Assuming Good Faith Online
30 Catholic U.J.L. & Tech. __ (Forthcoming)
10 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2022
Date Written: 2022
Every internet service enabling user-generated content faces a dilemma of balancing good-faith and bad-faith activity. Without that balance, the service loses one of the internet’s signature features—users’ ability to engage with and learn from each other in pro-social and self-actualizing ways—and instead drives towards one of two suboptimal outcomes. Either it devolves into a cesspool of bad-faith activity or becomes a restrictive locked-down environment with limited expressive options for any user, even well-intentioned ones.
Striking this balance is one of the hardest challenges that internet services must navigate, and yet the U.S. regulatory policy currently lets services prioritize the best interests of their audiences rather than regulators’ paranoia of bad faith actors. However, that regulatory deference is in constant jeopardy. Should it change, it will hurt the internet—and all of us.
Keywords: wikipedia, assume good faith, section 230, internet history, content moderation
JEL Classification: L86, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation