Vox Admits It Got Section 230 Wrong, Fixes Its Mistake

from the good-work dept

Last week we wrote about how annoying it was that major media publications were misrepresenting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, and suggesting -- completely without merit -- that the law was designed to keep platforms "neutral" or that they were mere "pass through" vehicles, rather than actively engaged in moderation. We pointed out that online trolls and grandstanding politicians were making this incorrect claim, but it was not an accurate statement of the law, and the media should know better. In our comments, some people called me out for not suggesting that the media was being deliberately dishonest, and in response I noted that there wasn't any evidence of deliberateness from most of them (not so much with the trolls and especially grandstanding politicians like Ted Cruz, who have been told, repeatedly, that they are misrepresenting CDA 230). I hoped that it was just a mistake that would be corrected.

Perhaps surprisingly, the author of the Vox article that I called out, Jane Coaston, did exactly that. After a few others called out her article, including Harvard's Jonathan Zittrain, Coaston has now apologized and done a massive rewrite on the original article to make it more accurate:

In this era when so many people seem to want to dig in and defend incorrect things, I think it deserves recognition and kudos when people (especially reporters) can admit they made a mistake and to then correct those mistakes.

Filed Under: cda 230, jane coaston, section 230

Reader Comments

The First Word

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  1. icon
    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 5:27am


    Why you think someone who spreads lies about people (like a search engine or social media service) should be immune from this is beyond me. Talk to female victims of revenge porn and ask them what they think of Section 230, the law that allowed those who ruined their lives to escape liability, or talk to a doctor who was threatened with being called a pedophile by people who weaponize Google. Your views might change.

    Ahem! As a female and victim of lies spread online I blame no one but the poster.

    Google can't be weaponized and liars gonna lie whether there are search engines or not. You have yet to advise how you'd navigate the internet without a search engine.

    I've been defamed. It's gone RL and I've been called into the office at work to explain why my employers had been contacted with allegations that I later proved were the work of a troll. I'm still working for the same company and have since been promoted. Now shut up. Your arguments are wholly based on appeals to emotion and have no logical or factual basis.

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