Section 230, part of the Telecommunications Decency Act of 1996, may sound like just any obscure piece of legislation, but it plays a crucial role in protecting your online freedom.

Back in February 1996, when Section 230 became law, it brought common sense to the table — content creators should be held responsible for their own words, not the platforms playing host. This is the essence of America’s commitment to free speech.

However, in recent years, there has been significant pushback against Section 230 among political figures — and it isn’t just from one faction. Both the left and the right have reservations about the idea of platforms having the freedom to determine what content they will or won’t host. 

In the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Capitol in January 2021, Facebook and Twitter, now ‘X,’ banned the then-president Donald Trump from their platforms. Sounds like a power move, right? 

Surprisingly, it wasn’t Section 230 that allowed it; it was the First Amendment. Section 230 merely paved the way for those controversial tweets, keeping platforms free from the responsibility of the content — and free from the obligation to host the president’s content if they don’t want to.

If you care about freedom of speech online, it’s imperative that Section 230 remains. Your online voice and platform options depend on it!

Imagine a world without Section 230. It would turn the world of content moderation upside down. 

Twitter and Facebook, with their deep pockets, might survive the content moderation storm, but what about the new kids on the block? They’d be at a significant disadvantage, struggling to grow in a world where platforms face the constant threat of legal repercussions.

And it’s not just about social media; it’s about every online content distributor. Repealing Section 230 would mean Wikipedia is suddenly on the hook for every article, and Yelp for every user review. The diversity of voices we cherish in online discussions would be at risk.

Section 230 is your shield against a sanitized, one-dimensional online world. It enables competition, not just between companies but between ideas.

So, the next time you hear about Section 230, know that it’s not just a legal provision; it’s your ticket to a vibrant online space where diverse opinions flourish. Defend it, and you defend your right to be heard in the digital arena.

Section 230 and the defense of free speech online will be an important topic of discussion at Students For Liberty’s upcoming LibertyCon International. The Director of Tech and Innovation and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Jessica Melugin, will moderate a panel discussion on the topic.

The panel will see Ford Fischer, the Editor-in-Chief of News2Share; Connor Boyack, author of the Tuttle Twins book series; and Topher Field, host of The Aussie Wire News, discuss the importance of Section 230 and why many Democrats and Republicans want to kill it.

Students For Liberty’s flagship annual event, LibertyCon International will be held in Washington, D.C., on February 2-4, 2024. It promises to be the place for engaging with leading experts and connecting with others who share a dedication to advancing pro-liberty ideas and creating a freer future.

Click the button below to sign up for updates and secure your spot at this exciting event. We can’t wait to see you there!

This piece solely expresses the opinion of the author and not necessarily the organization as a whole. Students For Liberty is committed to facilitating a broad dialogue for liberty, representing a variety of opinions.