Section 230 on my Mind…..

Trump, Biden both want to repeal tech legal protections — for opposite reasons ~ Christiano Lima

Just a thought folks from someone that is actually in the interactive service providing business but without Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives interactive service providers (ISPs) immunity from liability for third party hosted content there is no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc etc. Places like Slabbed and Jackson Jambalaya may still be around but likely wouldn’t host reader comments, same for the rest of the news media. I know Slabbed wouldn’t and without reader comments we would not be nearly the same website.

With immunity comes some responsibility. I do contact those that leave comments I think would cross certain legal lines if they leave a good contact address to make sure they understand the ramifications of what they wrote. Recently Slabbed received comments about a coast educator that were clearly either: 1. Defamatory or 2. Belonged in the hands of local law enforcement since criminal acts were alleged. The would be commenter leaving a BS email address was all I needed to send them to trash.

Overall I think the big tech companies do a decent job, with Facebook being the worst in terms of consistency in enforcing its terms of service. The solution does not lie in killing off the possibility of protected speech by going after the ISPs. After all if both Trump and Biden both don’t like it Section 230 is probably a good thing.

8 thoughts on “Section 230 on my Mind…..”

  1. Doug, the problems with State awarded “immunity” are many. First principled objection is whether or not needed. That is the right to speech involves the freedom from vetting/prior approval by a State agent. A principled rebuttle to any floodgates argument is that in the event of a SLAPP style suit is to mandate payment of all costs and attorney fees to the platform affording speech, and some obligatory (non) penalty payment (I see no need to call it a penalty as to avoid the illogical fed tax laws) . That would eliminate a bunch of nonsense and indeed, you’d have quite a few of my brethern taking on the matter in defense of the platform. Second principled objection is that those who end up acquiring immunities are corporatists who pay in myriad ways State actors to give them the immunity. For example, Big Pharma, the insurance cartel, Big Med and of course guess who has the greatest immunity of all? That’s right, the State and its enforcers in the judiciary and the state security forces.
    As for the fact that Biden/Trump allegedly don’t like it, for different reasons, just mere posturing. After all, the default position of the EinPartei is to evolve even more towards favoured MinTruth content providers, if for no other reason than it being empirically demonstrable that such providers are quite able to manipulate your average Amerikan sheeple.
    The next thing awaiting us is the Two Minutes of Hate, but given the “abilities” of your average state education factory product, more likely Eight Minutes is required (much on the line of Edwards quipping about Treen requiring one and one-half hours to watch 60 Minutes….)

    1. I was SLAPP sued Al in a foreign jurisdiction. The law has attorney fee provisions, all these years later I’m still waiting to be paid. Such provisions will not deter scum such as the cowards that sued me or Donald Trump.

      The better solution to a lack of immunity is to not host any third party content. Eliminates the liability. Everyone wanting to share things can pay for their own websites, which would include their own servers and pipes.

      1. Oh, I do recall, and my solution is to compel the filing of a bond for such SLAPP litigation. That effectively diminishes the “fun” in such cases.
        Even with the immunity issue you still have the ever present threat of costly litigation. What I propose is to remove the incentive AND give the victim the ability to obtain compensation without having some nomenklatura operative choosing winners and losers.

        1. And another note of interest to you. The problem with immunities is the all too real spectre of arbitrary and disparate treatment. Immunities often involve immunizing politically recognized oligopolies or cartels who function as handmaidens to politicians. The true reporting in this day and age is carried on by individuals who don’t sport a guild or union recognition. Then, if you get over that hurdle, then you have justices still geared toward unequal treatment. Here in Louisiana we have a “reporters privilege” which is supposed to allow summary judgment and forego the attrition tactics of SLAPP suits. One case I see in the area where clearly the reporter was reporting what a public official said and where there was no manifest disregard for fact checking was denied SJ. Defeats he purpose, right? Still on going and most likely the desired outcome is hat some money change hands and make everything go away. More established media enjoy the privilege, the less favoured do not. Indeed, it is realistic to forsee the time when left advocacy movements resort to SLAPP suits to intimidate conservatives, libertarians and those who simply want to be left alone. With that likely occurrence, certainly those who now provide corporate interests with heightened protections under law may depart from their “party of stupid” mentality and embrace anti-SLAPP suit provisions such as I now outline to avoid a privilege held hostage to an unfriendly court.

          1. Since this is not hypothetical to the industry I’ll disclose that if section 230 is repealed Slabbed will no longer allow guests posts or host 3rd party content of any kind. I’m not taking someone else’s liability simply because I own the computer and pipe. I can see Facebook becoming a pay service at that point because every lawyer looking for deep pockets will sue them and they will need the extra $$$$.

            1. Makes sense, Doug, given the state of litigation these days. It is a sad commentary that only those with deep pockets can utilize the immunity. The non traditionals who are part and parcel of the First Amendment are not provided the protections.

  2. Doug, I for one truly appreciate slabbed. It is becoming more and more one of the few places the public can speak about things that they feel strongly about. With all that is going on now it seems that only one opinion is acceptable anymore. The constitution guarantees free thought and speech. Yes we have issues in this country that need attention but I don’t see how the thought processes and some of the actions will solve anything.It seems to me it will take true unbiased communication among all Americans to solve any of these issues

    1. Truly we are getting to that point Eric Blair warned us about. He was quite prescient in determining that interaction is corrupted when the language is corrupted and society thereby dies.

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