Why Two Major Legal Battles Could Help Make The Internet A Safer Place

The Supreme Court will vote on changes to Section 230 which will hold more internet platforms accountable for what users post online

By Tiffany Velasquez | Published


How humans use the internet and what they can post online may be about to change in a significant way. The Supreme court is set to listen to oral cases from a high-profile hearing involving Facebook, Twitter, and Google. The case has been sparked by families of people that have fallen victim to terrorist attacks due to hate and harmful content that was spread on the internet catalysts in the case.

The internet has become an increasingly dangerous place, plagued by online bullying, sexual predators, hackers, terrorists, and more. With growing concerns from parents, the presidential administration, and others, laws surrounding Section 230 are likely to change. While the motive behind this change is to make the interweb a safer place for everyone, some say that the proposed changes will hurt everyone’s basic freedom to express themselves.

Section 230 is a small portion of an entire act called the Communications Decency Act that protects media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google from facing legal consequences for user content. Section 230 was initially created to allow and promote freedom of speech on the internet. The change is being posed to force the media giants to ultimately screen and remove content posted by users that may be deemed offensive or harmful.

Internet platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google already have community guidelines in place. These guidelines often sensor and prohibit things such as violence, harassment, self-harm, nudity, illegal activity, and more. However, these guidelines are not meeting expectations.

Social media platforms that promote things like natural childbirth that share photos of firsthand experiences often get flagged and taken down, while other profiles that are truly offensive and harmful often go unnoticed. Whatever the current method that each internet platform is using is failing.

This change to Section 230 will hold each internet platform accountable for itself. Lawmakers on both the republican and democratic sides concur that changes must happen. The specific reason why each political party thinks the changes should be made differs, but ultimately an agreement that something needs to change is agreed upon.

If the change occurs, social media platforms will have to find a new and more effective way to monitor what users post on their pages and platforms. If they don’t, the internet giants will be faced with potential legal and moral problems. While freedom of speech is vital, so are safety and accountability.

People and organizations who use internet platforms as a means to spread harmful propaganda should not be able to do so. The platforms should not allow them to either. Things are already being censored, so why not censor the things that are actually harmful? Instead of avoiding responsibility, it is time for these big-name companies to take responsibility and do right by their users. It only makes sense.

This decision which could change the internet should be reached by the end of 2023. The Supreme Court will decide based on the evidence they are set to hear this week, plus other information from a plethora of cases involving online speech.