Section 230 – did you ever hear of it? It is part of federal legislation passed 20 years ago, designed as a legal framework for the internet we know today, which relies on what you and I post as users, instead of what the companies create.
It gave immunity to social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, meaning, you cannot sue them for the content on their sites and also free rein to operate without having to moderate what they allow. Or censor.
Last week, a New York Post “hot button” story was blocked on the internet, along with personal Twitter accounts of White House employees or campaign staffers, possibly re-telling the news story.
This is what we know: The NY Post broke new details involving possible emails from Joe Biden to his son, Hunter, related to the son’s controversial dealings with overseas entities, in this case, China, while Biden was vice president. That was part of an earlier story that never made the “front page.” But at that time, candidate Joe Biden said he had no knowledge of his son’s business dealings. Although new emails – if true – show otherwise.
The already published story in the major newspaper was not allowed, banned, on the internet by a Big Tech company. Obviously, it had all the makings of damaging story for the Democratic candidate on the eve of the election, again, if true.
But are we not entitled to know all facts and details about the man who might be the next president? Are we not entitled to know who made the decision to kill the Post story?
New and improved technology has impacted so many facets of our lives, mostly in positive ways, but possible political biases and suppression of free speech by interactive computer companies does more than chill the air, it’s a threat to our most basic freedoms.
Federal legislators should bring this particular law (and Section 230) into the 21st century. It’s expected the Senate Judiciary Committee will subpoena one or two social media execs to testify this week.
Please pay attention to this issue, including the accountability and oversight of interactive companies regarding internet postings, in general. All of it is bigger than the Biden story.