back to article So, where does Silicon Valley stand on S.230? Zuck wants 'industry best practices', Pichai demurs, Dorsey urges more Bluesky thinking

The heads of Facebook, Google, and Twitter will be questioned in Congress on Thursday by politicians probing "social media's role in promoting extremism and misinformation." In written testimony submitted ahead of this week's hearing, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued the legal shield protecting online platforms from being …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    "that would be impractical for platforms with billions of posts per day"

    I fail to see how it would be impractical for platforms that make billions of dollars per day.

    Costly ? Probably. Impractical ? Certainly not.

    1. sbt Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Too big, too bad.

      It's time to end this canard of "Too big to fail/regulate/moderate/support customers/etc." If you won't employ the staff to comply with the regulatory requirements for customer service or moderation, then how about you get broken up into smaller pieces?

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: "that would be impractical for platforms with billions of posts per day"

      Basically Facebook is aiming at a more "socially" (pun indented) acceptable "get out of jail for free" card. The actual Section 230 puts them in bad light, as it's a broad and blank protection. They just need to pretend they are following some "best practice" they themselves set ("We care!") and still have the "get out of jail for free" card to avoid any consequence if the "best practices" do not work - which in turn means there's no real need to ensure those "best practices" really work.

      It's ironic that here the people who rented the shop of my late father had to install a shower in case "an employee or customer enters in contact with harmful substances" - they sell clothes. If it was a shop selling food they would have a long list of safety rules to abide to - and would not get any protection if poisoned food escapes the controls, just because they followed "best practices".

      Zuck & C. can make eople get in contact with a lot of harmful contents without any need to to do nothing, and without any responsibility.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: "that would be impractical for platforms with billions of posts per day"

      That's the whole damn point. Zuck wants to gut Section 230 because it will become infeasible for small players to comply, and that will drive them out, cementing Facebook's dominance. It's regulatory capture at its finest.

      Being anti-230 is to be anti-open-Internet and pro-Facebook. They are one and the same.

      Wyden is completely correct about the consequences of screwing with Section 230.

  2. and I

    I agree, let's try the blue skies of no S230

    If these jokers had to take responsibility for the torrents of hate given a platform by them, then I'm sure blocking that garbage would suddenly seem eminently practical.

  3. CrackedNoggin Bronze badge

    I'm not so convinced things would change that much if section 230 is revoked. If the big companies spend a lot and win a few lawsuits, that would make legal precedence - then business as usual.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Presumably you mean "precedents", not "precedence".

      It takes a long time to set precedents in the US for Federal laws, because for anything important decisions will be appealed up to the circuits, and the circuits can arrive at conflicting decisions. Unless and until SCOTUS takes it up, there's no national precedent. And even then there's no guarantee a court will take notice of precedent – that's something counsel has to raise once a suit or criminal case is in progress. So precedent is not particularly helpful for small organizations with limited resources.

      Revoking S.230 would crush smaller players. Only the big ones would be left.

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    So the key is an adequate means of achieving the impractical - or did I miss something?

  5. Magani
    Unhappy

    Oxymoronic?

    'Industry [sic] best practices' is just another way of saying 'The lowest standard we can get away with'.'

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Oxymoronic?

      No, in this case Zuck wants something relatively expensive. This is an anti-competitive position he's been working on for some time.

  6. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    > "What is noteworthy about Zuckerberg’s suggestion, however, is that it makes the shield contingent on company action; something that the tech industry has argued furiously against for over a decade"

    ...it's because they're running scared. They'll never be forgiven for the Orange one.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      You're living in a dream world. Here on Earth, Facebook is doing better than ever, and now they see the opportunity to regulate competitors out of existence.

  7. Danny Boyd

    There's policing and there's policing

    Section 230 says: “platforms should not be held liable if a particular piece of content evades its detection – that would be impractical for platforms with billions of posts per day – but they should be required to have adequate systems in place to address unlawful content.” Note: "unlawful content."

    And what are they policing? Is alt-right content unlawful? No, it's just stupid. Is QAnon-related content unlawful? Ditto. Is COVIG-19 BS unlawful? Ditto. Are Trump's posts illegal? Ditto.

    Why did Russia throttle (not very successfully) Twitter and threatened to ban it altogether? Because Twitter didn't respond to their demands to remove teen suicide propaganda. Is teen suicide propaganda illegal? Yes, in most countries. And Twitter responded with "We stand for free societal dialog and discussion." Aha, in the form of teen suicide propaganda.

    To keep enjoying S.230 protection, social networks should "have adequate systems in place to address unlawful content", if their policies deviate from it, they are not protected and may face lawsuits and penalties.

    Disclaimer: I'm not an employee, a shareholder, or a user of the "social" networks, and thus have no interest in their well-being or existence.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: There's policing and there's policing

      You're wrong about Section 230.

  8. cd

    They need to implement a "TIme-Out" for these companies, give them six months or so inaccessible to all to give them time to think clearly and implement more effectively. If after that Time-Out they have not yet learned, another six months.

    It would be effective if enforced, and could give competition time to take root.

    Also need a ban on any Tech M&A for ten years.

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