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From the Right

This view is from an author rated as Lean Right.

Here's a potential practical solution to the problem of Big Tech censorship. And this could be implemented relatively easily and without any major court decision based on the First Amendment.

The problem comes down to the fact that social media companies sometimes want to be treated as a carrier of non-moderated content in order to be protected by Section 230(c)(1), and sometimes act like a newspaper (which does not enjoy the same special protections) that writes and moderates its content.

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If a social media company wants to censor discussion about the possibility that the COVID-19 virus started in a lab in Wuhan, China, that is fine. They are now acting like a newspaper with editorial control and should not qualify for protections provided by Section 230. If they want to keep those special protections, they should be required to abide by the First Amendment principles that the government follows, including a prohibition against censoring different perspectives.

Any company, big or small, could have it both ways if they identify sections as either an non-moderated open forum (with special protections) or their own controlled content (without special protections). They just can’t have it both ways at the same time, confusing consumers about what is open and what is controlled or censored. 

Big Tech censorship is an important problem that should be addressed fast. If we look for solutions rather than just how we are right and those other people are wrong, we can make great progress more quickly than a drawn-out legal battle. Revising Section 230(c)(1) is one way to do that.

John Gable is AllSides' CEO and co-founder. He has a Lean Right bias.

This piece was reviewed by Managing Editor Henry A. Brechter (Center bias) and Data Journalist Andrew Weinzierl (Lean Left bias).