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Section 230 Narrative Trends

April 29, 2022Evan Robert
Photo by dole777 on Unsplash

Social media regulation is becoming a mainstay topic among news media following Elon Musk's acquisition of Twitter. Musk's emphasis on free speech has some worried about an increase in misinformation and hate speech, while conservative lawmakers like Marjorie Taylor Greene see Twitter's new owner as a way to balance out perceived censorship of conservatives on major social media platforms.

EdgeTheory's Narrative Intelligence brief on Section 230 track all mentions in the past two weeks from mainstream news media and analyzes the keywords surrounding the topic.

Keyword dynamics on Section 230

Top keywords "free speech" and "big tech" give an accurate overview on the prevailing narrative on Section 230. This portion of Communications Decency Act of 1996 has been brought back into public discourse due to concerns that big tech companies are infringing on platform neutrality and incorporating biased algorithms in their tech.

Enter Elon Musk and Rep. Greene. Conservatives have largely seen Musk's takeover as an opportunity to combat the censorship some have experienced on major networks like Twitter. Greene's new bill proposing to abolish Section 230 would replace it with stipulations that would provide "reasonable, non-discriminatory access" to platforms like Twitter for all Americans.

Many thought that the White House was also getting involved in reforming Section 230 (see keywords "white house," "Jen Psaki"), but Press Secretary Jen Psaki has denied those claims.

Source dynamics on Section 230

It seems that while Musk sees Twitter as the "de-facto public town square," conservative legislators are keen on making Twitter and platforms like it fully adherent to the right of freedom of speech. Abolishing Section 230, as voices like Greene promote, would have significant impacts on the financial and legal liability of tech platforms.

The narratives around Section 230 are only beginning as Rep. Greene begins to push a bill to abolish it. This narrative intelligence brief will automatically update as the media continues to react to Musk, Section 230, and the regulation of big tech.

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