Breakingviews – Gunmakers and social networks are due a defrocking

Breakingviews - Gunmakers and social networks are due a defrocking

A 3D-printed Facebook logo are seen in front of displayed binary digits in this illustration taken, March 18, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – Guns and social networks have several things in common. Many people enjoy them responsibly, but in the wrong hands they’re dangerous. Yet both enjoy an unfair subsidy in the form of legal protections that shield them from the actions of their users. That can’t last forever. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter boss Jack Dorsey appeared before U.S. senators on Tuesday to justify censoring political speech. At issue is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which broadly lets social networks off the hook for users’ posts, while also giving them the freedom to mark “objectionable” content. That law, which helped Facebook go from startup to $800 billion company, now effectively makes Zuckerberg and Dorsey arbiters of when content poses a danger to society. Gunsmiths too benefit from legislative Kevlar: the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. It basically prevents gun violence victims from holding firearm-makers liable. But PLCAA means companies like Smith & Wesson and Remington can eschew simple, lifesaving features, such as indicators that show when a firearm is loaded. That omission costs lives. In 2020 there have been almost 250 unintentional shootings by American children, Everytown For Gun Safety says. Without these shields, both industries would change radically. Gun-rights supporters claim that without PLCAA, a sector with 47,000 workers would go bust. That’s probably hyperbole. But lawsuits and […]

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