How Section 230 Enhances the First Amendment

Eric Goldman Professor of Law, Santa Clara University School of Law

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July 2020

Passed in 1996 and described as one of the “most important speech-enhancing statues” ever passed by Congress, the Communications Decency Act (CDA) categorically shields Internet services from liability for publishing third-party content. In a new ACS Issue Brief, Professor Eric Goldman of Santa Clara University School of Law explores how the CDA’s liability shield interacts with and enhances the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee. Goldman reviews the substantive and procedural benefits of the CDA and concludes that proposals to eliminate its liability shield “would create critical gaps in the law that the First Amendment would not adequately backfill.”