3 thoughts on “§230 Debate”

  1. That is an interesting debate they had. Even though I wrote a different opinion in my Incivil Disobedience essay, I disagree with many of the points John Palfrey made about amending section 230.

    I think they both recognize that 230 allows freedom of expression online and helped the internet grow into what it is today. Unfortunately Palfrey’s suggestions come up short for me.

    1)He makes a point to say we should give up some internet liberties to protect children online. I do not agree entirely. I think by amending 230 thee way he wants, we will protect children on social networking sites, but we will also restrict free speech on other sites. I think he downplays the chilling effect that an amendment would have on non-social networking sites (blogs, discussion boards, even critique sites or parodies).

    2) Thierer mentions that sites will just move overseas and we will not be able to use the new amendment against them. I see this argument as logical (and even though there is a possibility that the court has jurisdiction) a change in the law will not be the best solution (see internet gambling overseas).

    3) I’m just not convinced that sites like myspace should be liable for comments they do not make. With over 100 million accounts, it would be nearly impossible for myspace to be successful in the format they currently have if they need to check the content of each message. I see myspace as a coffee shop. The shop isn’t liable for what happens when two people meet at a table, or for what two people say while meeting there. Unless the shop played an active role in the developing the content.

    230 encourages self-policing, and that is what myspace is doing to remain successful with children. If coffee shops were known as places where people could engage is an illegal behavior – the owner would make changes to rid those customers. This is what myspace does and I’m not convinced a law mandating some self-policing action will do any good because millions of sites engage in no policing and allow free expression and free speech.

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