Regulating Social Media: The Fight Over Section 230 — And Beyond

Regulating Social Media Section 230
September 2020
Who is liable for online content?

There are increasing calls to curtail or revoke Section 230, a 1996 law that protects internet companies from most lawsuits related to user-generated content. Critics of Section 230 say it discourages vigilant self-regulation. Proponents counter that the law has fostered free expression and innovation. Our report concludes that Section 230 ought to be preserved but significantly amended.

Creating a new internet regulator

Reform in this area should go beyond amending Section 230. We recommend formation of a Digital Regulatory Agency— an independent body with internet expertise that will establish and enforce rules aimed at boosting platform transparency and accountability without interfering in content decisions. The agency could, for example, require internet companies to disclose how their algorithms order news feeds and recommendations, which would help explain how harmful content spreads.

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