Remember SOPA / PIPA? Congress is at it again.

Sharing is Caring!

by Kannibal

Remember SOPA / PIPA?
The bill’s sponsors said it was about stopping online piracy, but everyone knew it was really about censorship.
Now, Congress is at it again. They’re holding a hearing today, and rushing toward a vote on a bill called SESTA, the absurdly named “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act,” but once again, this bill has nothing to do with stopping sex trafficking. Instead it would decimate online communities like Wikipedia and Voat and and Gab (and much more) and enable widespread Internet censorship.
[1] URGENT: Congress is holding a hearing on SESTA today. Tell your lawmakers to oppose this dangerous Internet censorship bill. SESTA would weaken CDA Section 230, which is one of the basic free speech protections that has allowed the Internet to grow into what it is today.
[2] Section 230 is what makes it possible for web services to allow user-generated content. It protects them from massive liability by ensuring that online services can’t be sued out of existence because someone uses their platform improperly.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why should we care whether Internet companies are protected from liability?
Here’s why: without this basic rule, social media as we know it would not exist, and neither would online video sharing communities, discussion forums, or even the comments sections on news sites.
Under the current law, websites like these can allow users like us to engage in free expression because they are not liable for the things we post, as long as they comply with the law and take down abusive or illegal content when it’s flagged. But if SESTA passes, that freedom ends.
Startups and small businesses who don’t have money for lawyers and endless legal fees would likely be forced to shut down completely, and big web companies like Facebook and Twitter would likely automatically censor anything they’re even slightly worried might get them sued: whether it’s a politically charged comment, a provocative video, or meme that they deem to be “risky.”
Tell your Senators and Representatives to vote NO on SESTA! The worst part of all this?
SESTA could actually make sex trafficking easier, not harder, and put sex workers in more danger.
[3] By gutting the “Good Samaritan” provision within Section 230, it would actually discourage web companies from having good moderation and community guidelines, by exposing them to massive criminal liability if they make a mistake or miss a post that should have been taken down.
[4] SESTA is a very real threat to the future of free expression on the Internet, and it’s moving fast. The bill has bipartisan support and has already picked up two dozen sponsors. Many members of Congress will jump at the chance to attach their names to a bill that they think is about ending sex trafficking. If the Internet doesn’t speak out now and make sure lawmakers and the public understand what this bill would really do, it will almost certainly pass.
Add your name! Tell Congress that SESTA won’t stop sex trafficking, but it will crush free speech and the Internet economy. User-generated content is what makes the Internet … the Internet. All the memes, gifs, video explainers, forum posts, reviews, music, humor, creativity and information that makes the web so powerful, fun, and good for society. If SESTA passes, we could lose the best parts of the Internet, forever.
We’ve defeated bad legislation like this before. If enough of us contact our legislators right now, we can still defeat this, but time is short.
Please take action, and forward this email to everyone you know. For the Internet, -Evan at FFTF Sources:
Fight for the Future works to protect your rights in the digital

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