Everyone’s angry at the tech industry these days! Tech companies continue to cement their place as some of the most powerful companies in the world, and taking shots at them has become a popular sport. Most recently, Facebook and Twitter suppressed a controversial New York Post article, raising accusations that the social networks are putting their thumbs on the scale of the upcoming election.
In response, conservatives — led by the President — have set their sights on Section 230, the legislation that protects the right of Internet companies to moderate content. “Repeal Section 230” has become a popular rallying cry from people who believe that large social networks are abusing this ability to enact a political agenda. There’s a lot of rhetoric around “publishers” and “platforms” (the idea being that if you decide to moderate content on your app or website, you should assume legal liability for it) and that Internet companies are breaking the rules by deciding what content to allow.
Naturally, the left disputes the claim that conservatives are being censored. But we can still analyze the power of gatekeeper platforms even if we disagree about how they’re wielding it.