Understanding Section 230

Note: Presentation times are in Pacific Standard Time (PST).

Thursday, February 03, 2022 - 9:05 am10:35 am

Moderator: Mike Masnick, Techdirt/Copia Institute

Panelists: Cathy Gellis; Kate Klonick, St. John's Law School; Adelin Cai, Sidequest


Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act went from what seemed like an obscure internet regulation to one that was headline news throughout the media, including commentary from Presidents and Presidential candidates. Despite this attention and despite the actual simplicity of the law, it remains widely misunderstood. On this panel experts from the legal, policy, and trust & safety world, will help explain exactly what Section 230 is, what it does, common misunderstandings, and why understanding Section 230 is important to the open internet and those who build it.

Cathy Gellis[node:field-speakers-institution]

Frustrated that people were making the law without asking for her opinion, Cathy Gellis gave up a career in web development to become a lawyer to help them not make it badly, especially regarding technology. A former aspiring journalist and longtime fan of civil liberties, her legal work includes defending the rights of Internet users and advocating for policy that protects speech and innovation. When not advising clients on platform liability, copyright, trademark, privacy, or cybersecurity she frequently writes about these subjects and more for outlets such as the Daily Beast, Law.com, and Techdirt.com, where she is a regular contributor.

Kate Klonick, St. John's Law School

Kate Klonick is an Assistant Professor at St. John's University Law School, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and Yale Law School’s Information Society Project. Her research on online speech, freedom of expression, and private governance has appeared in the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, The New Yorker, New York Times, The Atlantic, The Guardian and numerous other publications.

Adelin Cai, Founder and Principal Consultant, Sidequest

Adelin Cai has spent the last decade working with and leading teams responsible for product policies and their enforcement. As Pinterest’s former Head of Policy, she led the team that developed the company’s principles and core values around content moderation, covering a range of issues from hateful speech to medical (mis)information to dank memes. Prior to Pinterest, she ran Twitter’s Legal Ads Policy team, guiding policy and operations for Twitter’s self-serve and international advertising products. She is also a co-founder of the Trust & Safety Professional Association (TSPA) and the affiliated Trust & Safety Foundation (TSF). She currently serves as TSPA’s board chair.

@conference {277481,
author = {Mike Masnick and Cathy Gellis and Kate Klonick and Adelin Cai},
title = {Understanding Section 230},
year = {2022},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = feb

Presentation Video