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
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 7:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Google's responsibility is for REPUBLISHING it or spreading it, hence the term "distributor liability..."

    Neither of which is true since Google doesn't republish, doesn't spread anything, and isn't a distributor.

    "...which they now face in Australia."

    And every lawyer to look at that case is shaking his/her head and going "dumb, dumb aussies".

    Australia - the country where you can not legally write software compliant with basic law anywhere else in the world - is not a good place to go for examples on IP case law at the moment.

    "Search engines are weaponized by users who "Google Bomb" their targets. Female victims of revenge porn were put through hell because of Section 230."

    Malicious gossipmongers are not now and never have been a justification for effectively abolishing intermediary immunity. Not offline nor online. The pub owner isn't responsible for what his patrons whisper in his booths. The city isn't responsible for what people say in the street.

    "Either you do not understand this or you are pretending not to understand it."

    Oh, I think everyone understands that your argument is shit and has to rely on guilt by association riding a straw man to a false premise.

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