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First and foremost, this article should not be construed as political in nature nor is it partisan. The right to vote is one of the most fundamental rights in our world today and the purpose of this article is not to attempt to sway your vote in the upcoming 2020 presidential election. When it comes to elections, knowledge is power, and my goal is to simply bring your attention to an issue that could have substantial ramifications on free speech and the online/adult industry.
In early January, the New York Times editorial board released an interview with former United States Vice President and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden in which he was quoted as saying “Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one. For Zuckerberg and other platforms”. Media outlets and free speech advocates across the country were quick to raise concerns over Mr. Biden’s comments. I happen to share in many of those raised concerns.
FAST FACT: Section 230 says 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” (47 U.S.C. § 230).
Let’s begin with a brief history of where Section 230 came from and what it is. Section 230, as its commonly known, is a part of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. It’s always important to remember that in 1996, there was no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. Section 230 provides “interactive computer services” – i.e. websites, hosts, registrars and social media platforms with broad immunity from civil cases over the content users publish on their platforms.