — but that’s not to rule out that it doesn’t happen,” he said. “This is where a fact would be really, really useful in the debate.”

Arguments about Section 230 that include lines about publisher versus platform distinctions are incorrect, Kosseff explained.

“It’s not from the text of Section 230,” he said. “The publisher/platform distinction, that’s really something that has materialized in the recent debate about Section 230 in the past few years.”

Kosseff said that a more accurate distinction would be between publisher and distributor.

“A distributor is someone who distributes someone else’s content like a bookstore, and they become liable if they [distribute illegal materials],” he said. “But a publisher, something like a newpaper’s letter to the editor page isn’t strictly liable.”

Section 230 is crucial to internet freedom, Kosseff claimed.

“My personal opinion is that Section 230 is an incredibly important law,” he said. “And I’m actually surprised that it’s taken this long for there to be public attention to it.”

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Section 230

Broadband Breakfast Hosts Section 230 Debate

Two sets of experts debated the merits of reforming or removing and maintaining Section 230.

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Screenshot taken from Broadband Live Online event

July 13, 2020 — Social media moderation will inevitably be biased to some degree, said Jeff Kosseff, assistant professor of cybersecurity law at the United States Naval Academy and author of The Twenty-Six Words that Created the Internet.

“I mean, they’re anecdotal reports, and what the anecdotal reports say to me is these are really hard decisions,” Kosseff said in a Lincoln Network webinar Monday. “Again, moderation will be biased to some degree, and a lot of the moderation decisions are no brainers — things that are clearly illegal… but when it gets to things that are legal speech, constitutionally-protected… that’s where it gets hard.”

Kosseff said that while he is open to listening to such anecdotal reports of bias, he has not yet seen evidence of systemic prejudice against conservatives.

“I have not seen any aggregate statistical evidence of that — but that’s not to rule out that it doesn’t happen,” he said. “This is where a fact would be really, really useful in the debate.”

Arguments about Section 230 that include lines about publisher versus platform distinctions are incorrect, Kosseff explained.

“It’s not from the text of Section 230,” he said. “The publisher/platform distinction, that’s really something that has materialized in the recent debate about Section 230 in the past few years.”

Kosseff said that a more accurate distinction would be between publisher and distributor.

“A distributor is someone who distributes someone else’s content like a bookstore, and they become liable if they [distribute illegal materials],” he said. “But a publisher, something like a newpaper’s letter to the editor page isn’t strictly liable.”

Section 230 is crucial to internet freedom, Kosseff claimed.

“My personal opinion is that Section 230 is an incredibly important law,” he said. “And I’m actually surprised that it’s taken this long for there to be public attention to it.”

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