This paper summarizes the US’ authorized framework governing Web “platforms” that publish third-party content material. It highlights three key options of U.S. regulation: the constitutional protections totally free speech and press, the statutory immunity supplied by 47 U.S.C. § 230 (“Part 230”), and the bounds on state regulation of the Web. It additionally discusses U.S. efforts to impose obligatory transparency obligations on Web “platforms.”
I used to be requested to put in writing this text final summer time as a part of a multi-author international survey of “platform” regulation (I put the phrase “platform” in quotes for causes I clarify within the article), and it navigates a prolonged questionnaire that was posed to all contributing authors. Whereas I’ve written Part 230 explainers earlier than (this is my flagship), this piece is broader as a result of it surveys the First Modification along with 230 and different matters. For that motive, I believe this piece could also be much more useful than my prior explainers as a reader-friendly one-stop overview of on-line speech regulation within the US.
Sadly, the piece might have a comparatively brief shelf life–maybe as early because the Supreme Courtroom’s Gonzalez and Taamneh selections in a few months. If not then, it can rapidly develop outdated because of the tsunami of state censorship legal guidelines being enacted this 12 months and ensuing judicial opinions on their constitutionality. So get pleasure from this explainer now, whereas it nonetheless displays prevailing regulation, and earlier than it turns right into a historic snapshot of a much less censorial period.