Jack M. Balkin, a liberal law professor at Yale, recently wrote an essay titled “How to regulate (and not regulate) social media.” (The full essay is available here, via the Journal of Free Speech Law.) Suffice it to say (for now) that his essay is part of a growing chorus of legal scholars calling for greater regulation of the Internet. These scholars, however, are guilty of committing the Nirvana Fallacy: they assume that public regulation will somehow magically produce optimal results or at least better results than the status quo. The late great Ronald Coase demolished this fallacy years ago, but because of Professor Balkin’s academic stature (he is Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School), and because of my interest in social media and information technology law generally, starting tomorrow I will be taking a closer look at Balkin’s arguments and will be writing up a multi-part review of/response to Balkin’s essay.
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Regulation is the last thing the internet needs.
That was true in 1995, and it is still true today…
I second that.
I should add I see a strong possibility for selective enforcement. Especially when it comes to the regulation of “published” content.
Exactly right; plus, the main effect of gov’t regulation is to increase compliance costs, making it more difficult for new firms to enter the space and thus entrenching the very companies to be regulated. Fuck that!
Another excellent point!
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