Ron Wyden: Modifying Section 230 Will Give More Censorship Power To Trump; And Lock In Facebook's Dominance

from the exactly dept

We’ve already pointed out that Facebook’s latest moves to say it’s okay to strip away Section 230’s protections are all about giving Facebook more power and harming competitors — and now the author of Section 230, Senator Ron Wyden, has put out quite an op-ed in the Washington Post explaining just how much damage would be done in chipping away at Section 230. In particular, he highlights two key reasons why we shouldn’t do it: (1) It would lock in the most powerful companies like Facebook and Google (even as misguided critics seem to think taking away Section 230 protections will harm them), and (2) It will enable the Trump administration to increase online censorship of marginalized voices.

On the first point, the argument is the one I made regarding Facebook’s new stance, though Wyden expresses it succinctly:

Some have argued that repealing Section 230 would punish Facebook and Google for their failures. That?s simply not true. The biggest tech companies have enough lawyers and lobbyists to survive virtually any regulation Congress can concoct. It?s the start-ups seeking to displace Big Tech that would be hammered by the constant threat of lawsuits.

He notes, as we have in the past, that most of the lobbying to gut 230 is being lead by industries that failed to adapt to the internet, and are now using 230 as a hammer to try to stay relevant.

The argument about speech is equally as important:

I?m certain this administration would use power to regulate speech to punish its enemies and protect its allies. It would threaten Facebook or YouTube for taking down white supremacist content. It would label Black Lives Matter activists as purveyors of hate.

Again, this is exactly what we’ve warned about. Section 230 has created spaces online for the most marginalized to speak out — and they will be the first to be silenced. Indeed, that’s exactly what we’ve already seen post SESTA. The law that was passed in the name of “protecting sex trafficking victims” has actually put sex workers at risk. Wyden points out that the law appears to have done the opposite of what its backers promised:

Backpage was shut down before SESTA even went into effect. And sex workers have been driven to the dark Web or the streets, where sex trafficking has increased dramatically. The most vulnerable group bore the brunt of this law.

And the same is likely for any other attempt to attack 230 as well.

What’s really incredible in all of this is how little those looking to modify or remove 230 seem to even understand 230. They seem to blame all sorts of societal problems on 230, even though all 230 has done is allow people to express themselves. And from there, the complaints against 230 are often contradictory. Some are worried that two much speech is silenced through moderation, while others complain that not enough speech is silenced. But neither is a 230 problem. They are all just representations of the impossibility of pleasing everyone when it comes to moderation policies. But taking away 230 or even modifying it won’t change any of that. All it will do is lead to much greater censorship, and much more power for the biggest internet companies.

As is often the case, it would be nice if others in Congress actually listened to Ron Wyden on this — as he’s been right since the very beginning, and every time people ignore him, they end up looking foolish. Unfortunately, I fear that they will end up looking foolish yet again.

Filed Under: , , , ,
Companies: facebook

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Ron Wyden: Modifying Section 230 Will Give More Censorship Power To Trump; And Lock In Facebook's Dominance”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
16 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

When reality refutes you, break out the straw

What’s really incredible in all of this is how little those looking to modify or remove 230 seem to even understand 230. They seem to blame all sorts of societal problems on 230, even though all 230 has done is allow people to express themselves. And from there, the complaints against 230 are often contradictory.

‘It is difficult to get a politician to understand something, when their argument depends on their lack of understanding, real or feigned.’

Given this is hardly a new thing I suspect that most of those attacking 230 understand it quite well from having it explained time and time again, they just don’t care.

Whether they’re using it to score cheap PR from the gullible, attacking companies they don’t like or a combination of the two going after the actual law and addressing the glaring flaws in their arguments would be counter-productive, so they stick with beating up strawmen and fictional scenarios with only a passing resemblance to reality.

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Problem here is that 9/11 is every year..
And the Death of 3000? US people has given us a 100,000+ innocent bystanders killed.
And even after 6 months and most of the combatants Jumped over the borders and those left asked for PEACE, we kept spending money..
And this nation did not declare war(I dont think) as that would give the People and the politicians Certain rights to question things. NO martial law to restrict things..

proprintworks (profile) says:

how to get a fake drivers license from the dmv

To drive in Illinois, you might be necessary to keep a legitimate First or whole IL driver’s license. This really is your complete stage-by-stage guideline that can assist you get, renew or transfer your driver’s license speedy and simple.

It is actually taken on a walk-in foundation. You should definitely practice on line prior to deciding to go. You will have 3 odds to go the exam within the yr from the day on which you shell out the applying cost for an instruction permit or driver’s license.

You are going to go ahead and take test at a Secretary of State Facility over a walk-in-foundation. The exam evaluates your familiarity with a motor vehicle’s basic equipment and also your means to work a vehicle securely when obeying targeted visitors regulations.

Your driver license either expires in lower than two a long time, or has been expired for less than two a long time. You happen to be at the very least 18 years of age and also your driver license isn’t a provisional or learner license. You happen to be younger than seventy nine many years of age.

When you go this kind of driving Examination and go the motive force’s ed class by itself with a quality of A or B, you could convey your Cooperative Driver Tests Certificate for the Secretary of State Facility, and They could

You may renew as much as 18 months prior to your license’s expiration date. For anyone who is from state or deployed, you can renew on the internet when you meet the normal necessities for on the internet renewals.

The department mails every single driver a courtesy renewal notice about eight to ten months just before their license expires. READ YOUR RENEWAL Observe CAREFULLY. You’ll find mainly three ways to renew a driver license, that may be defined with your renewal see.

You may renew by mail only if the renewal letter sent to you personally from the Secretary of State Business states so. In such cases, Keep to the Guidance within the letter. https://proprintworks.com/real-and-fake-bank-statement-pay-slips-and-utility-bills/

But if you decide to vote with it, any scanner will reveal that it’s fake, and you will have lawful problems. Fake IDs are less costly. Having said that, if you propose to employ it regularly, we extremely suggest receiving one of our real IDs alternatively. The selection is at your discretion.

Your examiner will grade your power to carry out a number of driving tasks and maneuvers such as the next:

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »