A Project by

How Section 230 Helps You

In the United States, Section 230 is a law that allows online services—like websites and apps—to provide people with easy access to information, promote free expression, and responsibly manage harmful content.

Simply put, Section 230 says websites (and users) are not liable for the content they do not create. At the same time, Section 230 provides websites with the opportunity to protect people that use their services from harmful content and behaviors, ranging from spam to harassment.

Without Section 230, search engines, video sharing platforms, political blogs, startups, and small businesses would have to choose between extremes: over-filter content, stop hosting user created content, or stop moderating content. Any of these extremes would create an Internet that is less helpful and less accessible.

How could changes to Section 230 impact internet users?

Changes to Section 230 could cause unintended consequences for people who use the Internet. Without Section 230, websites could forgo hosting user created content entirely, over-filter content to avoid burdensome litigation, or not moderate content at all. For example, without Section 230, a restaurant may have to leave up spam reviews on their website or face lawsuits from the poster. Marketplaces could also face liability for allowing negative or critical product reviews. And lots of legitimate and important posts on social media, video websites, or apps could be blocked. Overall, the Internet would become a less helpful place to find trustworthy information, form communities, and connect with others online.

Without Section 230, who is affected?