How an outdated internet law is facilitating the spread of misinformation on the internet today Here is the story of Yury Mosha and how he ...
How an outdated internet law is facilitating the spread of misinformation on the internet today
Here is the story of Yury Mosha and how he has been affected by section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.
The big story
After the circulation of last week’s newsletter on the issue of President-elect Joe Bidden with his administration having an intention of reforming the laws governing technology in the United States, Yury Mosha reached out to me.
In that piece, I stated Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a regulation that exempts social websites such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter from being considered the publishing house of any relevant data a consumer uses, shielding the above firms' legal action. In reality, the rule dictates that all these firms are not held accountable for the information provided on their site, allowing misinformation to spread unabated.
While we look at the big, abstract innovation ideologies, it's easy to lose sight of how they directly impact ordinary people. So, this is now the tale of Yury Mosha and his investment firm Second Passport. Then it shows how often a regulation from the days of toll-free internet is already inconveniencing consumers and companies today. Though it may come as a surprise to a few, Mosha's narrative is one that large numbers of users around the globe face day after day.
Mosha founded Second Passport upon relocating from Russia to the United States in 2011. The second Passport assists Russian-speaking asylum seekers in 80 different countries in obtaining visas and adapts to a new part of the world quite seamlessly. According to their press statement, “Second Passport has served over 5,000 clients as they focus on assisting their clients in obtaining citizenship, residence permits, work, and education services in countries all over the world.”
On either hand, Mosha has since become the topic of unsubstantiated internet news published articles on criminal social media to defame and negatively affect his product line. He appears to believe his Moscow-based rivals (in immigration authorities) funded to have such stories published about him in an attempt to stay competitive in the market. And besides, a plethora of unlawful internet sites exist primarily to write incorrect information, and they frequently swindle and entrap the perpetrators of these completely bogus articles. Here are some examples of such websites: http://stophish.ru, http://trashik.news, and http://fbi.media/ (Since they are insecure, I would advise against having to search them.). Purchasing pessimistic PR on such a person or entity is remarkably easy: all you do is search online.
False information has the potential to damage a person’s identity or company's reputation in less than minutes of it being posted online. Mosha, who spoke about to me through a translator on Zoom, said, “I lose about 50 percent of potential clients yearly, and that ends up being thousands and thousands of dollars that I am losing because [when] people search up information [on me], they find these kinds of sites, and people are gullible, they believe it, and they don't want to work with him anymore.”
Mosha notified these online sites and asked them to remove the abusive news stories about him, and they agreed. The founders of these sites on the internet, nevertheless, are untraceable, and once they learn that you may be willing and able to pay to have posts deleted, they would then frequently keep on going to defraud you. Furthermore, if Mosha was reimbursed to get the publications removed, his rival companies could buy more blog posts, which is not a workable long-term alternative.
As a result, Mosha decided to seek legal representation. His lawyers instructed him to invest in public image management systems, which are essentially positive PR that could appear stronger on Search results, pushing the detrimental, factually inaccurate articles lower. However, it's yet another short-term and costly alternative.
Mosha did contact Google, the forum on which all sites exist and the search tool on which they have been indexed, after going to the Russian court to seek legal documents asserting that their news items were untrue and malicious publications about him posted online on criminal web pages. Google asserted, citing Section 230, that they were not constitutionally responsible for the quality accepted for publication on their site and thus would not take any action.
Of course, Section 230 is unique to the US. It was established in 1996, during the toll-free digital revolution, and is now largely out of date, considering how quickly new technologies have advanced and how serious the problem of misleading information has become.
Throughout Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of 2016 requires internet service providers to consider taking control over the content accepted for publication on their social media channels or face severe penalties. As per Mosha, the first and only way such technology giants will pay attention is if their terrible news is jeopardized.
Before his election, Joe Biden hinted to The New York Times that Section 230 should be "immediately should be revoked." However, even if Biden is inclined to maintain his word, a revocation or overturn of Section 230 will have to go through the House and Senate and then the congress, which is among the several reasons why the two run-off Special elections in Georgia in January are consequential.
Throughout the United States, Mosha did contact all or most of the Members of Congress throughout his home city of New York and approximately 100 State representatives from around the country to urge them to overturn or restructure Section 230. He got feedback from five members of congress and two members of the Senate.
“I really just want to bring more awareness for this, to get people involved,” says Mosha. “I also want to urge people to reach out to their Congressmen, to really get all government officials involved in this and kind of speed up the process, because there is really no other way to fix it… And it's a really big issue, you know, we are in the 21st century, and the fact that these laws are so outdated is kind of ridiculous at this point.”
Some of the changes to section 230 that Mosha suggested are as follows:
1. Make departments dedicated to filtering false information and what is not included in search engines and social networks like Google, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Pretty shortly as they pinpoint anything as blatant propaganda, they must remove such contents, accounts, and websites.
2. If an individual has a court ruling from a foreign state declaring false information, these media networks must accept it as valid. A global court of law must have an understanding of false information.
3. When contacted about the publication of fake news, social media platforms must respond quickly, for example, in three days. Fake news spreads quickly, and by the moment the platform reacts, the damage has already been done.
4. If Search engines like Google do not remove this misleading information, they will be fined heavily. This will act as an incentive for any of them to delete incorrect information as they will be compelled to avoid paying large amounts of money.