Tech Companies Like Facebook and Twitter Are Drawing Lines. It’ll Be Messy.

From its earliest days, Silicon Valley has been animated by near-absolutist understanding of free speech. Other than exceptions for fraud, pornography or specific threats, the prevailing view among many tech platforms has been to allow pretty much anyone to post pretty much anything. These sensibilities are even enshrined in American law, which gives companies broad immunity from prosecution for what their users post.

But now, for good reason, the absolutist ethos is over.

Over the past two years, pressed by lawmakers and the media about the harm caused by misinformation, state-sponsored propaganda and harassment, tech platforms have begun to radically overhaul their attitudes about what people can say online and how they can say it.

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