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Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act prevents web sites from being sued as if they were publishers. Without that, there would be no Facebook or Twitter, or product reviews on Amazon. Any site that allowed users to post could be sued for what they said.
I was a CompuServe Sysop when the Cubby case hit, and if it had been decided differently, the Internet as we know it today would not exist. Now the President has signed an executive order to review Section 230. This isn’t a huge surprise; two of the original authors of the bill have called for reviews based on the changes to the Internet since the 1990s. Here is an excellent article on the subject.
If you want to know the real story about all this, I would be glad to share review copies of a book I narrated last year, The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet. Send me a message if you would like a promo code for a freebie. This is a very well-written analysis and history, starting with the legal difference between a publisher and a distributor…and who you can sue for what.Published in