In The Federalist, John Daniel Davidson supports removing the protections that have allowed Twitter and Facebook to become unaccountable mega-corporations. He writes (abridged):
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was passed in 1996, back when Congress was grappling with new technology and trying to make the internet as open as possible. Harsanyi (David at NRO) and others worry that if liability protections are taken away, there would be a flood of lawsuits. Media companies might abandon open platforms altogether. Social media as we know it might cease to exist.
Let’s hope so. It wouldn’t be the end of the world—or even of free speech—if we went back to an Internet without comment sections, without Twitter mobs, and without aggressively politicized social media companies.
And anyway, in all likelihood we wouldn’t go backward but forward. New kinds of platforms and new methods of communications would emerge, maybe a more diverse array of companies, too. Somewhere along the way, someone might even devise a social media platform that doesn’t incessantly turn us against one another and stoke division and civic unrest.
The future is uncertain, but the present state of affairs is not. Let’s admit what we all know: Twitter and the other tech giants are a cancer on our body politick. We owe them nothing, certainly not special protection from liability. Let them figure out how to operate like the traditional publishers they have decided to be—and if they can’t, let them die.
John Daniel Davidson is the Political Editor at The Federalist.
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