In 1996, Congress enacted an extraordinary law, 47 U.S.C. § 230 (Section 230). Section 230 says that websites usually aren’t legally liable for third-party content (subject to some statutory exclusions).
This simple proposition has had profound implications. Section 230 has facilitated the emergence of Web 2.0–a universe of Internet services that help us communicate and engage with each other in powerful and novel ways. Many of the top Internet services depend on Section 230, and we rely on Section 230-enabled services hourly.
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