This past month, Twitter rolled out a new “Civic Integrity Policy” which was created to protect the viability of political elections and to reduce the spread of false information associated with them. Shortly after this policy was created, President Trump’s tweet from May 26th was flagged due to Twitter deeming it as providing potentially misleading information about the mail-in voting process. It was later found that the tweet did not violate the civic integrity policy and was not deleted. After this instance, it was announced on May 28th that Trump had signed an executive order for the review of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
What is Section 230 and What Does it Mean for Social Media?
According to Cornell Law School, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act states that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” In other words, this federal law protects social media platforms from being legally responsible for what the users of their platforms post on their pages. Without this, freedom of speech and online innovation would be highly restricted on these social platforms.
What Would the Repeal of Section 230 Mean for the Future?
If Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was appealed, social media could no longer function, at least not in the same way that it functions today. Unfortunately, without this important federal law, freedom of expression/online speech would be highly restricted, any content deemed as “crossing a line” would be censored. Real-time posts and content creation could not exist due to the need to review every piece of content that gets posted to these platforms.
This federal law is needed to protect freedom of speech and for the internet to remain a place that everyone can practice their first amendment easily and in real time. Businesses and individuals everywhere who use social media would be affected drastically if Section 230 would cease to exist.
- What the Executive Order May Mean for the Future of Social Media - June 11, 2020