This may come as a hock to you, but I was sued for libel a few years ago. I do say some outrageous things from time to time. I also sometimes get my facts wrong, although I try to be accurate This lawsuit, however, was based on nothing I said. It was instead premised on some ugly anonymous comments posted by readers before I began moderating this blog. I understand that I am responsible for my own remarks, but should I be held liable for what others say?
Judge Anthony Beltrami said No. He based his decision on Section 230 of the strangely named Communications Decency Act [CDA]. That's a federal law designed to encourage online debate. It was the first definite ruling on a blogger's liability for comments by others in Pennsylvania.. Judge Beltrami's ruling was noticed in several prominent legal circles.
Now there's a movement, mostly from conservatives, demanding the repeal of Section 230. What they apparently fail to realize is that they are shooting themselves in the foot. Without Section 230, Facebook and numerous group administrators would be held responsible for what others say. They would be forced to shut down. This blog would have to end as well. Even though I've been forced to play comment cop, Google would never agree to assume liability for my mistakes.
I'd support a reform of Section 230, but not a repeal. To the extent we can do so, I think we need to encourage the free and open exchange of ideas. In fact, I only moderate this blog because of one person intent on preventing that free exchange.