Last week I wrote a TechCrunch article about Section 230 of the Communications Disclosure Act, the U.S. law that many argue is responsible for the existence of “Web 2.0” in its current form.
Simply put: I don’t like it.
It’s the law that states that no one who runs a website or online service of any kind counts as a “publisher” in the old-school sense of the term–no one who hosts content online is responsible for content other people create, even if the content is libelous, even if it’s harassment, even if it contains threats.
If you want to sue someone for something they say on the Internet, you have to find the original creator. Facebook, Twitter, Yik Yak, or whoever owns the site and profits from the content bears no responsibility–not even for helping you find the person. Court cases have decided over and over again that websites are free to host anonymously contributed content and bear no responsibility for making the anonymous contributors difficult to find.