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New IA Research Shows Consumers Rely On Section 230 Protections For Holiday Shopping

“Holiday shopping looks different this year, but Americans can still shop confidently and easily online thanks to ecommerce features powered by Section 230.”

Elizabeth Banker, Deputy General Counsel

Washington, DC — Internet Association (IA) today released survey results from a poll of 1,586 U.S. adults highlighting the value of Section 230 protections to holiday shoppers. With Americans particularly reliant on online shopping this holiday season, the online reviews, ratings, and feedback, powered by Section 230, are more important than ever. Consumers said they value user ratings and review twice as much as valuable as expert reviews.

“Holiday shopping looks different this year, but Americans can still shop confidently and easily online thanks to ecommerce features powered by Section 230,” IA Deputy General Counsel Elizabeth Banker said. “It’s crystal clear that consumers value feedback from other customers more than almost anything else when they’re shopping online. When policymakers talk about ‘repealing’ Section 230, they often forget how crucial the law is to services that Americans value and rely upon.”

Section 230 is the law that enables user-generated content online, including customer reviews and ratings. Thanks to Section 230, e-commerce sites can host reviews, star ratings, photos of products, or feedback without being considered the author or publisher of every piece of customer feedback. Without this, the value of online reviews could be diminished. Section 230 also empowers platforms to set and enforce their own content moderation standards, banning harmful content like fake reviews and counterfeit products to protect their customers and sellers.?

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Almost all online shoppers said they will be checking product reviews, which are enabled by Section 230. Seventy-nine percent of respondents said that they “often” or “always” read reviews of products online before purchasing.
  • Consumer reviews and star ratings underpinned by Section 230 are more valuable to consumers than expert reviews. Consumers find average star ratings and testimonials more than twice as valuable as expert reviews.
  • Three-quarters of Americans will be doing almost all their shopping online this holiday season. Seventy-six percent of respondents said they expect to do “most” or “all” of their holiday shopping online this year.

To read the full survey, click here.

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