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


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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
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    Cy Tayshun Knee-Did, 14 May 2019 @ 8:21pm

    If "not an accurate statement of the law" it's "the law" WRONG.

    First, Vox was / is never an authority. Liberal loonies. Could have been a deliberate hoax too, yanking away conservative surprise at small victory.

    As I've pointed out to you before, Masnick, We The People aren't forced to live with BAD laws that harm us. Basis of the country. Learn it.

    "Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right...to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers. Rulers are no more than attorneys, agents, and trustees, of the people; and if the cause, the interest, and trust, is insidiously betrayed, or wantonly trifled away, the people have a right to revoke the authority that they themselves have deputed, and to constitute other and better agents, attorneys and trustees." -- John Adams, 1765

    Focus on "the people have a right" which states an aspect of common law. Now, since We The People have right to remove Our Servants and change terms on them, then clearly we can do with that with the mere fictions called corporations. But Masnick always casts corporations as having more rights than "natural" persons.

    Section 230 ain't fixed, and all that your ongoing series on it really proves is that it's flawed, needs fixed, and NOT settled law as you claim. -- As the AC points out, Supreme Court hasn't touched the de facto Rights violating aspects, and indications are that will decide along my views, not your, when the right case comes up.

    "The Law" is for We The People, not fascist corporations authorized by mere statute to control our speech.


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