Posted by: itslikethatweb | November 2, 2012

Life Without CDA 230

Out here on the big, lonely frontier of the Internet, it’s comforting to know that there’s a cowboy on our side. That cowboy being, of course, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and it’s disarmingly clever guide for our rights as online publishers. It is strange to think that I knew so little about a platform I’ve used for so long, and honestly, it’s a relief to know that the blogosphere adheres to these regulations.

The original article links to a list of related pieces, one of which is this fantastic infographic (too large to post full-size, but click the image below for the expanded version)

In essence, the infographic serves to illustrate how crucial CDA 230 is to the protection of our freedom of speech. The most striking portion, in my mind, is the pair of real life examples of countries that don’t have CDA 230: citizens in Thailand and Turkey have extremely limited freedom of speech online (although presumably that freedom is similarly limited offline). Criticism of leadership and of national identity are particularly frowned upon in both cases, which would absolutely not fly here in the US.

Imagine this year’s election if Americans were barred from voicing criticism about our leaders online. How would the digital landscape be altered with the exclusion of content that questions our government? How would that exclusion affect our overall political discourse?

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Responses

  1. I wholeheartedly agree about how crucial CDA 230 is to the protection of our freedom of speech. It is unfortunate, however, that while we have such laws in place, our media platforms, in specific, do not take full advantage of it. Yes we are not like Thailand or Turkey, but a brief look at any of the given networks makes it obvious the degree to which information is being skewed to align with certain vallues of “the powers that be”. It is one thing to not have such protective provisions, but it is another thing when we choose to be bias and disregard the vast value of such laws.
    My question is, as our media platforms evolve at the speed of light (cyber space in particular) what kinds of limitation it can impose for our freedom of speech? As an example, lets look at the case of misleading tweets sent out during hurricane Sandy. Criminal charges are being suggested on the person who lied in his tweets. According to CNN, misleading the public during an emergency via social media is equivalent to yelling “fire” at the theater. While one can argue in favore of posting personal comments as exercising freedom of speech, there are certainly bad consequences in need of a solution.


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