Communications Decency Act Section 230

The ACLU works in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.

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What's at Stake

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunizes websites from legal liability for the comments of their users. When Congress enacted Section 230, it wisely recognized that holding websites legally responsible for user-generated content would cripple the rapidly developing online world. Section 230 defines Internet culture as we know it: It’s the reason why websites can offer platforms for critical and controversial speech without constantly worrying about getting sued.

The vast majority of courts have honored Section 230’s robust immunity, but sometimes courts are tempted to hold “distasteful” websites responsible for the speech of their users. When that happens, the ACLU continues to defend Section 230’s protections for websites that offer platforms for user speech. 

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunizes websites from legal liability for the comments of their users. When Congress enacted Section 230, it wisely recognized that holding websites legally responsible for user-generated content would cripple the rapidly developing online world. Section 230 defines Internet culture as we know it: It’s the reason why websites can offer platforms for critical and controversial speech without constantly worrying about getting sued.

The vast majority of courts have honored Section 230’s robust immunity, but sometimes courts are tempted to hold “distasteful” websites responsible for the speech of their users. When that happens, the ACLU continues to defend Section 230’s protections for websites that offer platforms for user speech. 

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