Facebook Should Not Be In A Safe Harbor

Opinion

Facebook is currently protected by a legal provision called “safe harbor”. The legal definition is that it gives legal protection from liability under specified conditions.

Safe harbor is necessary for such industries that provide the pipes through which data flows because their only purpose is to link two opposing points with information. They do not create the content, they provide the connections between the send and receive points. They should not be responsible for the content they move through their pipes, thus the safe harbor legal provision. The key point in this is these companies must not create any data content.

The phone company links homes and businesses with voice and computer signal data so does internet service providers. The phone company does not create the content; it just move it from place to place.

Visually think in you mind that this company as a pipe company. Pipe companies should not, normally, be sued for what passes through their pipes.

Facebook creates content and moves content. It does two things at the same time. It is similar to the phone company and also a news paper company. Yet, Facebook uses safe harbor as an excuse not to receive any legal claims against it for the content it creates from its “reporters”.  Facebook’s safe harbor arguments are utterly false and legally stupid at any simple level of common reason. Facebook does move content that they do not create thus hugging the safe harbor protection. But, they do create the content when it is put up to their web site platform. Their web site platform now can be thought of as a newspaper creating content. Private text messages between Facebook members would be a pipe movement but once a member puts up any display of a still image, movie, or pronouncement, then those individuals are Facebook “reporters”. Facebook becomes like a newspaper and the person putting up that type of information is acting like a reporter for a newspaper. In once sense, Facebook is a type of electronic newspaper because it is a vehicle of display, not a pipe.  In fact, Facebook “is a fully fledged news organization on a scale we have never seen”.

https://hbr.org/2011/03/facebook-is-the-largest-news-o

With that type of content, Facebook must act to supervise within a reasonable time to remove such content that offends, creates or transmits disinformation, is inflammatory, libelous, or could suffer legal actions against it. In other words, Facebook must not be protected with the provisions of safe harbor.

The United States currently has offered safe harbor protection for Facebook, allegedly for political reasons.   Some of the Facebook staff are Donald Trump supporters such as Peter Thiel a Facebook Inc. board member.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-01/peter-thiel-praises-trump-pledges-to-support-his-2020-campaign

 

Posted May 31, 2019

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