The First Amendment, Section 230, and Content Moderation

VIRTUAL
Date: March 3, 2021 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Content moderation decisions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 election—including the removal of President Trump from Twitter and Facebook—have brought into sharp relief the power that social media platforms wield in shaping the national discourse. These social media platforms have come under increasing fire from both the left and the right and have been accused of unfairly censoring conservative viewpoints and failing to adequately curb misinformation and harmful content. Indeed, there seems to be a bipartisan consensus to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides companies broad protection from suits involving both the content third parties post on their platforms and “good faith” content moderation decisions. Further, many have pointed to lack of competition as the culprit, suggesting antitrust or other economic regulation as a remedy for perceived problems with platforms’ content moderation decisions. At the same time, any reform proposal will have to be squared with these platforms’ First Amendment rights.

Join us for a vibrant discussion of these issues with a panel of distinguished academics:

Jane Bambauer, Professor of Law, The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

Genevieve Lakier, Assistant Professor of Law, Herbert and Marjorie Fried Teaching Scholar, The University of Chicago Law School

Adam White, Assistant Professor and Executive Director, The C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State, George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

ModeratorJames C. Cooper, Professor of Law and Director, Program on Economics & Privacy, Law & Economics Center, George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School