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Communications of the ACM

ACM Opinion

Section 230 Is a Government License to Build Rage Machines

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QAnon demonstrator with U.S.-QAnon flag

Credit: Reuters

David Chavern is the president and CEO of the News Media Alliance.

Facebook has been called the " largest piece of the QAnon infrastructure." It has not only hosted plenty of the conspiracy group's dark and dangerous content, it has also promoted and expanded its audience. Facebook also promotes and expands the audience of militia organizers, racists, those who seek to spread disinformation to voters, and a host of other serious troublemakers.

Facebook benefits from a very special get-out-of-jail-free card provided by the U.S. government. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects "interactive computer services" like Facebook and Google from legal liability for the posts of their users. This is often portrayed as an incentive for good moderation. What is underappreciated is that it also provides special protection for actively bad moderation and the unsavory business practices that make the big tech platforms most of their money.

From Wired
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