The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Free Speech

Daphne Keller, "Amplification and Its Discontents: Why Regulating the Reach of Online Content Is Hard"


Still more from the free speech and social media platforms symposium in the first issue of our Journal of Free Speech Law; you can read the whole article (by Daphne Keller, formerly at Google and now at Stanford) here, but here's the abstract [UPDATE: link fixed]:

Discussions about platform regulation increasingly focus on the "reach" or "amplification" that platforms provide for illegal or harmful con­tent posted by users. Some have proposed holding platforms liable for amplified content, even if the platforms are immunized for simply hosting or transmitting the same content. This article discusses the serious challenges of that regulatory approach. It examines legal models that would (1) increase platform liability for amplifying currently illegal content, (2) increase platform liability for amplifying harmful but currently legal content, or (3) create content-neutral restraints on amplification. It suggests, using both U.S. First Amendment precedent and comparison to recent EU legal developments, that the first two approaches would raise serious concerns. It identifies potentially more viable ways forward, however, in content-neutral approaches grounded in privacy or competition law.