Self-Regulation: How Wikipedia Leverages User-Generated Quality Control Under Section 230

Forthcoming

49 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2010 Last revised: 23 Oct 2010

See all articles by Kathleen M. Walsh

Kathleen M. Walsh

George Mason University, Antonin Scalia Law School, Students/Alumni

Sarah Oh

Technology Policy Institute

Date Written: February 23, 2010

Abstract

As Virginia Woolf once wrote, “[T]o enjoy freedom, we have…to control ourselves.” In the market for online information services, Wikipedia has done just that. Wikipedia has achieved astounding success via self-regulation. Wikipedia promotes user-generated quality control not as a legal obligation, but as a commitment to its educational purpose and values of its fact-checking community. In doing so, Wikipedia has leveraged the purpose of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act into consumer welfare. Section 230 protects sites that engage in "Good Samaritan" policing of harmful material, with no requirement on the quality or quantity of such monitoring. Interactive sites should treat the statute an opportunity, rather than mere permission to thrive in the world of Web 2.0: those who can productively self-regulate, should.

Keywords: Wikipedia, User-Generated Content, Self-Regulation, Quality Control, Communications Decency Act, Section 230

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K20

Suggested Citation

Walsh, Kathleen M. and Oh, Sarah, Self-Regulation: How Wikipedia Leverages User-Generated Quality Control Under Section 230 (February 23, 2010). Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1579054

Kathleen M. Walsh

George Mason University, Antonin Scalia Law School, Students/Alumni ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

Sarah Oh (Contact Author)

Technology Policy Institute ( email )

1401 Eye St. NW
Suite 505
Washington, DC 20005
United States
2028284405 (Phone)
2028284405 (Fax)

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