Many factors contributed to the Internet’s growth over the past 25 years, but we’d like to highlight an underappreciated catalyst. In 1996, Congress enacted a law, 47 U.S.C. §230, to immunize websites from liability for third-party content. Section 230 is an “Internet exceptionalist” law; Congress made the liability rules for online content different from, and more favorable than, the rules for offline content.
Section 230’s immunity from liability for third-party content has provided the foundation for the Internet we know today. Each of the top 10 U.S. websites relies heavily on third party content and, in turn, §230.
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