Understanding the Section 230 Provision that Trump Wants Congress to Repeal

Aside from the $2k stimulus check amount, Trump’s additional condition to his signing of the 2021 Appropriations Bill was the repeal of Sec.230 of CDA. Also known as the Communications Decency Act, its Section 230 provision gives protection against legal liabilities that may arise from any content posted by users of a media platform.

The recent attack on Section 230 is a totally different issue from an earlier Twitter feud relate to the platform’s ban on political campaigns. Trump is currently claiming that social media sites are allowing the Democrats to steal the election.

Actually, at a time when social media sites banned the posting of political campaigns in their platform, what the Democrats were able to accomplish in using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and instagram, was to convince people to exercise their right to vote. Trump of course did not want this to happen, since the main reason he won the 2016 elections is that many Democratic voters did not participate in the election process.

Not to stray from the main topic, the greater interest is knowing what exactly does Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, provide as protection to communication networks like social media platforms.

What Exactly is Section 230 and How Does it Affect Users of Social Media Platforms?

Section 230 was created and introduced in 1996 by Rep. Chris Cox (R-California) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) so that owners of websites can freely moderate content and without worry of any legal responsibilities. This particular law gives websites protection against lawsuits, if ever a user posts topics that become subjects of lawsuits. The privilege afforded by Section 230 though, does not exempt websites from carrying content that violate federal criminal laws, phornographic works, and copyright violations.

Still, the Act encompasses a lot of services, including allowing audience and users to post and exchange comments. The liability-free status makes Section 230 very important for social media networks since they don’t have control over comments and other post interactions linked to their users’ posts; or tweets as in the case of Twitter.

Experts insist that the wide protection the law provides, allows dominant companies to overlook the potential real harm posed by users of their platforms. Lawmakers on the other hand had put forward incorrect arguments; illogically claiming that the section only safeguards the interest of those who support neither left wing or right wing advocates or those in neutral platforms.

Additionally, a lot of people connect Section 230 to the First Amendment that prohibits governments from imposing limits on various forms of speech. Section 230 eased the pressure on tech companies to observe rules that require them to regulate and limit content based on a specific political standpoint or ideology. Such a requirement would have been unlawful because it violates the First Amendment.

Legal experts contend that if ever Section 230 is removed, social media platforms would be forced to change the way they operate and manage their platforms.

Companies on the other hand, who benefit from the cost-efficient approach in marketing their brands, would have to evaluate every content their marketers’ or influencers’ present as creative content, before posting and sharing them in social media platforms, if only to ensure that non-controversial topics will be posted.

In today’s marketing strategies, brand promoters and influencers are capable of curating their content in Instagram by using an analytics tool. The tool is useful in generating Instagram stats related to their posts, giving them insights on those that are working as far as achievement of their goals are concerned.

If social media companies impose limitations on what they can create as content, Instagram users will not be able to reach a broader set of audience.