When is a Private Company Not a Private Company? Part 2: Fighting Digital-Age Cronyism After Section 230
By Amanda Griffiths
In a previous post, I wrote about White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s recent revelation that the Biden Administration has “increased disinformation research and tracking within the surgeon general’s office” and is “flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.” I argued that this sort of state interference exemplifies the distinction between capitalism and cronyism. After defining both terms and giving an abbreviated history of how capitalism and cronyism have evolved in the U.S., I wrote that capitalism remains the best way to fight cronyism, but added that “because the modes of American cronyism have changed, so must our means of combatting them.” In this post, I’ll consider one of those means.
On the matter of Internet speech specifically, it’s time to stop looking to legislative policy as our primary protection against digital-age cronyism. Legislation can help legitimize a decentralized society; but first, society must decentralize legitimacy.
In other words, winning the war against state-sanctioned censorship online is not about repealing or reenforcing Section 230 of the U.S. Communications Decency Act. It is about making Section 230 obsolete.