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Internet Equality

The internet and various social media platforms can truly be a blessing and a curse. Are platforms such as YouTube and Facebook fair? The answer is no, and with U.S legislations assisting these tech companies, justice is hardly brought forward. Section 230 which trickles down from the Communications Decency Act of 1996 serves to essentially protect social media companies from what is being posted on their platform. Section 230 allows social media companies to not be liable for what is posted on their site in accordance with the First Amendment (freedom of speech). However, Section 230 also allows these social media companies to moderate their content and take certain posts down if they see it is necessary. So essentially, hateful posts can be taken down at the companies discretion, but if it isn’t, the company cannot be held liable for hateful content that is kept present on their platform. Seems a little unfair right? This often allows hateful groups to spread their message on these platforms i.e white supremacists recruiting on Youtube.

T Gilepsie’s book chapter is called “The Myth of a Neutral Platform”. This title refers to the inequality of social media and how the First Amendment can be compromised. For example, YouTube has an algorithm that is put in place to demonetize certain videos that have been flagged or disliked. Minorities often suffer from this algorithm such as the LGBTQ communities. The LGBTQ videos on YouTube often do not get the attention or powerful voice that other content creators are given because of hateful audiences disliking their videos. By disliking their videos, content produced by LGBTQ is subject to being demonetized. While the LGBTQ community may still have a voice on YouTubes platform, their voice is not heard at the magnitude of other content creators and this is exactly what T. Gilepsie means by social media not being a “neutral” platform.

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