Because of the Legal implications, a Comparison of the Internet and Traditional Media is necessary to determine the proper role of Government in regulating the Internet.
Lawmakers made the decision a long time ago to treat online information differently than traditional news sources.
Many have heard of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, commonly referred to as “Section 230.” It basically protects online sites from legal claims of libel and defamation for posts made by users.
The law was passed, some argue, to encourage the growth of online businesses and commerce, recognizing that the sheer volume of users would prevent editors from checking every post. Others say the law was meant to allow site hosts to edit and remove content without facing lawsuits.
Those in the newspaper business don’t have the first protection, but we have the same ability to moderate content. Because we are responsible for every word in every edition, we can be sued for purposely or maliciously lying or printing falsehoods in order to damage a person or a business’ reputation.