We all rely on online communities to work, socialize, and learn. From the largest social media sites to the smallest message board, online platforms are central to our right to assemble and speak out. SESTA and FOSTA would put all of us at risk of being shut out of those spaces.
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The authors of these bills in Congress say they’re designed to fight sex trafficking, but the bills wouldn’t punish traffickers. They would threaten legitimate online speech.
Online platforms are enabled by a law referred to as Section 230. Section 230 protects online platforms from liability for some types of speech by their users. Without Section 230, social media would not exist in its current form, and neither would the plethora of nonprofit and community-based online groups that serve as crucial outlets for free expression and knowledge sharing.
If Congress undermines these important protections by passing SESTA/FOSTA, many online platforms will be forced to place strong restrictions on their users’ speech, silencing a lot of marginalized voices in the process.
Let’s tell Congress: SESTA/FOSTA won’t stop sex trafficking, but it will ruin online communities.