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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    nothing (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 9:07pm


    My intent wasn't to be confrontational or otherwise start a political argument. I'll respond anyway... (A) I haven't read peer reviewed studies regarding the collaboration to deplatform entire ideologies among social media platforms in the United States. I've simply noticed dozens of pieces of content about some high profile people who were deplatformed. These people weren't part of the same group until content creators began to tell us they are all far-right hate speech types who aren't welcome anywhere online. These people tend to be viewed politically as right-leaning. None of these people have ever aroused negative emotions in me. I don't feel they use their influence for nefarious purposes. Some of these people now allege two far left organizations (CAIR and the SLPC) devoted to "social justice" (whatever that is) spent lots of money to create a fake social media campaign intended to get them kicked off popular platforms. Lawsuits are ongoing. It's telling that the "alt-right" Farrakhan was used to pretend it was totally neutral. He seems to have been dropped from the narrative. (B) I reject your command to believe something, I will choose to trust my nervous system to recognize external stimuli and process that data so I'm able to integrate it into my personal life experience and form my own opinions. It's worked so far. I'll respond by saying I believe diversity and neutrality are different concepts and my empathy level for burdened platforms is very low. It's also irrelevant.

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