November 8, 2021
Content Moderation Using Notice and Takedown Systems: A Paradigm Shift in Internet Governance
“Content moderation” – the removal of undesirable, offensive, or illegal user content from online platforms – has emerged as a potent political issue and important policy challenge. In a new insight, Technology and Innovation Policy Analyst Juan Londoño examines proposals to shift from Section 230 to a “notice and takedown” system, which requires platforms to remove offending content after a notification has been placed. Londoño argues that notice and takedown systems have resulted in over-moderation of content, thus suppressing innovation and speech online.
- The current approach (Section 230) shields platforms from legal liability for user content; a variety of proposed bills would place higher legal liabilities on platforms, typically through “notice and takedown” systems.
- Notice and takedown systems require platforms to remove content in a timely manner after receiving a notification that the content is potentially unacceptable and have been implemented in the context of copyright infringement and sex-trafficking content.
- While the Section 230 regime has fostered free speech and innovation online, experience with notice and takedown systems suggests that they are a threat to these objectives.