Media and Content

The easy availability of information on the Internet may lead to the commoditization of content. However, if content is free or low cost, it may be difficult for those who produce it (like journalists) to earn a living. Economists and other scholars examine this tension and suggest various solutions.

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The blueprint for a 3-D-printed gun was uploaded in book form to Amazon as a free speech exercise. Amazon removed it.

"What this case shows is that digital technologies are asking questions of constitutional law that don’t have clear answers. This is just another illustration of the fact that digital technologies don’t just destabilize or disrupt industries, they destabilize and disrupt settled legal expectations, and they require us to think carefully about how we apply the law to technology." — Neil Richards, Professor of Law, Washington University in St. Louis

Neil Richards
Source: The Washington Post
August 23, 2018

Apple, Facebook and Other Tech Companies Delete Content from Alex Jones

"While private platforms aren’t bound by the restrictions of the First Amendment — generally only the government is — there’s a question about how much discretion they should choose to exercise over what speech they allow to flow through them." — Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law, Harvard University

Jonathan Zittrain
Source: The Washington Post
August 6, 2018

It’s No Accident that Facebook Is So Addictive

"Facebook is in the social engineering business. It constantly tries to manipulate our experience and, thus, our perspective on our friends, issues and the world. It does so haphazardly and incoherently, it seems at first. But, in fact, there is a coherent driving force. Facebook wants to maximize something close to “happiness.”" — Siva Vaidhyanathan, Professor of Media Studies, University of Virginia

Siva Vaidhyanathan
Source: The Washington Post
August 6, 2018

Bots of the Internet, Reveal Yourselves!

"Political commentary comes in different forms. Imagine a concerned citizen sets up a bot to criticize a particular official for failing to act on climate change. Now say that official runs for re-election. Is the concerned citizen now in violation of California law?" — Ryan Calo, Professor of Law, University of Washington

M. Ryan Calo
Source: The New York Times
July 16, 2018

Amazon Is Used to Promote White Supremacist Merchandise and Views, Report Says

"This isn’t happening in a vacuum, this report. It’s happening when there’s a lot of pressure on companies to remove and filter and block hate speech. This is a conversation about morals and ethics and their own terms of service." — Danielle Citron, Professor of Law, University of Maryland

Danielle Citron
Source: The New York Times
July 8, 2018

Facebook Previously Failed to Keep Privacy Promises, Ex-FTC Adviser Says

"Facebook is always in the position of serving two masters. If its actual purpose was just trying to connect friends and family, and it didn't have a secondary motive of trying to also prove to another set of people that it could gather as much data as possible and make it possible to manipulate or influence or persuade people, then it wouldn't be a problem." — Tim Wu, Professor of Law, Columbia University

Tim Wu
Source: NPR’s Morning Edition
March 27, 2018

Don’t Delete Facebook. Do Something About It.

"As long as Facebook is big and rich, its algorithms will determine and distort much of what we read and watch. Our long-term agenda should be to bolster institutions that foster democratic deliberation and the rational pursuit of knowledge." — Siva Vaidhyanathan, Professor of Media Studies, University of Virginia

Siva Vaidhyanathan
Source: New York Times
March 24, 2018

How Calls for Privacy May Upend Business for Facebook and Google

"People are upset that their data may have been used to secretly influence 2016 voters. If your personal information can help sway elections, which affects everyone’s life and societal well-being, maybe privacy does matter after all." — Alessandro Acquisti, Professor of Information Technology, Carnegie Mellon University

Alessandro Acquisti
Source: New York Times
March 24, 2018

Can Facebook restore public trust after Cambridge Analytica scandal?

"Trying to pin down any one breach as being the source of all the privacy harms out there is futile." — James Grimmelmann, Professor of Law, Cornell Tech

James Grimmelmann
Source: CBS News
March 24, 2018

How a Controversial New Sex-Trafficking Law Will Change the Web

The U.S. Senate recently passed the bipartisan Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA), a bill that ostensibly aims to strengthen America's sex trafficking laws. Opponents say the bill will change the way outside content is moderated on the internet. Eric Goldman, law professor and director of the Santa Clara High Tech Law Institute, argues that SESTA will roll back internet law two decades.

Eric Goldman
Source: Wired
March 22, 2018
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TAP Blog

Is the California Legislature Addicted to Performative Election-Year Stunts That Threaten the Internet? (Comments on AB2408)

Santa Clara internet law scholar Eric Goldman writes about California AB2408, proposed legislation intended to address social media platforms that are addictive to children.

Eric Goldman

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Featured Article

It’s Time to Update Section 230

The 1996 Communications Decency Act (CDA) makes online platforms immune from liability for harmful content posted by third parties. Platforms should enjoy immunity only if the platform takes reasonable steps to prevent harm.

By: Marshall Van Alstyne, Michael D. Smith