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Section 230

Despite Speculation, Section 230 Is Here to Stay: Rep. Bob Latta

Republican representative Bob Latta said Section 230 is not going anywhere anytime soon.

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Republican Rep. for Ohio Bob Latta

May 25, 2021 — Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act may face amendment in the near future, but it’s here to stay—and for good reason, according to Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio.

Speaking at the 13th annual policy conference hosted by the Free State Foundation on Monday, Latta said a complete repeal of Section 230 would be misguided, saying that such a measure would stifle free enterprise and competition throughout the technology industry. He spoke to Republican fears of censorship on social media.

Section 230 provides legal immunity to online platforms that publish third-party content from civil liability. This permits consumers to post what they like without the platforms themselves taking responsibility for the content; it also allows platforms to remove content they deem undesirable. (Broadband Breakfast has published an explainer on the issue.)

The legislation came under scrutiny last year when critics, led in large by former President Donald Trump, accused tech firms of effectively using Section 230 to censor conservative voices.

Latta said he sympathized with Republican fears, pointing to a tweet by Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, which was recently removed “for no reason.”

Free speech cannot be “deterred”

Republican lawmakers threatened to repeal Section 230 last year, arguing that tech companies were stifling free speech in their alleged exploitation of the measure. Commenting on the proposal, Latta agreed with the intent, saying, “one of the things that we don’t want to see happen is that private speech is being deterred.”

But Latta was quick to add that lawmakers should refrain from making regulations “too tight.”

Impact on smaller platforms if Section 230 revoked

If Section 230 were removed altogether, larger platforms would inevitably “lawyer up” to protect themselves against the new legal exposer. Smaller competing platforms would be unable to afford the costs, however. Critics have said their revenues would drop, eating into their profits until they likely would have no choice but to sell to a larger company.

Additionally, larger firms could push the additional legal costs onto consumers, leading to potentially additional negative social externalities that users of platforms already encounter.

“We don’t want to hurt those new startups,” Latta said. “We don’t want to just throw it out—I think there’s going to have to be some revisions that we’re going to have to do to it. And that’s where we’re going to have to iron out the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats, where we find a common ground to get there.”

Reporter Tyler Perkins studied rhetoric and English literature, and also economics and mathematics, at the University of Utah. Although he grew up in and never left the West (both Oregon and Utah) until recently, he intends to study law and build a career on the East Coast. In his free time, he enjoys reading excellent literature and playing poor golf.

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

May 25, 2021 — Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act may face amendment in the near future, but it’s here to stay—and for good reason, according to Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio.

Speaking at the 13th annual policy conference hosted by the Free State Foundation on Monday, Latta said a complete repeal of Section 230 would be misguided, saying that such a measure would stifle free enterprise and competition throughout the technology industry. He spoke to Republican fears of censorship on social media.

Section 230 provides legal immunity to online platforms that publish third-party content from civil liability. This permits consumers to post what they like without the platforms themselves taking responsibility for the content; it also allows platforms to remove content they deem undesirable. (Broadband Breakfast has published an explainer on the issue.)

The legislation came under scrutiny last year when critics, led in large by former President Donald Trump, accused tech firms of effectively using Section 230 to censor conservative voices.

Latta said he sympathized with Republican fears, pointing to a tweet by Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, which was recently removed “for no reason.”

Free speech cannot be “deterred”

Republican lawmakers threatened to repeal Section 230 last year, arguing that tech companies were stifling free speech in their alleged exploitation of the measure. Commenting on the proposal, Latta agreed with the intent, saying, “one of the things that we don’t want to see happen is that private speech is being deterred.”

But Latta was quick to add that lawmakers should refrain from making regulations “too tight.”

Impact on smaller platforms if Section 230 revoked

If Section 230 were removed altogether, larger platforms would inevitably “lawyer up” to protect themselves against the new legal exposer. Smaller competing platforms would be unable to afford the costs, however. Critics have said their revenues would drop, eating into their profits until they likely would have no choice but to sell to a larger company.

Additionally, larger firms could push the additional legal costs onto consumers, leading to potentially additional negative social externalities that users of platforms already encounter.

“We don’t want to hurt those new startups,” Latta said. “We don’t want to just throw it out—I think there’s going to have to be some revisions that we’re going to have to do to it. And that’s where we’re going to have to iron out the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats, where we find a common ground to get there.”

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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

May 25, 2021 — Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act may face amendment in the near future, but it’s here to stay—and for good reason, according to Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio.

Speaking at the 13th annual policy conference hosted by the Free State Foundation on Monday, Latta said a complete repeal of Section 230 would be misguided, saying that such a measure would stifle free enterprise and competition throughout the technology industry. He spoke to Republican fears of censorship on social media.

Section 230 provides legal immunity to online platforms that publish third-party content from civil liability. This permits consumers to post what they like without the platforms themselves taking responsibility for the content; it also allows platforms to remove content they deem undesirable. (Broadband Breakfast has published an explainer on the issue.)

The legislation came under scrutiny last year when critics, led in large by former President Donald Trump, accused tech firms of effectively using Section 230 to censor conservative voices.

Latta said he sympathized with Republican fears, pointing to a tweet by Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, which was recently removed “for no reason.”

Free speech cannot be “deterred”

Republican lawmakers threatened to repeal Section 230 last year, arguing that tech companies were stifling free speech in their alleged exploitation of the measure. Commenting on the proposal, Latta agreed with the intent, saying, “one of the things that we don’t want to see happen is that private speech is being deterred.”

But Latta was quick to add that lawmakers should refrain from making regulations “too tight.”

Impact on smaller platforms if Section 230 revoked

If Section 230 were removed altogether, larger platforms would inevitably “lawyer up” to protect themselves against the new legal exposer. Smaller competing platforms would be unable to afford the costs, however. Critics have said their revenues would drop, eating into their profits until they likely would have no choice but to sell to a larger company.

Additionally, larger firms could push the additional legal costs onto consumers, leading to potentially additional negative social externalities that users of platforms already encounter.

“We don’t want to hurt those new startups,” Latta said. “We don’t want to just throw it out—I think there’s going to have to be some revisions that we’re going to have to do to it. And that’s where we’re going to have to iron out the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats, where we find a common ground to get there.”

Continue Reading

Section 230

Explainer: With Florida Social Media Law, Section 230 Now Positioned In Legal Spotlight

As Florida’s governor signs new social media law, Section 230 is on a collision course with reform and the law.

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Illustration by H.C. Stevens from 14 East Magazine

May 25, 2021 — Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act may face amendment in the near future, but it’s here to stay—and for good reason, according to Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio.

Speaking at the 13th annual policy conference hosted by the Free State Foundation on Monday, Latta said a complete repeal of Section 230 would be misguided, saying that such a measure would stifle free enterprise and competition throughout the technology industry. He spoke to Republican fears of censorship on social media.

Section 230 provides legal immunity to online platforms that publish third-party content from civil liability. This permits consumers to post what they like without the platforms themselves taking responsibility for the content; it also allows platforms to remove content they deem undesirable. (Broadband Breakfast has published an explainer on the issue.)

The legislation came under scrutiny last year when critics, led in large by former President Donald Trump, accused tech firms of effectively using Section 230 to censor conservative voices.

Latta said he sympathized with Republican fears, pointing to a tweet by Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, which was recently removed “for no reason.”

Free speech cannot be “deterred”

Republican lawmakers threatened to repeal Section 230 last year, arguing that tech companies were stifling free speech in their alleged exploitation of the measure. Commenting on the proposal, Latta agreed with the intent, saying, “one of the things that we don’t want to see happen is that private speech is being deterred.”

But Latta was quick to add that lawmakers should refrain from making regulations “too tight.”

Impact on smaller platforms if Section 230 revoked

If Section 230 were removed altogether, larger platforms would inevitably “lawyer up” to protect themselves against the new legal exposer. Smaller competing platforms would be unable to afford the costs, however. Critics have said their revenues would drop, eating into their profits until they likely would have no choice but to sell to a larger company.

Additionally, larger firms could push the additional legal costs onto consumers, leading to potentially additional negative social externalities that users of platforms already encounter.

“We don’t want to hurt those new startups,” Latta said. “We don’t want to just throw it out—I think there’s going to have to be some revisions that we’re going to have to do to it. And that’s where we’re going to have to iron out the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats, where we find a common ground to get there.”

Continue Reading

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