Advocacy Links

Critical Hearings, Whistleblower Testimony and Research

Why is it so hard to hold social media platforms liable? 

The brief answer to this:  In 1996, Congress wanted online platforms to grow as venues for commerce and communication while at the same time proactively curb harmful behavior online.  If platforms were viewed as a publisher, they could be held liable for its online content.  So, in 1996 Congress enacted the Communications Decency Act to protect online companies from liability arising from what is posted on their platforms.  In short, Section 230 of this act provides these companies complete immunity from whatever is posted.  Click HERE understand what the intent of Section 230 initially was and why it has morphed into a blanket immunity shield for these companies.  

While this may have made sense in the 1990s, no one could have predicted the explosion of social media and it's grip hold.  In the 1990s, the general public was entirely unaware that these platforms primarily operate by algorithms generating and pushing content to end users without regard for the appropriateness of that content and/or the potential dangers that came with that content.

Still … courts interpret Section 230 as a complete immunity shield for all online platforms.  And it empowers platforms not to care because they are forever not liable for any potential consequences.

Click HERE to understand why Section 230 needs to be amended.

Where does that leave us now?

Since 2021, state and federal legislatures appear to have finally awakened to this issue and have started both to investigate (via hearings) and proposing laws, though the hurdle of Section 230 appears almost insurmountable.

Click on the links below to learn more of what has been (and continues to be) uncovered with respect to social media’s harm in general but particularly as it relates to the harms it causes to our kids, as well as both federal and state attempts to hold social media platforms accountable.



Do you like this page?

Showing 1 reaction

published this page in Advocacy 2023-02-07 21:41:56 -0800
Erik's Cause
Saving lives with a non-graphic, skills-based approach to stop the spread of viral & deadly online challenges

Prevention Program
Report an Incident
Compelling Data