“How a failed attempt to get porn off the internet protects Airbnb from the law.”

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The crux of the Airbnb matter?

It’s Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, “a much-maligned law that was decried by free speech advocates, dismissed as a ‘departing Senator’s half-baked notions’ by the New York Times editorial board, and swiftly struck down by the Supreme Court.”

How a failed attempt to get porn off the internet protects Airbnb from the law, by Julia Carrie Wong (The Guardian)

Airbnb, like pornography, is a business based on selling a fantasy. Porn offers the simulacrum of a sexual encounter; Airbnb, that of being “a local” in a city not one’s own. There’s less fuss, less muss, and a much reduced chance of STDs and irritated neighbors.

At least, there’s less fuss for the visitors. Cities around the world, however, are waking up to the headache of hosting transient populations in previously residential neighborhoods, and attempting to crack down.

But while local politicians in Reykjavík, Berlin, and Barcelona are taking a stand against Airbnb, their counterparts in the United States have struggled to come up with regulations that have teeth.

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