When President Bill Clinton signed the Communications Decency Act of 1996 into law, it was a full decade before Jack Dorsey sent the very first tweet on newly created Twitter at 9:50 p.m. on March 21, 2006.
The tweet simply read, "just setting up my twttr."
When the CDA became law of the land, Mark Zuckerberg was a 12-year-old kid—one year before his Star Wars-themed bar mitzvah. It would be seven years later (2003) that he would create FaceMash, a website where Harvard students could vote on which woman was more attractive from random photos.
When the site was shut down by Harvard's administration, however, it morphed into Facebook in 2004.
The law came two years before Google was officially launched by two college students—Larry Page and Sergey Brin—in 1998 in a garage in Menlo Park, California. It evolved from a search algorithm they had developed, first known as "BackRub."
You didn't click on this article to get a history lesson, but it puts Section 230 into context with the era in which it was created. It probably seemed like a good idea at the time to give online companies protection from civil liability as "distributors of content," rather than as "publishers."
This allowed freedom of speech to flow freely in the new, online community that had only become operational in a meaningful way about six years earlier. And the internet probably wouldn't be what it is today had it not been for those protections.
The Good Samaritan Clause
In order to allow the freedom of speech, and at the same time keep some level of decency on the internet, they placed the burden on the tech companies to restrict access of obscene, violent or harassing materials to their sites. This responsibility given to the tech companies was on the honor system and was referred to as the "Good Samaritan" rule from the biblical account in Luke 10.
So all was well, and Section 230 was in place to regulate the internet companies, which were like cute little orphaned bear cubs with their eyes still closed that needed to be bottle-fed every few hours.
Although this made perfect sense to the lawmakers at the time, they didn't foresee two things happening in the future: 1) the cute little bear cubs growing up into gargantuan, dangerous grizzly bears; and 2) the horrendous bias and dishonesty of the heads of future internet companies.
The Ugly Evolution to the Here and Now
Fast-forward to our present-day dilemma. The tech giants have become so big and powerful that they threaten our very way of life in America. For instance, Google and Facebook's total revenues in 2020 were $181 billion and $86 billion, respectively. For context, Google's 2020 total revenue was more than the budgets of the Departments of Homeland Security, HUD, State and NASA combined!
That brings us to one more bear analogy. Newborn cubs weigh less than a pound and are smaller, relative to their mother's size, than the young of any other placental mammal. I would say that comparison is apropos to a company that was birthed in a garage and grew to a $181 billion annual revenue company.
In recent years, these giant liberal tech companies—particularly, Facebook, Twitter and Google—have weaponized their platforms for political purposes. They have allowed Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei to call for the "genocide of Israel" and "death to America," while removing a pro-life post containing a quote by Mother Teresa. They allowed posts of Kathy Griffin holding a bloody head of Trump but kicked off Trump himself, a sitting president of the United States, supported by half of the country's voters.
They certainly affected the 2020 election and, along with the mainstream secular media, arguably swung the election for Joe Biden. They allowed every lie and conspiracy theory against Trump, while burying every story that would have hurt Biden.
A poll of 1,750 Biden voters in seven swing states found that 45% of them had never heard the story about Hunter Biden's laptop, and 35% were unaware of the sexual assault allegations of Tara Reade. A whopping 17% (way more than enough to swing the election) said they would not have voted for Biden had they known about just one of those stories.
When confronted on Capitol Hill about this outrageous censorship of conservatives, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said, "People from around the world come together on Twitter in an open and free exchange of ideas. We want to make sure conversations on Twitter are healthy and that people feel safe to express their points of view ... We must ensure that all voices can be heard ... The protections offered by Section 230 help us achieve this important objective."
In the words of President Biden, "C'mon man." An "open and free exchange of ideas"? Only liberal ideas, Jack. And why should conservatives "feel safe to express their points of view," Jack? You've banned more than 60,000 conservatives. "All voices be heard?" How about President Trump's voice? And James O'Keefe's voice? Lin Wood's? Mike Lindell's? Prager U? Asking for a friend. And no, Jack, the protections offered by Section 230 do the opposite of helping you "achieve this important objective;" it removes all incentives for you to do so.
While being grilled by Senator Ted Cruz for censoring conservatives, Zuckerberg replied, "This is actually a concern that I have and that I try to root out in the company, is making sure that we do not have any bias in the work that we do, and I think it is a fair concern that people would at least wonder about."
We don't "wonder" about it, Mark. It's glaringly obvious that you don't want any more diversity of ideology on your platform than you want diversity in your attire—the signature grey T-shirt every day.
On July 15, Jenn Psaki openly admitted, "We're flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation" (that's Democrat speak for any view different than theirs). This is beyond outrageous.
So Where Do We Go From Here?
Now that social media platforms have become full-grown, savage grizzly bears, Section 230 has become as obsolete as floppy disks and Polaroid Instant Cameras. Grizzly bears can stand as tall as nine feet, weigh over 1,000 pounds and kill a mountain lion with one swipe of the paw. And yet Congress is still trying to pet and bottle-feed them like it once did the cute little cubs.
The way I see it, we have only four possible options for Section 230:
— Leave it as is.
— Terminate it.
— Modify it.
— Break up the giant tech companies.
My main objective in this article is to sell the idea that we must eliminate option No. 1. We cannot leave it as is! We gave them a chance to abide by the "Good Samaritan" rule. They've acted more like the thieves in that story! Luke 10:30b says they "stripped him of his clothing, wounded him and departed, leaving him half dead."
These tech giants have indeed "stripped" tens of thousands of conservatives of their right of freedom of speech, "wounded" them financially, and left their political campaigns or livelihoods "half dead" (and in some cases, the mainstream secular media took care of the other half).
As far as the other three options, space doesn't allow expounding on them. Maybe Congress will do their job and act on one of these remaining three options. In the meantime, I recommend an article by The Heritage Foundation's Klon Kitchen, "Section 230 ̶ Mend It, Don't End It."
Nolan Lewallen is a retired pilot of a major airline and lives near Stephenville, Texas, with his wife, Kim. Together, they have seven grown children and four grandchildren. Nolan's two greatest passions are the Bible and politics. His new book, The Integration of Church & State: How We Transform "In God We Trust" From Motto to Reality, brings the two together.
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