Textual Challenges of Section 230

Freedom of Thought Six-Part Series: Part 2

This panel will address the textual questions of §230: is the statute correctly understood to permit discretionary content moderation on the part of social media platforms and other supporting tech entities, or does the text provide for a more limited range of moderation policies? Although several circuit courts have adopted a more expansive interpretation of the statutory protections, Justice Thomas has recently questioned whether the prevailing application is consistent with the text. Does viewpoint discrimination fall within the scope of §230 protection? Are decisions to ban individuals from participating on a platform covered by the statutory protections? To what extent does the statute preclude state regulatory initiatives to protect speech by platform users?


Philip A. Hamburger, Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law, Columbia Law School; President, New Civil Liberties Alliance 

Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law 

Mary Anne Franks, Professor of Law and Dean's Distinguished Scholar, University of Miami School of Law 

Moderator: Hon. Gregory G. Katsas, Judge, United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit 


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