Assuming Good Faith Online

30 Catholic U.J.L. & Tech. __ (Forthcoming)

Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 4277296

10 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2022

See all articles by Eric Goldman

Eric Goldman

Santa Clara University - School of Law

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

Goldman, Eric, Assuming Good Faith Online ( 2022). 30 Catholic U.J.L. & Tech. __ (Forthcoming), Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 4277296, Available at SSRN: or

Eric Goldman (Contact Author)

Santa Clara University - School of Law ( email )

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
United States
408-554-4369 (Phone)


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