Reform Section 230 to protect users and incentivize safety
  1. United States
  2. Mass.
  3. Letter

Reform Section 230 to protect users and incentivize safety

To: Rep. Lynch, Pres. Biden, Sen. Markey, Sen. Warren

From: A constituent in Quincy, MA

July 2

Social media platforms have become enormous drivers of societal discourse and communication, wielding immense influence and power. However, their approach to moderating harmful content and preventing exploitation on their sites has been woefully inadequate. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has provided these tech giants with excessive legal immunity, allowing them to evade accountability for the real-world consequences of their products. The case brought by the 15-year-old Texas student who was groomed by a teacher via Snapchat illustrates the grave dangers enabled by platforms shirking responsibility. Features like disappearing messages facilitate predatory behavior while lax age verification enables underage users to be targeted. Snapchat's design choices directly enabled this abuse to occur. Businesses cannot profit from practices that endanger vulnerable groups like children. Social media companies must be held liable when their negligence leads to harm, incentivizing them to prioritize user safety over engagement metrics. Unlimited legal protections are an untenable situation that allows abuses to proliferate unchecked. It is imperative that Section 230 be revised to strike a better balance, maintaining free speech while compelling platforms to address fundamental design flaws that abet exploitation, harassment, and the spread of misinformation and extremism. Companies who fail to implement robust safeguards and content moderation should face legal consequences commensurate with the harms caused by their inaction. Self-regulation has proven insufficient - oversight and accountability are urgently needed.

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