dot.LA Explains: What is Section 230?

Social media companies are under fire. In the wake of the pandemic and the presidential election, users on all sides of the political spectrum are calling upon them to take a more active role in online content moderation. The January 6 attack on the Capitol, largely organized on social platforms, brought a moment of reckoning to these companies. Lawmakers and users alike are now considering how social media moderation might be legislated going forward.

At the heart of this debate is Section 230. Nicknamed the "twenty-six words that created the internet," its protections have been instrumental in enabling the explosion of social media companies. But with the influence these platforms now wield and misinformation now common across the internet, many question whether Section 230 needs to be amended or if it should even apply at all.

So what is Section 230 -- and what do you really need to know about it? On this installment from our "dot.LA Explains" series, host Kelly O'Grady runs through its meaning and some key points that may impact the future of the internet. Be sure to register for our Strategy Session on Wednesday, February 10 where we will delve deeper into the dynamics surrounding online content moderation.

Watch to learn more about Section 230, and follow us on Instagram for daily video content.

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Ben Bergman

Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.
Image courtesy of Bored Breakfast Club

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