What’s Behind the Trump-Twitter Clash?
— May 29, 2020
By Michael Posner
The most prominent social media companies themselves, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, have been enablers in this grim spectacle. Facebook and YouTube in particular have been buoyed by unimaginable global growth, record stock prices, and multi-billion-dollar ad revenues, as they have sought to downplay their governance responsibilities for what appears on their sites. They continue to argue as Facebook’s chief, Mark Zuckerberg, did again the other day, that they are the champions of free speech and not “arbiters of the truth.”
Though in the last few days Twitter has assumed greater responsibility, traditionally these companies have wanted us to view them as plumbers, running pipes, with little control or responsibility for what flows through. With this they reject the notion that they are publishers, relying on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, the law the president now seeks to modify, to avoid the legal liabilities that traditional publishers bear.
Read the full Forbes article.
Michael Posner is a Professor of Business and Society and Director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.