Donald Trump's Website's Terms Of Service Rely On Section 230, And Promise To Remove Content That Violates Its Terms

from the such-cancel-culture dept

We had just noted that should Donald Trump ever launch his rumored social media website, it would undoubtedly rely on Section 230 despite the fact that Trump insisted that Section 230 must be repealed and even tried to block military funding if the law wasn't taken away.

Yet, apparently we don't even need to wait for his vaporware social media website to appear. As the excellent @Section_230 Twitter feed alerts us, the new "The Office of Donald J. Trump" website already appears to invoke the protections of Section 230 by mirroring its language in its terms of service concerning liability for 3rd party content:

OFP takes no responsibility and assumes no liability for any User Content posted, stored or uploaded by you or any third party, or for any loss or damage thereto, nor is OFP liable for any mistakes, defamation, slander, libel, omissions, falsehoods, obscenity, profanity or other objectionable content you may encounter. Your use of Interactive Areas is at your own risk. Enforcement of the user content or conduct rules set forth in these Terms of Service is solely at OFP’s discretion, and failure to enforce such rules in some instances does not constitute a waiver of our right to enforce such rules in other instances. In addition, these rules do not create any private right of action on the part of any third party or any reasonable expectation that the Sites will not contain any content that is prohibited by such rules. As a provider of interactive services, OFP is not liable for any statements, representations, or User Content provided by its users in any Interactive Area.

As you can see, when it's Trump's own website, he declares that he gets full say and full discretion in how to moderate, and should accept no liability "as a provider of interactive services," just as Section 230 makes clear as well. Furthermore, for all of Trump's ridiculous talk about how content moderation is "censorship" or "cancel culture," his own website now makes clear that it may moderate however it sees fit:

Although OFP has no obligation to do so, it reserves the right, and has absolute discretion, to remove, screen or edit any User Content posted or stored on the Sites at any time and for any reason without notice, and you are solely responsible for creating backup copies of and replacing any User Content you post or store on the Sites at your sole cost and expense. Any use of the Interactive Areas or other portions of the Sites in violation of the foregoing violates these Terms of Service and may result in, among other things, termination, or suspension of your rights to use the Interactive Areas and/or the Sites.

And yes, this is all standard boilerplate kinda stuff that lots of websites have. But it demonstrates why websites need to be free to moderate, and why Section 230 is important in protecting websites from liability -- even for former Presidents who claim to hate the law (or, at least, demonstrate near total ignorance of the value of the law). The nice thing about both the 1st Amendment and Section 230 is that it protects you, even if you don't like it.

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Filed Under: content moderation, donald trump, intermediary liability, section 230, terms of service

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2021 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re: The hypocrisy is delicious.

    Enforcement of the user content or conduct rules set forth in these Terms of Service is solely at OFP’s discretion

    Where is the good faith provision in the above quote? It allows arbitrary moderation by OFP.

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