This article in Tech Policy Press is the first in a series with Chris Riley (2/27/22)
It is the policy of the United States…to encourage the development of technologies which maximize user control over what information is received by individuals…who use the Internet…” (from Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act)
The series begins with an exploration of why this emphasis on user control is far more important than generally recognized, and how an architecture designed to make high levels of user control manageable can enhance the nuance, context, balance, and value in human discourse that current social media are tragically degrading.
While that portion of the much-discussed “Section 230” has been neglected, those ideas have re-emerged — most prominently in the 2019 ACCESS Act introduced in the U.S. Senate, which included among its provisions a requirement to provide “delegatability” — enabled through APIs that allow a user to authorize a third party to manage the user’s content and settings directly on the user’s behalf.
This opening essay concludes:
User choice is essential to a social and media ecosystem that preserves and augments democracy, self-actualization, and the common welfare — instead of undermining it. And delegation is the linchpin that can make that a reality.
This is part of a continuing series of related essays by Reisman and Riley in Tech Policy Press:
- Delegation, Or, The Twenty Nine Words That The Internet Forgot
- Understanding Social Media: An Increasingly Reflexive Extension of Humanity
- Community and Content Moderation in the Digital Public Hypersquare