Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American GeniusThe American Genius

Social Media

Well-intentioned bipartisan social media bill could be a slippery slope regarding privacy

(SOCIAL MEDIA) A new anti-sex trafficking bill may put social media companies at risk for content that they don’t control.

fake news facebook ads social media addiction computer laptop

A new form of slavery

An estimated 20-45.8 million people are trapped in sex trafficking, the world’s newest form of slavery. One out of every five victims is a child under the age of 18. This form of slavery is happening in 167 countries, or roughly, 87 percent of the world and the United States is not exempt.

bar
A new bill geared toward ending sex trafficking on social media may end up jeopardizing the immunity from user-created content that social sites have, simply because it is too broadly written.

Good Concept, Poor Execution

The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 aims to target instances of sex trafficking—more specifically, child sex trafficking—in online venues, including social media sites. Sounds like a worthwhile cause, right? Unfortunately, the proposed execution of this act leaves a lot to be desired.

According to section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, social media sites are not directly responsible for the content their users upload.

This prevents them from being held accountable for controversial content that they can’t see or moderate quickly enough.

For example, if a murder or similar crime is recorded and uploaded to YouTube, YouTube isn’t liable for the content itself.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The ambiguity in the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 could potentially change that by amending Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to exclude cases of sex trafficking, in which case the platforms on which the content was uploaded could—and, some fear, would—be prosecuted for that content.

This presents a huge problem because, as we all know, the Internet is often a moral-free zone where nothing is off-limits.

With Section 230 amended, some of the pitch-black humor and careless conversation one expects to find in the average comment section could turn into actual cases levied against social media sites like Facebook and YouTube, to say nothing of the actual instances that these companies can’t react to in time.

Wrong Way to Go About It

Obviously, we’re all in favor of ending sex trafficking, especially in a realm so untamed as the Internet. However, anyone who has spent literally any time in a comment section knows how volatile, controversial, and straight-up weird people can be when they feel anonymous. To hold a company accountable for the (admittedly reprehensible) actions of a few people who agreed to terms of use contracts prohibiting those actions seems like the wrong way to go about a serious problem that very much needs to be addressed.

As it sits, the result of passing the bill as-is would more than likely culminate in nothing more than wave after wave of minor, time-wasting lawsuits for individual “infractions” and suspected leads. Sex trafficking is a horrendous act that deserves full and immediate attention—it just needs a little more focus than this bill currently entails.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove's Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: FFEE Act wants to save you from having to pay to freeze your credit - The American Genius

  2. Pingback: Accepting privacy invasions means Big Brother is always watching - The American Genius

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Advertisement

KEEP READING!

Business Finance

(FINANCE) US states such as CO, CA, and NY have been some of the first to work toward pay gap and transparency laws. The...

Business News

(BUSINESS NEWS) Independent bookstores are bearing the brunt of a silly new law in California regarding autographed books.

Business News

(BUSINESS NEWS) With rents sharply rising, it’s not hard to see why so many people are tempted to illegally rent out their spaces on...

Business News

(BUSINESS NEWS) Regulation has been slow to adopt the marijuana industry as a business partner, and it could majorly affect your state.

The American Genius is a strong news voice in the entrepreneur and tech world, offering meaningful, concise insight into emerging technologies, the digital economy, best practices, and a shifting business culture. We refuse to publish fluff, and our readers rely on us for inspiring action. Copyright © 2005-2022, The American Genius, LLC.