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My solution to Section 230 debates

I have always been vocal about Section 230 as media and politicians are trying to shape public opinion toward wrong direction of stripping Section 230 from intermediaries. Truth is that Internet runs on intermediaries, while there are a log of tech savy people and a lot of tools had lowered entrance bar, not every one is capable of running their own publishing service on the internet. Section 230 in a nutshell protect those intermediaries from actions of their users, so users can still be prosecuted if they post some illegal content, but not companies that provide services to those users. Supreme court

Across the spectrum of actions culmination thus far has been an introduction of a bill H.R.8922, there is a long description on Gabbard’s site that goes over how this bill would break up “big tech” by removing legal immunity from certain categories of intermediaries, however quite loose definitions of those categories will actually benefit them. Remember those companies has two categories on their staff to take advantage, those are lobbyist and lawyers. Since it’s quite popular among both Democrats and Republicans to take a shot at big tech to “stop” censorship lobbyist won’t go into the open fight, their approach is going to be adding as much generalization as possible to that bill, on top of what it’s already there. Then lawyers would do their part of protecting those big tech companies in various lawsuits and smaller intermediaries would fall as a collateral, because they don’t have lawyers on staff.

Legislators have to act smarter in that situation, since you can not address censorship aspect of it, after all it’s their service and they can do whatever they want with it, you have to follow the money and address it where it hurts. Remember their business is advertisement, they will continue to operate with more safeguards to protect them i.e censorship through Terms of Use and more lawyers on staff, still luring people into using those “free” social networks. Their approach to advertisement is behavioral advertisement which is based on their ability to track users across the Internet, track users interactions and ability to predict users next move. Have you ever been in situation where say you looked up something at your favorite DIY store and then all of the sudden you started getting ads on your favorite internet radio about subject of your research at that DIY site, this is how they work in a nutshell. Through very distributed data network they obtain information about your interests and then sell you as a target for advertisers making them compete for the spot in your feed. That model abandoned less profitable, but more relevant to you contextual model, which is uses information on the page to place ads, so say you are reading article about types of tires and you get ads from a tire company. That does not require to track you across the Internet, all information such model need is on the page, but they can’t predict whether you are just interested or doing extensive research on tires and almost ready to buy.

So my solution to the problem is to leave Section 230 in place and then protect peoples privacy prohibiting collection and sales of information on the person without explicit consent by the person who is being tracked. That way all small intermediaries and social networks that do not profit off of users information will continue to be protected by Section 230 and if big tech companies still want to operate they just have to collect explicit consents from collection and sale of information on every person for EVERY instance, which is still technologically possible, but going to be quite tedious and potentially cost prohibitive so they might start to charging those users who does not want to be tracked. Then each person would make a decision if they want to stay with that social network or join one of the community run networks like Mastodon for example, where it’s either run by some non profits with limited number of users who can join particular instance or tech savy users can operate instances themselves. Sure I might not cover all of the basis here, but my proposal seems to benefit general public on so many different levels, it’s more pro-public than anti-tech.

Personally I had switched to Mastodon as my primary social network, if you have Mastodon account on any of the Mastodon instances around the globe you can follow me here or you can just read my thoughts there if you don’t want to follow. I still operate various social media accounts, but they either stay dormant or just “re-tweet” information from my main account.