The NYT had a piece on U.S. Internet regulations, and efforts to apply them to other countries, that may have left some readers confused. The piece focused on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects Internet intermediaries from many of the liabilities faced by conventional publishers.

Perhaps the most important one of these liabilities is exposure to libel law. In the case of standard publishers, if a publisher helps to spread a third party's libelous claim, then they can be sued for libel. For example, if Rudy Giuliani writes a column in the NYT saying that Joe Biden killed his neighbor, it can be held responsible if Biden presents it with clear evidence that he didn't kill his neighbor and it makes no effort to correct the libelous information.

By contrast, under Section 230, if Giuliani makes and spreads this claim through Facebook, Biden has no ability to sue Mark Zuckerberg, even if he introduces Zuckerberg to his still living neighbor. It is not clear why an Internet intermediary should enjoy immunity for spreading libelous claims that neither a print nor broadcast outlet have.