Apart from their assigned mod courses, 1L students may only enroll in courses offered as 1L electives. A complete list of these courses can be found on the 1L Elective Listings page. 1L students must use the 1L class number listed on the course description when enrolling.
276.33 sec. 001 - Hate Speech, Disinformation, and Online Harassment: Regulation of and by Internet Platforms (Spring 2022)
Instructor: Pamela Samuelson (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only | profile)
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only
Grading Designation: Graded
Mode of Instruction: In-Person
M 3:35 PM - 5:25 PM
Location: Law 140
From January 10, 2022
To April 26, 2022
Course End: April 26, 2022
Class Number: 32065
This course is open to 1Ls.
Enroll Limit: 63
As of: 07/19 11:58 AM
In the mid-1990s, Congress passed a law that limits the liability of online service providers (OSPs) for unlawful acts of their users. In enacting what is widely known as § 230 of the Communications Decency Act, Congress hoped to encourage OSPs to engage in content moderation by immunizing them from liability for wrongful acts by users (such as defamation, hate speech, and privacy violations). This law has fostered incredible growth of the Internet economy. Courts have interpreted that law very liberally, and some platforms have abused the immunity. As a consequence, this law is under siege now because of the proliferation of online wrongdoing. Proposed legislation would significantly alter this law.
In addition to reviewing key cases and legislative options, the course will consider the challenges of engaging in content moderation at scale and discuss the private governance mechanisms that online platforms use (and sometimes fail to use) to stop the proliferation of harmful content.
This course will consider, among other things, First Amendment limits on what the government can do to regulate speech that takes place on online platforms. Can the government require Facebook to stop disinformation campaigns? Can governments require platforms to be neutral or stop "censoring" some critics? Will private initiatives such as the Facebook Oversight Board mitigate content moderation problems? These are examples of the questions we will have a chance to address in this course.
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