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Paul Sternberg, a Defamation Attorney from Houston, TX explains what Section 230 is, why lawmakers want to repeal it, and what that means for all of us
Houston, Texas attorney Paul Sternberg has spent decades helping local clients overcome their legal battles, especially those threatened or harmed by online defamation attacks. The internet allows a lot of anonymity which is often taken advantage of in a negative way. Which may be one reason that policy makers are thinking about dismantling one of the most important internet Laws, which was established back in 1996.
Section 230 provides legal immunity from liability for internet services and users for content posted on the internet. What that means in practice is that internet companies — everything from social media platforms to online retailers to news sites — are generally not liable if a user posts something illegal. Backers of Section 230 credit in part for the success of companies like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, which depend on vast amounts of user-generated content.
Sternberg, author of Internet Defamation and Website Removal states that if the law were repealed, those companies could be held legally responsible for what users post on their sites, which means they would need to provide much more careful censorship. This mandates more regulation and allows much less freedom of speech. It would also be expensive and time consuming for those companies.
Former President, Donald Trump, wanted the law repealed for different reasons. He was under the impression that Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube would have no choice but to host content and not censor information that they didn’t like. However, the outcome would be the opposite if those businesses were to be held liable for what users post online.
Paul Sternberg raises concerns due to a law that was passed in Pakistan in 2016, which gave the government sweeping control over content posted on the internet. Authorities claimed it would help defend against national security threats and cybercrime, but critics argued that it could be used as a muzzle for online expression.
Those critics were right. The law gave the government the control over censoring content, which was used as a tool to clampdown on civil society. It has been used against journalist’s, dissidents, and women who have come forward with allegations and then charged with internet defamation.
Sternberg highlights another concern regarding the impact of revoking or altering Section 230 and the effect that would have across the globe. If the US imposes more restrictions on freedom of speech, other countries will follow in its footsteps — limiting the ability of people to express themselves on the internet all around the world.
As policy makers battle it out, debating whether to dismantle all or part of Section 230, Attorney Sternberg suggests that people do their research to understand the ramifications of that action. Whatever happens with Section 230 will affect everyone on a global scale.
Paul M. Sternberg is in private practice at his own Houston, Texas law firm since 2001. He concentrates his practice in the areas of internet defamation law and business law. Mr. Sternberg is a graduate from the A.B.Freeman School of Business at Tulane University in 1987, and a 1996 graduate from South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas where he was on the Dean’s Honor Roll. Mr. Sternberg, a seasoned entrepreneur, is the author of THE GUIDE TO INTERNET DEFAMATION AND WEBSITE REMOVAL and THE GUIDE TO INVESTING IN COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE. He has 10 years of experience on representing clients who have been the victims of defamatory cyber-attacks. Mr. Sternberg has developed a reliable blueprint in securing positive solutions in most cases. He has shared his professional knowledge with FOX NEWS and many other media outlets to discuss internet defamation. He is a frequent speaker to attorneys and community groups. He may be reached at www.TheDefamationAttorney.com or his office at 713-789-8120.
THIS ARTICLE SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON AS LEGAL ADVICE.
Attorney Paul Sternberg, of Houston, Texas, states and declares that the above text is not offered as legal advice, but is provided as general information. The information contained within may not be suitable for all individuals or situations. No attorney-client relationship is created or implied by the provision of this information, nor does the aforementioned make any warranties, whether expressed or implied, of any kind. To discuss a particular situation in more detail, please contact attorney Paul Sternberg for a consultation by calling 713-392-4322.