Stop SESTA (Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act) from becoming Law.
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SESTA, or Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, is not a bill that targets Sex Traffickers. Rather it opens up websites like Reddit, Youtube, Wikipedia, and pretty much every website with user generated content to massive liabilities for the content posted by users.
Currently, the law allowing companies to host user created content and makes it possible for social media to exist is known as Section 230 of the Common Decency Act, or CDA. This piece of the CDA is the crucial piece that protects intermediaries, or providers of platforms that share free speech and content over the internet, from litigation resulting from the misuse of their platform.
In laymans terms, Section 230 protects websites like Facebook, Reddit, Wikipedia, and other social media platforms from being sued when someone posts something that goes against their terms of service. This protection allows smaller startups to enter the market more safely, encouraging growth.
SESTA would remove or at least cripple these protections, meaning that every platform provider would be open to expensive litigation every time someone posts something that could be construed the "wrong" way. This would effectively kill social media, as even if the moderators made one mistake it would be over for a small startup. The giants in the field would have to heavily censor and vet what could and could not be posted in order to stay alive.
What's more SESTA paves the way for individual states to effectively sensor the internet. By writing laws at the state level, SESTA would force the online community to uphold these state laws. An example would be misgendering someone online, as California already has laws in place for this.
This bill simply isn't the solution to online sex traffickers. It doesn't target them in any specific way, rather instead focusing on the platforms they misuse. While online sex trafficking is a problem, tearing down social media will not help to solve it. Rather, it will drive these perpetrators into darker corners where it will be more difficult to find and stop them.
We can't afford a misstep here. This would be heavily damaging to the economy, as we are effectively talking about a bill that, if made law, would kill industries. I call upon all members of our federal government to ensure that this damaging, liberty violating bill never becomes law.
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