Noah Hale, ‘Section 230: The Valyrian Steel For Website Operators, And Why A Tax Credit Is The Best Solution To A Safer Internet’

The most polarizing statute regulating the internet is § 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Critics of § 230 do not like that the statute provides broad immunity to website operators when third parties post on their sites, while advocates for § 230 market the statute as promoting free speech on the internet and preventing website operators from being subject to endless liability. Critics view the statute as the sole problem, and the advocates view § 230 as the savior for these website operators. But the problem of hate speech and hurtful content online is immense and requires expensive investment by these companies to mitigate misinformation and harmful content. We need to incentivize companies to invest in content moderation, tools, and personnel that will flag and remove dangerous content while being careful to not scare these companies with potentially endless liability and overwhelming costs. With so many tech companies struggling to achieve profitability, the solution lies in making content moderation less expensive in the short-term. Website operators should get a tax credit in the short-term to help bear the brunt of initial investments into content moderation. Once website operators have established artificial intelligence to flag and remove dangerous content, they will become less reliant on the tax credit, as they have established the essential assets needed to mitigate dangerous speech on their platforms. If companies are incentivized to invest in content moderation, rather than being scared with the potential of endless liability, we will be closer to achieving our goal of creating safer platforms for internet speech.

Noah Hale, Section 230: The Valyrian Steel For Website Operators, And Why A Tax Credit Is The Best Solution To A Safer Internet, 41 Pace Law Review 281 (2020).

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