"Section 230" is the name given to a piece of the so-called "Communications Decency Act" ("CDA"),which allows websites and forums/message boards/chans to exist as they currently do. In recent years, conservatives, conspiracy-lunatics, and "New Right" types have argued for completely repealing this section of the CDA law in order to "stop censorship" of their voices by "Big Tech". What those folks fail to understand, is that replealing this part of the CDA would in fact, backfire and result in even moar censorship of "Dissenting voices".
"Section 230" allows sites such as 4chan, Twatter, and your beloved Encyclopedia Dramatica to exist without being shut down by constant empty-handed yet suddenly-liable-for-user-actions lolsuits. Basically, if an user of a site, (rather than a site owner) posts something that could get the site owner in any kind of deep shit, the site owner is not the one who is responsible for the users' actions. Obviously, the exception to this is sites that exist specifically to break the law, i.e. CP and Drug Market-type sites. For example, if an user of Wikipedia uploads something very illegal to the Wikipedia site, Jimbo Wales cannot be sued for the uploading users' personal actions, (although, obviously the illegal content is removed by site owners.)
Take into mind, all the dank fresh memes you see on sites like KnowYourMeme and le Plebbit or even on apps like Instagram or Amino. Section 230 protects these sites from having to automatically shut down, in the sad case that some luser would try to DMCA the memes (ala Pepe the Frog's creator) or sue for "copyright damages". The blame is then shifted onto the user who technically had uploaded the meme or "user-generated content". But without Section 230 in the CDA law, the sites will get fucked over instead!!
"So how does this affect me?"
Well, let's say your sorry ass decides to meme hard on something and posts a freshly shooped meme on say - 4chan, Reddit, or KnowYourMeme.
With Section 230 gone from the CDA, These sites would be considered "publishers" rather than farms of "user generated content". As a result, sites would then be held responsible for any actions or possible Revenue Loss from your posts - and as such, they would be moar likely to give your IP address account the perma-shoah to cover their own ass. Not to mention, if they get a DMCA or "cease and desist order" they are now more likely to close down their community/site because of having to cover legal costs out of their own pocket. Talk about "passing the buck," but in a bad way!
Not to mention - the Section 230 act is also what many "filesharing communities" are able to exist because of - as they can just state that the torrents or files are "user-generated" in a court of law (not that it often works though). In the horrible case that (Section) 230 is removed from the Communications Decency Act, say goodbye to ur free music, movies, and anything else "free" really... ...and get ready to quickly say goodbye to the "free" internet.
- "SOPA"/Stop Online Piracy Act - results of SOPA would have been about the same as gutting 230.
- Trans-Pacific Partnership - another bill that would have screwed up the internet
- Meme Combining - say goodbye to doing this freely if they get rid of "Section 230"
- The Pirate Bay - and this will go away too
- chans - the chans would be screwed
- Totse - a BBS-turned-website that was a perfect example of how to use Section 230 protection - too bad that Totse is gone for good...