J276 Digital Accountability: Exploring Section 230

There are 26 words that changed the world.

“No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

These words are enshrined in the Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

The statute, which has been in effect for a quarter of a century, protects tech companies from lawsuits based on the content they host. While traditional news organizations such as newspapers and television stations can face stiff judgements for publishing libelous or slanderous content, Section 230 indemnifies tech businesses like Google, Facebook and WhatsApp.

There’s a growing consensus that  Section 230 has come with significant social costs, including the spread of disinformation and harassment—often disproportionately targeted at our most vulnerable communities–and threat to Democracy.

This class will investigate the role Section 230 has played in our current misinformation pandemic and solutions to address the problem.

This course is by application only and has six spots reserved for the Journalism School, two spots from the Law School, two from the School of Information, and two from the School of Public Policy.

Each student will receive a $1,000 stipend to complete this course with the delivery of well-researched journalistic audio series.



Time:  Tu 5:00 - 8:00

Location:  108 North Gate (Lower News)

Class Number:  23283

Section:  001

Units:  3

Length:  15 weeks

Course Material Fee:  None

Enroll Limit:  12

Restrictions & Prerequisites

Prioritize Audio Students. Intro to Audio is pre-requisite, unless students get an exemption from Head of Audio