Professor Jonathan Turley wrote that GoFundMe canceling Candace Owens’ fundraiser for an Alabama cafe “could undermine the position” of the company “against the loss of immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.”

Owens, who criticized George Floyd, started a fundraiser for Parkside Cafe owner Michael Dykes after people boycotted him for calling Floyd a thug and described protesters as idiots.

Owens came under fire for saying “Floyd was not a good person” and sickened “that he has been held up as a martyr.”

GoFundMe said it took down the fundraiser “because of a violation of our Terms of Service, specifically our prohibition on ‘user content that we deem, in our sole discretion, to be in support of hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or intolerance of any kind.'”

We heard Section 230 come up after Twitter fact-checked a tweet by President Donald Trump.

What is Section 230? Turley explained on June 1:

The heart of the executive order is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The 1996 legislation signed into law by President Bill Clinton was largely an attempt to regulate pornography and struck down in significant part as unconstitutional. Section 230, however, survived and grants any “interactive computer service” (including Internet and social media companies) immunity from most lawsuits over content posted by users. Courts have interpreted the provision to give sweeping immunity for companies like Twitter and Facebook because they simply supply a forum for others to express themselves.

Turley explains the complications with 230:

The immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is based on the theory that these sites are not responsible for content. Courts have interpreted the provision to give sweeping immunity for companies like Twitter and Facebook because they simply supply a forum for others to express themselves. These cites are now actively engaged in forms of private censorship.

And those who have expressed similar thoughts about people on the right?

Again, my interest is not in the content of these comments but the role of previously neutral forums to engage in content based private censorship. Both the owner and Owens were expressing their views of Floyd. Many other[s] have expressed equally controversial opinions about police officers, Trump, and others. Will they all be now banned from raising charitable donations?

Turley is correct when he says that we can expect to see even more demands to remove fundraisers “by those who want to silence people with opposing views.”

You reap what you sow.

 

 
donate
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.