Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Section 230 of the CDA Does Not Create Definitions for ‘Platforms’ or ‘Publishers’

Mike Masnick, Techdirt:

This “publisher” v. “platform” concept is a totally artificial distinction that has no basis in the law. News publishers are also protected by Section 230 of the CDA. All CDA 230 does is protect a website from being held liable for user content or moderation choices. It does not cover content created by the company itself. In short, the distinction is not “platform” or “publisher” it’s “content creator” or “content intermediary.” Contrary to Coaston’s claims, Section 230 equally protects the NY Times and the Washington Post if it chooses to host and/or moderate user comments. It does not protect content produced by those companies itself, but similarly, Section 230 does not protect content produced by Facebook itself.

This is a misconception that seems to have become increasingly common as platforms grapple with moderating users’ posts. There is no legal obligation for any private website or service to be neutral, and there is — I believe — a strong moral argument for them not to be.