Decentralization and What Section 230 Really Means for Freedom of Speech

With U.S. President Donald Trump clashing with social media behemoth Twitter, what does the fight over “Section 230” really mean and can decentralization offer a better solution?

AccessTimeIconJun 4, 2020 at 4:43 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 8:48 a.m. UTC
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With U.S. President Donald Trump clashing with social media behemoth Twitter, what does the fight over “Section 230” really mean and can decentralization offer a better solution?

This episode is sponsored by Bitstamp and Ciphertrace.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order last Thursday, seeking to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Section 230 prevents social media companies from civil liability for the content posted on them. The order targets Twitter and Facebook after Twitter fact-checked two of the President’s tweets. 

Today, CoinDesk tackles the topic with Chief Content Officer Michael Casey, privacy reporter Benjamin Powers, New York Law School professor and past president of the American Civil Liberties Union Nadine Strossen and Amy James, author of the Open Index Protocol.

On this podcast, the CoinDesk team brings listeners up to speed on the leadup to and aftermath of the executive order, and discusses the fairness implications of editorializing on social media, the business models that enable and are empowered by all of this and how decentralized protocols can chart an alternative path forward.

First, we talk about the First Amendment and Section 230 itself, what it does and doesn’t do as it pertains to social media platforms and moderation. 

Then we talk about fairness and the if-you-don’t-like-it-leave argument, as well as related topics.

We’ll talk about the business models and assumptions implicit in the current state of dominant social media platforms before turning to alternatives or possible solutions in decentralized protocols and multi-layered approaches to moderation or censorship.

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