This is the best and most comprehensive analysis of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act we’ve seen, and it reaches a number of conclusions at odds with commonly held beliefs. From Jason Kelly at eff.org:
Even though it’s only 26 words long, Section 230 doesn’t say what many think it does.
So we’ve decided to take up a few kilobytes of the Internet to explain what, exactly, people are getting wrong about the primary law that defends the Internet.
Section 230 (47 U.S.C. § 230) is one of the most important laws protecting free speech online. While its wording is fairly clear—it states that “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider” —it is still widely misunderstood. Put simply, the law means that although you are legally responsible for what you say online, if you host or republish other peoples’ speech, only those people are legally responsible for what they say.
But there are many, many misconceptions–as well as misinformation from Congress and elsewhere–about Section 230, from who it affects and what it protects to what results a repeal would have. To help explain what’s actually at stake when we talk about Section 230, we’ve put together responses to several common misunderstandings of the law.