When we talk about Section 230 in a vacuum, separate from antitrust policy, or public utility policy, we miss how it works — or rather, how it fails, and, more importantly, how to coherently set up a new, comprehensive regulatory regime with a thriving informational sphere. Section 230 was born along with consolidation, and instead of just talking about full or partial repeal, we should be talking about a new vision for communications infrastructure in America.
By Zephyr Teachout1
It was probably about five years ago that I realized I had been totally wrong on Section 230, a kind of depth of wrongness that can make one more humble not just about the particular policy area, but all policy areas. I had adopted the view that Section 230 was fundamentally necessary for the flowering of decentralized, creative, online life, and that without it, there would be an internet, but it would be a highly controlled internet, one without joy or quirks, one that was organized from the top down. I advocated for it and campaigned on it.
There are two primary reasons for my wrongness about 230. First, I came to the law through copyright, and while I am by no means a free culture warrior, I have real and ongoing concerns about the monopolistic lock up of culture, and control that flows therefrom, in our current intellectual property regimes. As a result, many of my late aughts-early 2010s objections to touching 230 came not from a deep belief in the importance of platform immu!-->…