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“Section 230 Series: Eric Goldman on Section 230 Misunderstandings” (Two Think Minimum)

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Sarah Oh: Hello, welcome back to the Technology Policy Institute’s podcast Two Think Minimum. It’s Tuesday, June 16, 2020, and I’m Sarah Oh, Senior Fellow at TPI, and I’m joined by Scott Wallsten, TPI’s President. Today, we’re delighted to kick off a series of podcasts on Section 230. Our first guest is Eric Goldman. Eric is a professor of law at Santa Clara University School of Law. He co-directs the High Tech Law Institute. He’s on a short list of North American IP thought leaders and has been named an IP Vanguard by the California State Bar’s IP section. His research and teaching focuses on internet, IP and advertising law topics. And he has been blogging on these topics for many years. This past fall, the Knight Foundation granted his research center funds to continue his work on legal issues raised by online content, Section 230, and content moderation. Professor Goldman is a leading thinker on the ways in which technology transforms our democracy. Welcome, Eric.

Eric Goldman: Thank you so delighted to be here.

Sarah: I was reading Barron’s this weekend, and I saw that you were recently quoted in an article about Jack Dorsey and Twitter. In the article you raised an interesting statistic that the recent Section 230 executive order runs afoul of more than 900 court decisions, and the First Amendment. That’s a lot of common law over the last 20 years on one statute. Should the general public be expected to understand Section 230? How does the executive order change the landscape for Section 230 policy?

Eric: Sorry, just one clarification. In the Lexus database. Section 230 has been cited by 900 plus opinions, there obviously many more First Amendment opinions, but in terms of Section 230, there are literally hundreds of cases helping us try to understand what the law says and does. And the law’s been on the books for 25 years. And at some point you would think that a law like that, so foundational to how we operate, it becomes generally understood, maybe not perfectly, but generally understood. Instead, we’ve seen this rampant disinformation about Section 230 coming, including from our government. So I think that the public really doesn’t understand Section 230, what it does, and how much it matters. And that’s, I think, one of the things that I’m hoping we can fix, so that people understand what’s at stake, what the battle is really about, what the consequences are of any reform that’s being proposed. And then we can have an informed discussion about the policy trade offs. The executive order does none of that of course. The executive order provides a lot of additional disinformation about Section 230, and it doesn’t really do much itself. The president doesn’t have a lot of levers that he can pull to change a law that Congress has passed. So the executive order is really more confusing than anything else. What did President Trump think he was doing, and did he actually do any of those goals?

Sarah: In May the President released the order, but in February, the DOJ held a Section 230 conference here in DC, and I attended the public meetings in the morning, and I think a lot of top scholars were there, I think you spoke there as well. Were you surprised at the order coming a few months after that conference?

Eric: The conference itself was pretty confusing as well. The Department of Justice has an interesting interaction with Section 230. By its terms, Section 230 does not apply to federal criminal prosecutions. That’s been the case since the beginning. So the DOJ never really runs into Section 230 in its daily enforcement operations because they’re the one entity in the world that’s guaranteed not to run into Section 230. So having them convene a discussion about Section 230 when it’s not really their expertise was, at a minimum, confusing to me. What were they trying to accomplish? And I think the conference really was more a preview of what was to come in the executive order. It was a sign that there are people, potentially at the highest levels of government, who are looking for ways to undermine Section 230. And so much of that was really asking the question, how can we make Section 230 weaker? Why that’s a policy of the DOJ doesn’t really make sense to me, but the executive order only reinforces how that seems to be the goal of our federal government.

Scott Wallsten: So I’m going to play the ignoramus here, which is not much of a stretch for me. And you said before that Section 230 is part of a disinformation campaign, and then here that the DOJ was trying to, you think one of their objectives is to weaken it. Do you think it’s a disinformation campaign in that there is a specific goal or is it because many people just don’t understand it?

Eric: No. I mean, I think at this point it’s clear that people who understand it perfectly are misdescribing it, mischaracterizing it and trying to basically denigrate its reputation, or its public brand, as a way to weaken it over the long term. We literally see people in government, including senators who went to fancy law schools and probably can read statutes just fine, say that Section 230 stands for the direct opposite of what it stands for. At some point you’d say, oh, that could be a mistake. And after a while, after repeated public and private corrections, I don’t think it’s a mistake.

Sarah: Do you think that Section 230 jurisprudence is so misunderstood because it’s complicated or is it because it’s just easy to misinterpret it and confuse people with the direction of the law?

Eric: There are a lot of different reasons why people are taking cracks in Section 230. So I don’t think it’s easily summarized into one single statement. I’ll say that at least some of the people are attacking Section 230 because they don’t understand the basic policy. They resist the basic structure of Section 230. And let me just say a few words about that and you’ll see why. Section 230 basically says that websites aren’t liable for third party content that they publish. And that’s counterintuitive to most people because they assume if you publish, you’re liable and if you are forced to carry content, you don’t want to carry content, then maybe you’re not liable. But Section 230 collapses the two and says, you can act like a publisher, but get the liability protections as if you didn’t have a choice. And so that’s just counterintuitive to most people. They’re like, that can’t possibly be, why would Congress do that? It doesn’t make sense. So I think some of the attacks on Section 230 relate to this underlying policy objection that Congress said, we’re going to do something different than what we’ve done in other areas of the law. And people fight against that. I think Section 230 has taken on kind of a brand, especially in quote conservative circles about one of the ways in which internet companies have too much power and are using that power to suppress their voices. And so actually Section 230 doesn’t really do that. It’s a misunderstanding, but to the extent that it gets acquainted, it becomes a rallying cry. We need to make sure that our voices are given equal dignity and Section 230 is the reason why we’re not. It doesn’t matter what the facts are, but that’s part of the pushback.

Scott: I never understand that argument, from their point of view, because 230 would cause platforms to take down more than they do, presumably, to make sure that they’re not held liable, which if anything would cause more conservative voices to be taken down. Liberal ones too, presumably. But I don’t see how that gets to their, I assume, their goal of having more of their content stay up.

Eric: You said a great word. I’m just going to reinforce what you just said, but you’ve already got the point and you understand why I don’t understand it either. If Section 230 weren’t on the books or were modified in a material way, there would be two dynamics, both of which will be disadvantageous to people in the conservative circles thinking that their voices are being suppressed. First, there would just be fewer quote platforms. I don’t personally use that term. I talk about internet services or internet publishers. There’d just fewer of them. And second is that they’d be less tolerant of anything that isn’t straight down the middle. So anything that might be at the edges of their standards is going to get removed. So what that does is there’ll be fewer outlets and those outlets will be less inclined to support what I might call marginalized voices, who don’t have power. So conservatives believe that they don’t have power. They would be opting into a system that would reinforce that marginalized voices to have a harder time gaining access to the discourse. So you’re thinking about it completely logically. If you want to encourage greater proliferation of conservative voices, Section 230 is actually the solution. So the fact that conservatives are attacking it, seems to kind of be an own goal, but maybe they’re playing 4D chess, I don’t understand.

Sarah: Yes. It’s very confusing. I mean, being conservative myself, Senator Cruz and Holly are kind of on the other side of the debates now, fairness doctrine. And those are not conservative points of view. I mean, you want to give the private sector freedoms to be free from liability for content moderation. So it is all very confusing.

Eric: Can I just say a couple words on that? Cause I mean, again, you’re directly hitting the nail on the head in ways that are obvious to everybody and yet confusing. The conservatives, as I used to think about them, certainly the Reagan Republican era, viewed the fairness doctrine as anathema, that it was a way of forcing private property owners to disseminate content that they, in their editorial discretion, didn’t want to disseminate. And it was an affront on private property, it was an affront on free speech, and it was a rallying cry for the conservative movement for decades. And now we are seeing people who call themselves conservatives saying that we need a fairness doctrine and that we need to embrace the mandatory obligation of private property owners to published content they don’t want to publish. What? I don’t even understand how we got to this point, but that’s why I always put the term conservative in quotes, because I think that term means something different today than it used to mean. And I’m not sure that people who used to call themselves conservatives believe in what the current conservatives are espousing.

Sarah: Yes. It doesn’t make sense to me, at least from all my constitutional law classes.

Eric: No, you’re really not missing anything, except for why have the quote modern conservatives embraced policies 180 degrees from what conservatives have fought against for decades?

Scott: You’ve been thinking about this for a while now, and what are some possibilities?

Sarah: Is it 4D chess? Is it 4D chess? Is it like a Straussian… I don’t know. It’s like it’s opposite day,

Scott: Right? I mean, what could possibly explain it? I mean, like Sarah said, is it 4D chess? Is it being mad at the tech companies for supposed bias towards Democratic candidates in the past? Is it just incoherence?

Eric: I think that there’s some widespread misunderstandings about the internet, internet content, the legal structure of that internet content. And so I think that really it’s like a media literacy problem at its core. If people understood how the media worked, they understood the pros and cons of different regulatory and market structures, then I think we’d have a better discussion. But because we don’t have that, I feel like there’s this group of constituents who think that the world works a particular way, that it doesn’t. And that drives a lot of bad policy.

Sarah: Do you think Section 230 is like the right battleground, though, for these discussions, like techlash, political speech, encryption, foreign interference, it seems like we’re putting a lot of weight on one statute when a lot of these problems are outside of Section 230.

Eric: Again, you’re a hundred percent dead on. So let me just explain a few thoughts about that. It has become quite popular inside the beltway, and this is true for both parties, this is not a one party or another challenge, to say that Section 230 is so highly valued by the internet companies that if we want them to do anything, all we have to do is threaten to condition our desired behavior on getting Section 230. And so it’s become this bargaining chip, by both parties, to say, we can tell the internet how it should work or else we’ll take away the sacred cow. To me, I find that madding because Section 230 isn’t about the internet companies. It’s about the users of those internet companies and how they’re able to consume and create the content that helps them actualize their life. So whenever the inside the beltway folks are playing this kind of quid pro quo, do this thing for me internet companies, or I’m going to take away this thing that you value. What they’re really saying is we don’t really care that the internet users, their constituents, care about the services provided by those internet companies. That’s just collateral damage in this high stakes political game of poker. And so to me, I feel like we’ve really lost sight of what the politician should be fighting for. They should be fighting for their constituents, their ability to use the internet in the ways that they care about the most and this whole political football approach really undermines that greatly.

Scott: Are there examples in other countries, so the countries that do not have a 230 equivalent, that show us what content might look like if these companies didn’t have those protections?

Eric: Well, we can start with the AB test of the fact that Section 230 is in the US and other countries have different legal regimes, that almost all the innovations we expect to user generated content have taken place here in the United States. There are very limited examples of successful user generated content companies that grew up under different legal regimes. And usually where you can find those examples, there’s some kind of state intervention, like China has some user generated content companies, they’re very large, but that’s cause they’re organs of the state, or you’ll find a couple other examples of countries that have a single dominant provider that’s been able to navigate the legal regime and emerge and then have no rivals because no other companies can navigate the legal system successfully to compete. The innovation has been taking place here in the US and that’s a combination of both Section 230 and the First Amendment, they go hand in hand on this point, but Section 230 is undoubtably a key part of that. So when we look at how the internet functions in other countries, there’s just a lot of services they don’t even get, they don’t have the kind of services that we have today. And they usually don’t operate with the same kind of freedom we have. So as we know, in censorial countries, the range of content that’s available for consumers to express is substantially narrower. There’s just a lot of the things that we take for granted here as being part of the discourse, it literally doesn’t exist in other countries. And so to the extent they’re even available in the countries, it’s because people have to VPN into the United States in order to get them. So, we take for granted in the United States how rich our internet ecosystem is, and anyone who’s tried to use the internet in other countries knows it’s not nearly as rich. It’s a lot more producer-controlled content than what we experience here.

Sarah: What do you think about the word censorship? Because at the DOJ conference, there was some debate about people using that term on the government’s use and private sector. So one scholar, he even said, censorship applies to private companies, that a private company can censor your speech. And then there was a debate saying, actually, no, censorship comes from the government. Is there kind of a feeling that big tech is like a government? Is there a confusion on the public and private sector because that comes up in the First Amendment as well. You know, we should be more afraid of the government having that kind of power, not the private sector.

Eric: I mean, this is so crucial and it’s both a sign of the misunderstanding about how the content ecosystems work, and it’s also part of the misdirection and disinformation that comes from the government, usually. The idea is that the government has police powers that no private company has. There’s no private company that can go in baton protestors and haul them off to jail. They literally don’t have those powers. The government has those powers. And as curbs on those powers, we have our constitutional rights, to protect us from government abuses of these very special powers that they have. And one of those limits is the restriction on their ability to limit our speech, the free speech clause, that we celebrate. So when the government restricts our free speech, they’re using all that coercive police power to censor us. Now, when a private publisher chooses not to publish content or publishes content that other people don’t like, that’s not censorship. That is editorial discretion. It’s the kind of thing that was celebrated in the freedom of the press that was in our Constitution from the Bill of Rights. The equation of the two, treating private company editorial discretion as censoring voices, creates a number of interesting dynamic. It marginalizes the abuses of government when they engage in censorial practices. It’s like, you know what, everyone does that, government, private sector, they all do the same thing. No, they really don’t because they don’t have the same powers. The other thing that it does is that it creates the precondition to treat internet companies as if they are like state actors and therefore subject to the same constitutional restrictions. And that’s become a very popular meme, especially in quote conservative circles, that the internet companies have gotten so powerful that they’re like governments. And if they are like governments, they should be subject to the constitutional restrictions on governments. It grossly misunderstands the government’s police powers, but it is actually a pro regulation argument. By doing that, it allows a bunch of regulations to be imposed that bypass the First Amendment protections for freedom of press and freedom of editorial discretion. So when you hear anyone claim that private companies are censoring them, recognize that they’re doing two things, they’re downplaying the real coercive power when governments squelch free speech. And they’re trying to invoke a jujitsu move to open up the door for a greater regulation of private editorial discretion.

Sarah: I mean, when we conflate the two, private sector, public sector, all I can think about is China, where you do have that togetherness, more so, a state government and big tech together. But one thing about the US system is that, presumably, they’re apart. So you have two separate entities, public and private sector. Does technology kind of bring everything together? Are the tech companies more powerful than government, in some ways? Is there going to be a merging of public and private because of tech?

Eric: There’s no doubt that internet companies are giant corporations. They’re giant in terms of the economic wealth that they have created and the valuations that’s attached to them. And they’re giant the ways in which they cast a shadow on our conversations. Google and Facebook in particular play an essential role in the conversations that we’re currently engaged in. However, they’re not the end of the internet. And so one of the things that I always like to remind people is that if we stopped thinking about the internet as just Google and Facebook and think about what’s in the rest of the internet. It acts as a counterbalance to the power that Google and Facebook have in a way that there’s no rival to the government. We don’t get to pick, okay, well today I’m going to use the Mountain View government, which is the city I live in, tomorrow, I’m going to adopt the Sunnyvale government. I’m just going to switch between. We don’t have that kind of power is government. The government is our monopolistic provider of certain police and public services. Whereas with the internet companies, despite the major role that they play and the vastest of their size, they still have competitors. And we still have choices. To me that completely changes any analogy that we might make between the government as a controller of speech and the Google and Facebook giants as controllers of speech.

Scott: So do they have some responsibility, any responsibility all, for what goes up on the platform or on their sites, and what’s the right way to think about it?

Eric: Well, there’s two different questions there and I want to break them up. There’s the question do they have legal responsibility? And then the second question, do they have a social or ethical responsibility? And I really think it’s helpful to keep those two questions clear because we can and should debate both, but they’re not the same debate. So we’ll loop back to legal questions. Section 230 has certain limits on its scope. For example, I mentioned earlier that federal criminal prosecutions have never been covered by Section 230. So if there are federal crimes on the books that the internet companies are violating because of what their users are doing, Section 230 offers no defense for them. They’re still legally accountable for that. There are some other exceptions Section 230 we can talk about. And so there’s already some mechanisms that exist. If we think that internet companies are breaking the laws, those are already covered under the existing legal framework. Now, some might say, despite those exceptions Section 230 still enables internet companies to engage in behavior we don’t like, and we can have that debate. Now I will remind you that even if Section 230 doesn’t protect their actions, the First Amendment might. So one of the frustrations I have as a Section 230 scholars is when people blame the internet companies for doing something that is protected by the First Amendment, and then say, if we change Section 230, we’ll get a different result. That’s just misunderstands the interaction between Section 230 as a statute and the First Amendment as a constitutional guarantee. So that’s the legal debate. You need to have informed legal debate on there, but I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding about it. And then there’s the ethical and social questions. If I were in charge of Google or Facebook, would I say Section 230 lets me get away with a bunch of things, so I’m going to take advantage of all those, of all that freedom? I think the answer everyone would agree is of course not. And that’s not at all what Google and Facebook have done and no other internet company that we rely upon, that we actually trust, takes that extreme position. But when they exercise their own editorial discretion, they’re going to create winners and losers. They can’t avoid doing so. The very act of publication, prioritizes or preferences certain content to the exclusion of other content. So we have an ethical or social debate about what internet companies responsibilities are. We have to recognize that no matter what they decide there’s going to be a group of people are unhappy with their decisions. They can’t come up with a win-win outcome for everybody. And so the real question is what’s the least worst outcome. What’s the best among good alternatives. When we know that this is zero sum game, some people are going to win and some people are losing in every decision that every internet company makes.

Scott: I think it even goes further than that when there’s a winner, there’s a loser. It’s also, if they going to err on the side of taking too much down or on the side of not taking enough down and somebody is going to be unhappy with either priority. So it’s hard to see how they ever…

Eric: Yes, and let me just reinforce that. It’s true. It’s kind of a macro system. You know, if they make a policy we’re going to preference this content or we’re going to deprioritize that content. There are winners and losers made. And then with respect to every single item of content, each and every decision when they get a complaint about an item of content, someone’s not going to get what they want, the person who posted it, or the person who complained, somebody is not going to get what they want. And there are millions of decisions that internet companies are making every day. They’re creating millions of people who are unhappy with the way in which the internet company chose to resolve the matter. So it’s not just big structural policies, it’s micro individual items of content. Each one of those becomes an aggregated, an accretion to the body of people who are unhappy with how internet companies are handling their situation.

Sarah: So looking forward, let’s say, the next five, ten years, and more of the economy is digitized, cars, finance, groceries, every company might have some aspect of digital technology, social media, online commerce. Are we equipped to handle all these questions? Is there kind of a need for a more intelligent understanding of Section 230 and the other issues related to digital technology?

Eric: Again, I would break those issues up. I don’t think Section 230 has a lot of relevance to, say, connected cars, though there are tons of fascinating issues with connected cars. And so with respect to publishing user generated content we’ve seen already the tensions are created as more of our speech moves to online formats. And then this law changes the legal paradigms, that person in the middle may not be responsible for what people are saying at the ends, to each other. So I kind of feel like we’re already having that catharsis today because so much has moved online. Now, as we see new or technological innovations, say AI, or you mentioned connected cars, both fine examples. They raise tons of really complicated technology policy issues. And I think we already know, and Section 230 provides us a preview of what’s going to happen, if we don’t understand the technology, if we don’t understand the different regulatory levers, we have a really high risk of getting it wrong, of there being disinformation about what the law is, disinformation about what the technology is. And then we can lead to results that really disadvantage us as consumers or as citizens in the society. So part of the work that your group does, and thank you for doing it, is to help elevate the level of discourse so that we have a better framework for understanding what’s at stake as new technologies come online and how are we going to have an intelligent conversation about it? So thank you for doing that work. And boy, we need more of it.

Sarah: How do you think we’ve done in the public square talking about the Section 230 executive order. Like it came out and there were headlines and journalists were talking about it. And I’m trying to bring up the scholars and experts who been talking about it for 20 years, but then there are a lot of new people thinking they know what it says. How do you think we’ve done in the public square this month on Section 230 discussion?

Eric: Given the responses to the executive order, it’s clear that the executive order will be the foundation for additional disinformation attacks against Section 230. And I’m just going to mention a couple, and I hate to call out names, but we’ve seen some really head-scratching moves on the part of the politicians in response to the executive order. On the Republican side, we saw four senators send a letter over to the FCC, encouraging the FCC to take on a review of Section 230 C2. I don’t really understand why anyone thinks the FCC has jurisdiction over that matter. And it’s definitely not the kind of thing where we’d expect the FCC to be able to get to the right results. So at least some people in the Republican party are going to double down on what the executive order suggested and try to make it happen. On the Democrat side, I’ll point to a statement that Representative Ro Khanna, who is the representative from the Silicon Valley, that includes the district that I work in, Santa Clara University is located in her district, who said, we need an internet fairness doctrine and embracing the part of the EO that said that we need to limit the ability of companies to decide what’s fit for their services. So the Democrats are also potentially going to support parts of the EO. The Republicans are gonna support parts of the EO and all of them I think are gonna misunderstand, at the very fundamental level, both what Section 230 does and how it sits on top of other legal frameworks, like the First Amendment. So I’m pretty bearish on the level of discourse that’s following the EO. I don’t think the EO is the main problem. I think it’s a symptom of the problem, that the conversation inside DC has gone insane. Both parties are embracing crazy interpretations of Section 230 or crazy attacks on it. And so it’s only a matter of can the anti-Section 230 forces put together the right coalition to bridge the Democrats and Republicans. And if that happens, I think we’re going to see a very different internet.

Sarah: I mean, just from studying Section 230 a little bit, below the surface, there’s enough there for a whole like law course, maybe ABA section, like there’s plenty of law there to talk about. Do you think there aren’t enough Section 230 practitioners? Are there too many amateurs and not enough professionals or why isn’t Section 230 understood like antitrust or is it just too new, but it’s 25 years old?

Eric: I love your idea that antitrust is understood. I’m not sure who understand that very well [laughter] I sure don’t. For the first 20 some odd years, Section 230 was a pretty specialized law. It was essential to key social developments, but the actual legal parameters of it, the boundaries of it, were pretty specialized. There just weren’t that many practitioners who needed to understand it. And honestly, I think that among lawyers who deal with it in the field, the level of understanding has gone up quite a bit. For example, it was pretty common in the old days to see a plaintiff defamation lawyer zing a letter to a site like Yelp saying, you’re responsible for the consumer reviews on your site, and I’m going to sue you and Yelp saying, let me use Section 230, you don’t want to do that, and here’s why. Those letters don’t really get sent anymore. Most people have kind of got the point in the field, but now we’re in the political sphere and that political sphere has gone crazy. As I said, Section 230 has become kind of the brand for this and their concern about internet content and tech power and marginalized voices. And so it isn’t that the lawyers don’t understand Section 230, it’s actually that the politicians are using Section 230 as placeholder for their political points and that level of disinformation, when politicians misportray what the law does and says in order to advance their narrative, that’s really hard to educate against. They have huge megaphones.

Sarah: So aside from political theater, do you think that there’ll be legislative changes to Section 230 in the next Congress or is this all just theater?

Eric: Well, the executive order was mostly theater, because the president couldn’t change the law, but members of Congress can change law and I’ve stopped trying to count the number of members of Congress who have said that they think Section 230 should be changed. And I know that there’s multiple offices in the house and Senate that are working on some kind of Section 230 reform, some of which have been introduced, others which haven’t. The only thing that’s pulling Section 230 up is that there has to be a coalition to agree on how Section 230 needs to change. And I’m not clear how that coalition is going to form, yet. So we haven’t gotten to the right mix of levers yet. The short story is that the Republicans generally think Section 230 should be changed to reduce internet company discretion. The Democrats generally think Section 230 should do more to require internet companies to exercise editorial discretion. So because they’re coming from different positions on what they want internet companies to do, there’s a little bit of friction, but it’s super tenuous and it is open season on crazy within the beltway. So I have given up hoping that we could avoid some kind of crazy outcome before say the next elections, things are so tenuous that it could happen in a matter of months, that we completely changed the face of the internet, irrevocably.

Scott: You think if they do something, is Congress likely to carve out an exception for political ads, because they’re not going to be too happy when Facebook or Google or anybody else decides that they can’t have candidates’ ads up. 

Eric: I’ve heard that as one possible vector of attack. That one, of course, makes me scratch my head because most political advertising will be protected by the First Amendment. So even have section 230 were to change, it isn’t likely to change the overall freedom of internet companies to decide how they want to handle the political advertising. It just would mess up Section 230 and cause a lot of collateral damage. So yeah, that’s just one of dozens of different Section 230 reform ideas I’ve heard. And at the moment, I don’t really have a good way of prioritizing which ones are more likely to catch, which ones are just talk.

Sarah: Great. So maybe as just a final wrap up, if you could advise the press and people inside the beltway for how to think about Section 230, what would you say?

Eric: I would encourage anyone who wants to understand Section 230 to really start with what are the services that we get as a public because of Section 230 and not take those for granted. So when we think about all the things that we get, I’m just going to mention a few, we get free email services and we get a free global, comprehensive, user edited dictionary. We get free social media and the ability to publish to the world. We get free how to videos on YouTube and guess what? We also get cat videos along the way which I value highly as well. We get free consumer reviews that help discipline the market. We get the ability to have online marketplaces, where markets are made more efficient because buyers and sellers can find each other lower transaction costs. Like these are things we just take for granted, that are an integral part of our daily lives, and all of them are because Section 230 has created the ecosystem for those services to flourish. So whoever wants to tackle Section 230 reform and say, I think I can fix it. I want to make sure they understand these are the things you’re playing with. And are you positive? Are you a hundred percent sure that you are actually going to preserve all the good and only tackle the bad? And so if we could have the debate at that level, that people can understand what the stakes are and then politicians would appreciate how much they might be working against the interest of their constituents because their constituents love the internet and they love all the things they get on the internet. And they’re going to be really, really upset if that gets reduced or taken away. And I want politicians and the press to understand that’s what the fight is really about. It’s not about whether Google wins or whether a Senator wins, that’s just politics. But what we’re really fighting for is the soul of the internet. And if we get that wrong, what we know and love about the internet isn’t going to remain available to us.

Sarah: Great. Well, thank you so much, Professor Goldman. I think it’s really important that people do their homework on Section 230 and that we keep an eye on all the debates going on. So thank you.

Eric: I appreciate the opportunity. Thanks for putting this together.