If Social Media Sites Acted Like Publishers, Fake News Would Vanish

What was meant as a legal provision to help the internet grow two decades ago has instead turned cyberspace into a Wild West of fake news, coarse, unrestrained and destructive commentary, and now a platform for our foreign adversaries to spread propaganda that threatens to undermine our very democracy.Ironically, the provision was slipped into something called the "Communications Decency Act," which was supposed to effectively ban obscenity and pornography from web sites. The main intent of the law obviously failed, as any cursory search for porn on the web can attest.What did work was the unintended consequences of another provision of the 1992 act, which declared internet web platforms free of the rational restraints that editors and publishers bring to more conventional print platforms, such as magazines and newspapers. Specifically, operators of internet services were not to be construed as publishers, thus not legally responsible for the posts of third parties who used their services.  Continue reading...

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