Section 230 incentivizes platforms to lower the barriers to entry for small businesses. User-focused websites make it easier for small businesses to get started.
By empowering a critical balance that puts user-generated content first, Section 230 helps websites responsibly moderate content. In turn, startups can thrive on e-commerce marketplaces and as third party sellers on a host of websites.
Today, more people than ever have the opportunity to create a virtual storefront and reach audiences beyond their local hometown Main Street. Since 1996, retail businesses, web developers, and all sorts of small businesses have built online businesses on the foundation of Section 230. Section 230 clarifies when online platforms can be held liable for third-party content and creates the legal certainty necessary for platforms to take swift action against harmful content of all types.
Without Section 230, what do small businesses stand to lose?
Because Section 230 empowers platforms and websites to moderate, filter, restrict, and/or remove user-created content without the fear of crushing legal liability, changes to the law could crush new small businesses with spam, expletives, or bad actors ruining their virtual stores.Online Shopping Is Ruined.
If a small business wanted to get started, they would not have user-created content on third-party marketplaces as easy avenues that lower barriers to entry. Because websites would be worried about potential lawsuits both for hosting and removing content, it’s likely changes to Section 230 would increase the costs of starting a business online or advertising on social media.Barriers To Entry Heighten.
Many small businesses would simply not be able to afford circumventing new rules and burdens passed on as start-up costs. What’s more, fewer apps and companies would even get off the ground, facing marketplaces and cloud services much more cautious about who they vet and let through the privileged and sanitized door to create content online.More Start-Ups Fail To Launch.
Recently, U.S. policymakers have considered changes to the law that would have a significant impact on all online businesses, especially small and mid-sized ones. Learn more about these policy proposals and the potential risks here.