Section 230 Key Developments Talk: 2020 Cloud Conference

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It’s always an honor when I get to share the stage with my intellectual hero — Professor Eric. Goldman! Yesterday we had the privilege of co-presenting on one of our all-time favorite topics: Section 230. Huge thanks to Davis Wright Tremaine LLP for inviting us to speak at their virtual 2020 Cloud Conference!

You can view our slide deck here. The following are additional resources we submitted:

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The Internet is often regarded as the world’s greatest, and quite possibly most important, invention. We wouldn’t realize its greatness until 1996, when the Internet, and society, changed for the better. Thanks to Section 230, the law credited with the birth of the modern-day Internet, we live our lives in ways our ancestors couldn’t have possibly dreamed.

Today’s Section 230 critics contemplate an expiration date for the Internet’s most important law. How could a law from 1996 possibly support the modern web? …

The following is a series of overviews of three recent proposals to amend Section 230. Each overview will give you the TL;DR on what each bill proposes. I also highlight some of my major concerns, especially those regarding content moderation efforts.

I’m housing these bill proposals and my attempts at Section 230 redlines here. I’ll try to keep this updated — so feel free to check back as more proposals surface.

For a deeper-dive into any of these bills, I suggest following the Technology and Marketing Law Blog for Prof. Eric Goldman’s famous 4,000+ word insights.

Limiting Section 230 to Good Samaritans Act (Hawley)
Bill text | Section 230…

This article was originally published with Brookings.

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With a fact-check heard round the web, Twitter did what their “big tech” counterparts have been too afraid to do: hold the president of the United States accountable for his actions. Following the momentous decision to highlight Trump’s false claims about mail-in ballots, the president — and his frenzied fan-base — unleashed a fury of tech-lash. Their target is a cyber law from 1996, credited with creating the modern-day internet, and broadly known as Section 230.

Core to 47 U.S.C. Section 230 is the basic principle that websites are not liable for third-party, user generated content. To many, this principle is understandably confounding. Traditional print and broadcast media assume liability for disseminating third party materials all the time. For example, the New York Times can be held liable for publishing a defamatory article written by a third-party author. …

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Belva A. Lockwood (1830–1917), a trained attorney who was the first woman admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Starting this summer, I’ll have the awesome opportunity to do research at the UCLA Institute for Technology, Law and Policy. My research will be focused on the intersection of rights of publicity law and Section 230. Recently, I sat down with my research advisor, John Villasenor, to conduct this interview for a Computer Science class at Northwestern. You can listen to the discussion here. Below are the notes I prepared in response to his questions.

1. One of the freedoms conferred by the First Amendment is that “Congress shall make no law .. . abridging the freedom of speech.” Of course, that means that the First Amendment constrains the government, not private companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, YouTube, and so on. Yet in discussions about user-posted content on these and other sites, the First Amendment often comes up — often brought up by the companies themselves. Can you explain a bit why freedom of expression is such a core part of the conversation regarding content moderation, particularly given that internet companies are not under any constitutional obligation to provide it?

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what your newsfeed is about to look like w/o 230 immunity

Republican Senator Josh Hawley, an ironically self-described proponent of free speech, proposed the “Ending Support For Internet Censorship” Act this week, ultimately geared towards destroying the Internet and perpetuating censorship. As Prof. Mark Lemley put it, the bill should really be called the Promote Our Republican Nazis (PORN) act “since its goal is to promote hate speech and its effect is to make it harder to restrict pornography.”

This post is a recap of some of the glaring issues I’ve seen with the Hawley bill so far. For context, I suggest starting with Prof. Eric Goldman’s Linkwrap. I’ve been micro-blogging about the bill through Twitter threads here and here. I also highly recommend giving Daphne Keller’s thread a read too. …


Jess Miers

3L at Santa Clara Law | Policy Specialist @ Google | Scholarship: Section 230 and content moderation | Twitter: @jess_miers | opinions are my own

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