While the internet is filled up with trolls and controversies which is far beyond the control of most companies, one US presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke has proposed amending the country’s Communication Decency Act’s Section 230 which protects internet companies from being held liable for their users’ actions which is to “Remove legal immunity” for sites and providers that “Knowingly promotes” materials that spurs violence.
While most internet based companies have very little control over what their users post on their platform, such proposal might be a way to restrict internet companies to take quick actions against any user they deem “Hateful” on their platform.
Operators of communities like 8Chan might be held liable for routinely allowing extremism which had led to mass shooting like those in Christchurch and O’Rourke’s hometown of El Paso. His proposal would also demand that bigger internet platforms have strict terms and conditions that states banning “Hateful Activities” that could potential lead to violence, harassment, threats and defamation based on differences such as cultural and physical traits.
The policy theoretically wouldn’t punish companies that unwittingly carry hate speech. However, there are concerns that it could jeopardize protections for companies as a whole.Engadget
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As “Free Speech” is still very important, the restriction of user’s ability to freely express themselves on the internet towards others might be a big issue of dispute with such proposal as it could exacerbate the problems and raise questions about removing other protections.
Others Civil Right advocates have objected to US Senator Ted Cruz’s call to strip immunity off large internet corporations that do not purge alleged biases. This is seen as a violation on the freedom of speech that would let the government dictate the ideologies of private individuals and companies to operate in a capitalist society.
Even though O’Rourke’s approach takes a different angle and a narrower focus, but the result are still going to be the same as what the Civil Right advocates are protesting against.