An important measure in protecting free speech, Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act of 1996 prevents internet service providers from being held liable for the unpredictable things people say in public forums online. Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have created an infographic to explain why this law is still important to social media companies and users everywhere.
It’s certainly important to Craigslist. In 2009, Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart sued the classified advertising business for allowing erotic ads that the law enforcer said facilitate prostitution. The District Court for the Northern District of Illinois later tossed out the case, citing CDA 230 as one of the deciding factors.
The EFF is also working with lawmakers and three library associations to shield Google’s Book Search “snippet” project – which gives librarians access to partial texts from 12 million works – from copyright infringement claims brought on by the Author’s Guild.
The infographic offers a brief overview of what CDA 230 covers and what the impact would be on our personal freedoms if it did not exist.
Image by ck. via Shutterstock.