The Assault on Platforms and Section 230 – Internet Governance Project

by David Solomonoff

The past week saw a hurricane of activity around content moderation by platforms in the U.S. The Federal Communications Commission, the Justice Department, and a Supreme Court justice made it clear that they want to pull the plug on Section 230 of the Communications Act, the part of the law that immunizes platforms from liability.

Call us naive and idealistic, but democracy and freedom only win if the public can discuss and debate conflicting ideas. The freedom to organize publicly also brings with it transparency, an ability to see what these different groups are advocating, and to whom.

One can easily see how fundamentally undemocratic it is to deplatform ideologies and social movements merely because we oppose their belief system. Quite apart from the individual right of the ideologue to express their views, it denies the rest of the population the right to be exposed to certain political ideologies. The suppressing agent does not trust the public to make a wise or informed choice. What this means in practice is that whoever happens to hold enough political and legal clout to get its opponents suppressed will use that power to block speakers deemed wrong or dangerous. That makes the social media platform – and indeed all the public media – a prime target for political competition for control of public discourse. And that is what is happening now.

Source: The Assault on Platforms and Section 230 – Internet Governance Project

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