New Jersey The Latest To Try To Regulate Social Networks… For The Children

from the please-make-it-stop dept

We’ve seen a number of attempts by politicians to use the latest “moral panic” around social networks to pass regulations against them. A popular one at the federal level which still (thankfully) has gone nowhere is DOPA, which would require schools and libraries to block social networks. However, state politicians want to get in on the grandstanding as well. Politicians in New Jersey are pushing a law that would require social networks to include a “report abuse” button on web pages and then would make those social networks responsible to investigate each reported “abuse” or face liability.

The unintended consequences of such a law would be awful. Basically, to protect liability, many “social networks” (and the term may be broadly applied to an awful lot of websites out there today) would most likely just shut down the accounts of those accused of “abuse.” From a simple liability standpoint that makes sense. Leaving the account up just opens you up to a lawsuit. Furthermore, the button would likely be abused itself. Don’t like someone? Click the “report abuse” button! And, no matter what, it makes no sense to put the burden of investigating things on the sites themselves. Hopefully this law goes nowhere, but don’t be surprised to see similar proposals pop up elsewhere as well.

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Comments on “New Jersey The Latest To Try To Regulate Social Networks… For The Children”

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ChurchHatesTucker (profile) says:

One sided

Why is it that all these laws are so one-sided? As with the DMCA, there doesn’t seem to be an equivalent method of dealing with people abusing their new-found powers.

Mike said before, somewhere, that three-strikes-and-out might be palatable if the accusers were held to the same standard. Made three false claims? Sorry, Warner, you no longer have internet access.

Ditto that for this case. If you hit the abuse button X times and it’s not an abuse, you get kicked out. (I’ve been saying for years now that youtube should have taken that line to deal with their DMCA complaints.)

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