I’ve been writing about the digital iron curtain for a while now and the conservative movement has gone from ignoring the issue to going all in on Section 230 repeal. While Section 230 repeal is an interesting tactic, and the threat of it was good leverage, it wouldn’t on its own solve the problem of conservative censorship.
If anything it might actually intensify it and lead to crackdowns on independent conservative sites while making services like Parler all but unviable.
A lot of anti-Big Tech conservatives and lefties support Section 230 repeal. And one particular organization’s support ought to be setting off alarms.
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s fairly incoherent Year in Hate and Extremism 2020 report closes with a rant about Section 230.
“Some of the robber barons of social media are warming to revisions of section 230 of the Communication Decency Act — legislation that, in its current form, insulates platforms from liability for the content users post – long after its true utility ran out for their companies. The toxic networks that they nurtured are migrating to new platforms, like Parler and Telegram.”
A lot of people misunderstand Section 230 and the legal debate over what might happen if it’s repealed has been going on for a while, but the SPLC’s take is gibberish. And yet it’s not the first time that the SPLC has pushed Section 230 repeal. It likely will not be the last.
Section 230 repeal is more controversial than the Facebook boycott censorship push, but it has a lot of fans on the Left.
I fundamentally disagree with the political premises of much of this Electronic Freedom Foundation article, but its conclusion is arguably correct.
Mostly, what we need to understand is that there is no single change to the law that will fix Big Tech. It’s much more complicated than Section 230. It’s more complicated than just breaking these companies up. We need to change the entire ecosystem that Big Tech has manipulated to protect its power. And it starts with competition, not Section 230.
Antitrust won’t solve everything, but it will shatter some of the mountains of Big Tech. It’s not a magic kill switch either, but it can potentially change the landscape.
Of course, it’ll be at least four years until that’s an issue. And there are things we can do which starts with not giving Big Tech money directly or indirectly. I won’t even call it a boycott. Instead of going cold turkey, try to look for alternatives before clicking the Amazon button. Limit your dependency on Google services. Don’t buy the latest Apple phone. And keep pushing legislators to regulate and limit the power of Big Tech monopolies. It makes sense for Section 230 to be part of that conversation, but be careful how you use it. The people who want conservatives erased from the internet want to use it too.