Thursday, October 10, 2019

Another law professor seems to mix words and bullets for collective responsibility

Mart Ann Franks, a law professor, writes in a NYTimes op-ed “Our collective responsibility for mass shootings”. The subtitle “For far too long, online forums and marketplaces have been granted near-total immunity when they contribute to gun violence.”
Well, marketplaces can be forced (by law) to do background checks, and then it becomes a real world thing, and it’s no longer just about speech. And it’s true, stores can be held liable when a customer is injured in a store (this happened to me in Minneapolis in 1998).  But that’s really not about speech.

 Nor is the idea that a swimming pool owner needs to keep it fenced and gate-locked.

But the radicalization that led to Christchurch and El Paso does have something to do with Internet business models, and even with a system that drops too many young men on the floor, while others have no “skin in the game”.
The writer needs to be very careful, however, with limiting Section 230. After all, we could easily imagine most user generated content as gratuitous and imagine turning speech back to the way it was before the WWW and search engines and social media.

Update:  Oct. 11 

It's a little odd to see Tim Lee write a piece like this, and I wonder how it would fit into the FOSTA litigation. 

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