New Social Media Laws? SMC 2(3)

Social Media Communication News: Real-Time Classroom Discussion Starters

Social Media Laws Would Empower Users To Sue

Republicans proposed new state laws that would allow lawsuits against social media companies that block content. The Associated Press reports that about two dozen state legislatures are considering "bills that would allow for civil lawsuits against platforms for what they call the 'censorship' of posts."

In two states, Democrats also are proposing laws that "called for greater scrutiny of big tech."

Civil liability of online sites has been limited under Section 230, which became federal law at the dawn of the Internet. However, many of former President Donald Trump's posts were labeled before he was permanently banned from Twitter. He is appealing a Facebook ban in connection with the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attack.

Most constitutional law scholars believe that states do not have legal authority to reverse social media platform insulation from civil lawsuits, but Congress also is considering new legislation to limit anti-trust powers and protect free speech.

Question: Why or why not should social media sites retain special legal protection under Section 230?

#SMC2021 In-Brief
  • YouTube plans to reverse its ban on Donald Trump "when the risk of violence decreases," Business Insider reports. The CEO said, "I think it's pretty clear that that elevated violence risk still remains."
  •  Parler filed a new lawsuit claiming that it was valued at $1 billion when Amazon AWS removed it from the cloud.
  • A new survey finds that, "43% of US residents distrust TikTok and 42.6% distrust Facebook."
Question: Would the ban of Donald Trump from social media sites increase distrust? What could be done to improve social media site trust?

ICYMI: Cat Filter Internet Star

A Texas lawyer's accidental cat filter during a live Zoom court hearing sparked global amusement. The BBC reported that Rod Ponton did not know the event would turn him into a celebrity. 

"I'm here live," Ponton explained. "I'm not a cat."

"In Texas we have a phrase that you can't put toothpaste back in the tube," Ponton says. "If this was going to become an internet sensation I just had to laugh at myself along with everybody else doing so."

Judge Roy Ferguson shared the video, and it became sticky social media content. The judge told other lawyers to make sure their filters are off before joining a live courtroom session.

Question:What other tips would you offer to professionals before they attend a live video meeting?