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Who’s Accountable ?

Although the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 was, “short-lived” as the Supreme Court viewed it unconstitutional. The Safe Harbor Amendment also known as Section 230 of the CDA still survives to this day and provides a protection for social media companies that is not afforded in many other industries. Section 230 is unique in that it not only excuses social media companies from being held accountable but it also grants them the right to monitor content on their platforms while still being protected from content that may promote hatred and violence. A perfect example of the application of the Safe Harbor Amendment is seen in the terms of service agreement when, “social media platforms claim “the right but not the responsibility” to remove users and delete comments.” (Gilespie, 31).  

Gilespie’s title “The Myth of a Neutral Platform” refers to the myth that social media is this magical place where individuals will be treated equally no matter their views/race/ethnicity. The reason this is a myth is because there is little to no consequence for individuals who attack/harass others on social media. An example of this is seen on twitter, “every day there are thousands of people attacked with no punishments.” (Patrick and Dan). 

Although social media may never truly become a neutral platform, the laws surrounding social media need to evolve in order to protect and promote a more inclusive society. Just as businesses are constantly evolving in order to stay relevant the laws regulating these companies also need to evolve. As Winston Churchill once said, “To improve is to change, to perfect is to change often.”

Sources

Twitter.com 

Gillespie, Tarleton. Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions That Shape Social Media. Yale University Press, 2018

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