Since the 2016 election, when Donald Trump became the President of the United States, there has been an increase in the awareness of hate speech on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
Social activists have been pressurizing these companies to improve their content moderation. Few groups outside of the German government have outright sued the platforms for their actions.
For example, New York Times would be sued for publishing hate speech. Also, their plaintiffs would probably be victorious in their case. But, if it was published in a Facebook post, no action would likely be taken.
The Reason for the Hate Speech Disparity –
Section 230 of the Communications Decency act (CDA) provides platforms like Facebook with a broad shield from liability when the lawsuit turns on what its user post or share. The online platforms should step up and coordinate their policies so that hate speech will be considered hate speech regardless of the platform used to spread hate.
Basically the reason behind these groups taking such action is a legal distinction between media publications and platforms. This in turn has made solving hate speech online a vexing problem.
More Information –
What is Section 230?
As Techrunch mentions, Section 230 is considered a bedrock of freedom of speech on the internet. It was passed in mid-1990s. It’s credited with freeing online platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. They are being sued from the risk regardless of the content posted by its users. This law helps in powering the exponential growth of these companies.
If it weren’t for this, today’s social media giants would have long been bogged down with suits. This would have resulted in necessary pre-vetting of posts likely crippling these companies altogether.
TechCrunch says the following on their blog, “Instead, in over than twenty years since its enactment, courts have consistently found section 230 to be a bar to suing tech companies for user-generated content they host. And it’s not only social media platforms that have benefited from section 230; sharing economy companies have used section 230 to defend themselves, with the likes of Airbnb arguing they’re not responsible for what a host posts on their site. Courts have even found section 230 broad enough to cover dating apps. When a man sued one for not verifying the age of an underage user, the court tossed out the lawsuit finding an app user’s misrepresentation of his age not to be the app’s responsibility because of section 230.“