We could take some clues from a principle applied in phone networks and the DMCA.
The phone company gets “common carrier” status for the phone system, and therefore has no responsibility for what you say on the telephone, but neither do they get any control over that.
They do provide law enforcement tapping facilities.
When we stepped things up a level of information complexity, to providing information services like in Facebook, YouTube etc, we somehow kind of forgot about that principle, except in the DMCA provisions where they applied it as a partial protection for vendors. i.e. provide a take-down service and you can be immune from copyright provisions in relation to user content.
I think the DMCA didn’t take this provision far enough.
The deal should be that as a vendor providing an information service, you get to choose what sort of information service you want to be in law.
Your choices are:
- Common Carrier, Responsible Citizens - You are immune from responsibility for user content, except to the extent that you need to provide law enforcement access under appropriate court approved requests, BUT, you do not get to curate, control, ban or censor users or content, except as dictated by the courts. The users are responsible for their own content, and they probably need to be strongly identified as real people such that they can take responsibility for their content.
- Private Carrier, Carefree Citizens - You may curate, control, ban or censor content to suit your own business purposes, but you are then legally responsible for that user content. Users may or may not be identified - that’s up to you, but in any case, you are responsible for the content, and the users are not.