Trending March 2024 # The Best Mac Finder Preferences You Should Know About # Suggested April 2024 # Top 11 Popular

You are reading the article The Best Mac Finder Preferences You Should Know About updated in March 2024 on the website Cattuongwedding.com. We hope that the information we have shared is helpful to you. If you find the content interesting and meaningful, please share it with your friends and continue to follow and support us for the latest updates. Suggested April 2024 The Best Mac Finder Preferences You Should Know About

One of the staples of the macOS environment, Finder is an ever-present part of everything Mac. The Mac version of Windows Explorer, Finder is where you “find” all of your documents, media, folders, files, etc. Its smiling blue/gray icon is always on your Dock or at the top of the screen on your menu bar. While Finder seems pretty straightforward after a few uses, there are likely some preferences you may not know about. Each of these preferences can take your Finder experience to the next level.

Adjust Default Finder Search

You can choose to search your whole Mac, use a previous search scope or just search the current folder. It’s a quick but incredibly helpful tweak when you need to find a file quickly.

Change the Default Folder Rename Multiple Files

Another small but incredibly useful Finder preference is the ability to rename multiple files at once.

The far-left drop-down allows you to Replace Text, Add Text or Format the names of all of the selected files.

In the middle, you can write your own title which can be anything you want.

The far-right drop-down allows you to add the new text before or after the existing file name.

Customize the Toolbar Merge Open Finder Windows

We have all enjoyed having too many open Finder windows. The more windows that are open on a Mac, especially on a smaller screen, can be a real headache.

Fullscreen Quick Look

Another one of those handy tricks you mayhave never known about is seeing Quick Look in fullscreen. It can be incredibly handy. As you are searching through multiple files, videos, photos, or documents, Quick Look is a fast and easy way to preview a file. Instead of opening up a default application like Word, PowerPoint, Pages, or Photos, Quick Look enables you to see nearly any file type at a quick glance.

What if you want to see Quick Look in fullscreen? All you need to do is press the Option key at the same time as the Space bar to activate Quick Look. You can also hold the Option key down if you have placed the Quick Look icon in your Finder toolbar.

Now that you have mastered your Finder, you should look into customizing the files, folder and hard drive icons in Finder or uncovering the hidden customization options in macOS. Taking a few extra minutes to learn these customization tips can go a long way in helping your day-to-day macOS experience.

David Joz

David is a freelance tech writer with over 15 years of experience in the tech industry. He loves all things Nintendo.

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18 Hidden Windows 11 Features You Should Know About

After Windows 11’s official release last year, Microsoft is still keen on adding new features and trying to improve the overall PC experience. We have already curated a list of the best Windows 11 features, which include the new centered taskbar, the new Start menu, a re-designed Action Center, smooth animations, and a lot more. And in this guide, we bring you the 18 best hidden features in Windows 11 that you should use to get the most out of Microsoft’s new desktop OS. From obscure features to hidden settings, we have mentioned everything in this article, so let’s go ahead and unpack the list.

In this article, we have added the 18 best hidden Windows 11 features that are not highlighted much but can enhance your PC experience significantly. These features have been tested on the latest Windows 11 Pro Stable build (22000.527) after the February update. You can expand the table below and take a look at these hidden features.

1. Weather Widget in Taskbar

In case you have moved the taskbar alignment to the left, then keep in mind that Windows 11 won’t show the weather widget. You just need to enable “Widgets” from Taskbar settings, and the weather widget will appear on the taskbar. In case you want to completely disable widgets from Windows 11, follow our linked tutorial.

2. Mute/ Umute Mic From the Taskbar

3. Share Any Window From the Taskbar

In addition to the universal microphone switch, Microsoft has also brought a seamless way to share screens during video calls. If you are using Microsoft Teams, you can now hover over an app or an active window on the Taskbar and choose “Share this window”. This will instantly share the particular window, offering a hassle-free screen sharing option. Keep in mind that you need a work or school account associated with Microsoft Teams to use this feature.

4. Voice Typing With Punctuation Support

Voice typing is undoubtedly one of the best hidden features of Windows 11, and I don’t see many people using this awesome tool. It allows you to type in any text field or window with a hotkey. Simply press “Windows + H” to see the voice typing pop-up come up. Now, speak out whatever you want to type, and it will accurately transcribe your speech, that too with correct punctuation. We have already written a guide on how to use voice typing in Windows 11 so go through our guide for detailed instructions.

5. Android App Support

After months of testing in Insider channels, Microsoft has finally brought Android App support to Windows 11 stable users. If you are in the US, you can install Android apps and games on your Windows 11 PC with ease.

6. Hidden Old Context Menu

7. Access Folders in Start Menu

8. Redesigned Emoji Picker

Even the emojis have been redesigned and now look in line with Windows 11’s aesthetics. You should use this hidden Windows 11 feature while chatting with your friends on WhatsApp Web or other messaging services.

9. Shake to Minimize (Aero Shake)

Earlier known as Aero Shake, Windows 11 also includes the Shake to Minimize feature that lets you minimize all the open windows except for the active one by shaking the title bar (see GIF attached below).

10. Manage Volume For Individual Apps

11. Advanced Gesture Controls

12. Dynamic Refresh Rate

Dynamic Refresh Rate is another Windows 11 hidden feature that everyone should use if they have a high refresh rate display. It just makes Windows 11 so smooth while navigating across the UI and interacting with different OS elements.

13. Focus Session

Focus Session is the next Windows 11 hidden feature that not many are talking about. For users who wish to remain productive and disciplined when using their Windows 11 computer, Focus Session can help you achieve a lot.

The app also has a helpful dashboard that enables you to track your progress. And just like smartphones, it alerts you periodically to take a break. All in all, Focus Session is one of the obscure Windows 11 features that more people should use to be productive while working from home. If you want to learn how to use Focus Sessions on Windows 11, check our detailed guide linked here.

14. Clipboard Sync

Windows 11 has an awesome clipboard syncing feature that works across Windows and Android devices. It’s hidden deep under the System Settings page, so not many bother to turn it on. But now, with Microsoft’s Swiftkey getting a clipboard synchronization feature in the stable channel, it works on Android devices too, without any issue.

What does this mean? Well, you can now copy text from your Windows 11 computer and instantly paste it on your Android device and vice versa. Isn’t that cool? To learn how to sync clipboard across Windows and Android devices, head over to the linked tutorial.

15. Screen Time

Just like on smartphones, Windows 11 now also offers a dashboard where you can view the screen time of your laptop. You can check the screen on time, screen off time, sleep time for 24 hours, and a week’s period. It will help you gauge your Windows 11 laptop’s battery life and find apps eating up your battery juice. There are also options to sort apps based on background usage and overall usage. To learn more, head over to our guide on how to check screen on time on Windows 11.

16. DNS Over HTTPS

With DNS over HTTPS, even DNS queries will be encrypted using the HTTPS protocol making all communication on your Windows 11 PC protected and private. You can find out how to turn on DNS over HTTPS on Windows 11 from the linked article.

17. Spatial Sound

Spatial Sound (aka Windows Sonic) is a handy feature in Windows 11 that lets you experience 3D sound or at least have an impression of immersive sound on your PC. It simulates a 3D sound experience with your existing audio gear, which is great. The sad part is that the feature is disabled by default on Windows 11. You can move over to our detailed article on how to enable Spatial sound and enhance audio quality in Windows 11.

18. Windows Backup

Similar to what we have on smartphones, Windows 11 also comes with a complete backup solution. But to use this feature, you must sign in with your Microsoft account on your PC. All your files and folders from the user profile (Desktop, Documents, & Pictures) will be uploaded to OneDrive, and Microsoft will store your app list, on-device Settings preferences, Microsoft Store preferences, and more.

Utilize Windows 11 Hidden Features to Improve Your Experience

10 Things You Should Know About Nami In One Piece

One Piece primarily revolves around the Straw Hats, and Nami is one of the central characters of the manga and anime series. Oda sensei’s outstanding writing, coupled with Nami’s looks, intelligence, and resourcefulness, make her a fan-favorite character. While fans know a lot about our beloved cat burglar Nami, there are still some hidden and interesting facts about One Piece’s Nami that you might be unaware of. So, we have curated a list of unknown facts about Nami-swannn, including her likes/dislikes, background, and personality.

Spoiler Warning: This article contains spoilers about Nami from the Straw Hat Pirates in One Piece. We suggest you watch the anime and read the manga first to avoid ruining your experience.

1. Nami’s Birthday is a Clever Wordplay

This is indeed a hidden easter egg in One Piece from Oda, but it’s not the only one. One time Oda mentioned that Nami’s phone number is 7373-737373, which also resonates with her name. Now, don’t go calling this number!

2. All of Nami’s Favorite Foods

Nami also likes Oshiruko, a dish from Wano Country that was revealed recently, and she likes fried eggs, sunny side up, cooked with orange sauce. She also enjoys other fruit varieties but Orangette is her least favorite dish. About Nami’s cooking, roasted duck with mikan sauce is her favorite recipe to prepare.

3. Nami Could’ve Been a Cyborg

Image Courtesy – One Piece by Toei Animation Studios (Fandom)

This interesting fact is going to blow your mind for sure. Before Franky, Nami’s earlier designs suggest that she could have been a Cyborg. Yes! You read that right, an earlier sketch of Nami included her having a prosthetic left hand as well as a prosthetic right leg. She carried a big battle-axe in this concept. Whilst the Nami we have in One Piece is uber-cool, the earlier concept would have made her look badass.

4. Nami’s Devil Fruit Powers by Oda

Image Courtesy – One Piece by Toei Animation Studios (Fandom)

Nami is not a devil fruit user, and that’s a known fact. But when Oda was asked if Nami was a devil fruit user, which devil fruit she would have eaten? Well, he replied with an unexpected answer. Oda replied that Nami would have gained the powers of Goro Goro no Mi.

For those unaware, this is Enel’s devil fruit, which is one of the strongest devil fruits in One Piece. If you’re wondering why particularly this devil fruit, it’s because Nami has always been associated with lightning powers. So, this devil fruit would be an instant match for her.

5. Jolly Roger for Nami 6. Nami Cosplay and Oda Connection

Image Courtesy – One Piece by Toei Animation Studios (Fandom)

During Jump Festa 2002, model and actress Chiaki Inaba cosplayed Nami from One Piece. But, little did she know that her performance would lead to a surprising encounter. Yeah, mangaka Oda with Inaba after her performance and was captivated by her charm. Thus, they started dating and decided to tie the knot on November 7, 2004.

So yeah, Oda found his real-life Nami and is blessed with two daughters. It’s an incredible story, right? Oda penning a fictional character, that character coming to life through cosplay, and him finding his soulmate in the process. Another extraordinary fact, but yeah, Nami’s character sure had a butterfly effect on Oda’s life.

7. Nami Invited Chopper Before Luffy

Image Courtesy – One Piece by Toei Animation Studios (Fandom)

Everyone knows that when it comes to the addition of new members to the Straw Hat Pirates in One Piece, Luffy is generally the one who invites everyone to his crew. But something special transpired on Drum Island.

8. Debut in the Anime is Different from Manga

It’s a common misconception among many fans that Nami was Luffy’s first crewmate. Zoro is the first person Luffy met, so he will always be his initial companion.

9. This is Nami’s Real-Life Job

Image Courtesy – One Piece by Toei Animation Studios (Twitter)

In an SBS, author Oda mentioned that if the One Piece world was based on today’s real-life world, Nami would originate from the country, Sweden. He further added that if the Straw Hats didn’t go with the choice of Pirates, Nami would now be working as a childcare worker. I mean, Nami has an affinity towards children, so this job would suit her personality, right? So, this is one of the most intriguing facts about Nami.

10. What Nami Will Look Like When She Gets Old

Image Courtesy – One Piece by Toei Animation Studios (Fandom)

Nami is the most popular female character in One Piece, and it’s natural for fans to raise many questions about her. In one such case, Oda answered the question of how would Nami look through different ages with two possible pictures. You can see the alternate possibilities of Nami in her old age, as envisioned by Oda sensei.

Frequently Asked Questions

All You Should Know About Datetime Variables In Python And Pandas

The Complex yet Powerful World of DateTime in Data Science

I still remember coming across my first DateTime variable when I was learning Python. It was an e-commerce project where I had to figure out the supply chain pipeline – the time it takes for an order to be shipped, the number of days it takes for an order to be delivered, etc. It was quite a fascinating problem from a data science perspective.

The issue – I wasn’t familiar with how to extract and play around with the date and time components in Python.

There is an added complexity to the DateTime features, an extra layer that isn’t present in numerical variables. Being able to master these DateTime features will help you go a long way towards becoming a better (and more efficient) data scientist. It’s definitely helped me a lot!

And the date and time features are ubiquitous in data science projects. Think about it – they are a rich source of valuable information, and hence, can give some deep insights about any dataset at hand. Plus the amount of flexibility they offer when we’re performing feature engineering – priceless!

In this article, we will first have a look at how to handle date and time features with Python’s DateTime module and then we will explore Pandas functions for the same!

Note: I assume you’re familiar with Python and the Pandas library. If not, I highly recommend taking the awesome free courses below:

Table of Contents

The Importance of the Date-Time Component

Working with Dates in Python

Working with Time in Python

DateTime in Python

Updating old dates

Extracting Weekday from DateTime

What week is it?

Leap year or not? Use the calendar!

The Different Datetime formats

Advanced DateTime formatting with Strptime & Strftime

Timedelta

DateTime with Pandas

DateTime and Timedelta objects in Pandas

Date range in Pandas

Making DateTime features in Pandas

The Importance of the Date-Time Component

It’s worth reiterating, dates and times are a treasure trove of information and that is why data scientists love them so much.

Before we dive into the crux of the article, I want you to experience this yourself. Take a look at the date and time right now. Try and imagine all kinds of information that you can extract from it to understand your reading habit. The year, month, day, hour, and minute are the usual suspects.

But if you dig a little further, you can determine whether you prefer reading on weekdays or weekends, whether you are a morning person or a night owl (we are in the same boat here!), or whether you accumulate all the interesting articles to read at the end of the month!

Clearly, the list will go on and you will gradually learn a lot about your reading habits if you repeat this exercise after collecting the data over a period of time, say a month. Now imagine how useful this feature would be in a real-world scenario where information is collected over a long period of time.

Date and time features find importance in data science problems spanning industries from sales, marketing, and finance to HR, e-commerce, retail, and many more. Predicting how the stock markets will behave tomorrow, how many products will be sold in the upcoming week, when is the best time to launch a new product, how long before a position at the company gets filled, etc. are some of the problems that we can find answers to using date and time data.

This incredible amount of insight that you can unravel from the data is what makes date and time components so fun to work with! So let’s get down to the business of mastering date-time manipulation in Python.

Working with Dates in Python

The date class in the DateTime module of Python deals with dates in the Gregorian calendar. It accepts three integer arguments: year, month, and day. Let’s have a look at how it’s done:

You can see how easy it was to create a date object of datetime class. And it’s even easier to extract features like day, month, and year from the date. This can be done using the day, month, and year attributes. We will see how to do that on the current local day date object that we will create using the today() function:

Python Code:



Working with Time in Python

time is another class of the DateTime module that accepts integer arguments for time up to microseconds and returns a DateTime object:

You can extract features like hour, minute, second, and microsecond from the time object using the respective attributes. Here is an example:

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more we can do with DateTime features in Python and that’s what we’ll look at in the next section.

DateTime in Python

So far, we have seen how to create a date and a time object using the DateTime module. But the beauty of the DateTime module is that it lets you dovetail both the properties into a single object, DateTime!

datetime is a class and an object in Python’s DateTime module, just like date and time. The arguments are a combination of date and time attributes, starting from the year and ending in microseconds.

So, let’s see how you can create a DateTime object:

Or you could even create an object on the local date and time using the now() method:

You can go on and extract whichever value you want to from the DateTime object using the same attributes we used with the date and time objects individually.

Next, let’s look at some of the methods in the DateTime class.

Updating old Dates

First, we’ll see how to separate date and time from the DateTime object using the date() and time() methods. But you could also replace a value in the DateTime objects without having to change the entire date using the replace() method:

Weekday from DateTime

One really cool thing that you can do with the DateTime function is to extract the day of the week! This is especially helpful in feature engineering because the value of the target variable can be dependent on the day of the week, like sales of a product are generally higher on a weekend or traffic on StackOverflow could be higher on a weekday when people are working, etc.

The weekday() method returns an integer value for the day of the week, where Monday is 0 and Sunday is 6. But if you wanted it to return the weekday value between 1 and 7, like in a real-world scenario, you should use isoweekday():

What Week is it?

Alright, you know the day of the week, but do you know what week of the year is it? This is another very important feature that you can generate from the given date in a dataset.

Sometimes the value of the target variable might be higher during certain times of the year. For example, the sales of products on e-commerce websites are generally higher during vacations.

You can get the week of the year by slicing the value returned by the isocalendar() method:

Leap Year or Not? Use Calendar!

Want to check whether it is a leap year or not? You will need to use the isleap() method from the calendar module and pass the year as an attribute:

View the code on Gist.

Congratulations – you are living in a leap year! What did you do with the extra day? Oh, you missed it? Don’t worry! Just take a day this month and do the stuff that you love! But where are you going? You got your calendar right here!

Not free this month? You can have a look at the entire calendar for the year:

Pretty cool, right? Plan your year wisely and take out some time to do the things you love!

DateTime Formats

The Datetime module lets you interchange the format of DateTime between a few options.

First up is the ISO format. If you wanted to create a DateTime object from the string form of the date in ISO format, use the fromisoformat() method. And if you intended to do the reverse, use the isoformat() method:

If you wanted to convert DateTime into a string format, you could use the ctime() method. This returns the date in a string format. And if you wanted to extract just the date from that, well, you would have to use slicing:

And if none of these functions strike your fancy, you could use the format() method which lets you define your own format:

Wait – what are these arguments I passed to the function? These are called formatted string codes and we will look at them in detail in the next section.

Advanced DateTime Formatting with Strptime & Strftime

These functions are very important as they let you define the format of the DateTime object explicitly. This can give you a lot of flexibility with handling DateTime features.

strptime() creates a DateTime object from a string representing date and time. It takes two arguments: the date and the format in which your date is present. Have a look below:

You define the format using the formatting codes as I did above. There are a number of formatting codes and you can have a look at them in the documentation.

The stftime() method, on the other hand, can be used to convert the DateTime object into a string representing date and time:

But you can also extract some important information from the DateTime object like weekday name, month name, week number, etc. which can turn out to be very useful in terms of features as we saw in previous sections.

Timedelta

So far, we have seen how to create a DateTime object and how to format it. But sometimes, you might have to find the duration between two dates, which can be another very useful feature that you can derive from a dataset. This duration is, however, returned as a timedelta object.

As you can see, the duration is returned as the number of days for the date and seconds for the time between the dates. So you can actually retrieve these values for your features:

View the code on Gist.

But what if you actually wanted the duration in hours or minutes? Well, there is a simple solution for that.

timedelta is also a class in the DateTime module. So, you could use it to convert your duration into hours and minutes as I’ve done below:

Now, what if you wanted to get the date 5 days from today? Do you simply add 5 to the present date?

Not quite. So how do you go about it then? You use timedelta of course!

timedelta makes it possible to add and subtract integers from a DateTime object.

DateTime in Pandas

We already know that Pandas is a great library for doing data analysis tasks. And so it goes without saying that Pandas also supports Python DateTime objects. It has some great methods for handling dates and times, such as to_datetime() and to_timedelta().

DateTime and Timedelta objects in Pandas

The to_datetime() method converts the date and time in string format to a DateTime object:

You might have noticed something strange here. The type of the object returned by to_datetime() is not DateTime but Timestamp. Well, don’t worry, it is just the Pandas equivalent of Python’s DateTime.

We already know that timedelta gives differences in times. The Pandas to_timedelta() method does just this:

Here, the unit determines the unit of the argument, whether that’s day, month, year, hours, etc.

Date Range in Pandas

To make the creation of date sequences a convenient task, Pandas provides the date_range() method. It accepts a start date, an end date, and an optional frequency code:

Instead of defining the end date, you could define the period or number of time periods you want to generate:

Making DateTime Features in Pandas

Let’s also create a series of end dates and make a dummy dataset from which we can derive some new features and bring our learning about DateTime to fruition.

View the code on Gist.

Perfect! So we have a dataset containing start date, end date, and a target variable:

We can create multiple new features from the date column, like the day, month, year, hour, minute, etc. using the dt attribute as shown below:

Our duration feature is great, but what if we would like to have the duration in minutes or seconds? Remember how in the timedelta section we converted the date to seconds? We could do the same here!

Great! Can you see how many new features we created from just the dates?

Now, let’s make the start date the index of the DataFrame. This will help us easily analyze our dataset because we can use slicing to find data representing our desired dates:

Awesome! This is super useful when you want to do visualizations or any data analysis.

End Notes

I hope you found this article on how to manipulate date and time features with Python and Pandas useful. But nothing is complete without practice. Working with time series datasets is a wonderful way to practice what we have learned in this article.

I recommend taking part in a time series hackathon on the DataHack platform. You might want to go through this and this article first in order to gear up for that hackathon.

Related

Productivity Tools You Should Know

Being productive is vital, and everyone is constantly striving towards being more productive. People prefer more things to be done with less effort. However in this era of more distractions in the personal and digital space, staying productive is very important. It takes more than individual efforts to stay productive, thus productivity tools are required.

What Are Productivity Tools?

Productivity is the measure of the efficiency of a person on a particular work. Productivity tools are electronic tools designed in order to simplify tasks, and streamline workflow. It often includes features to access documents easily, create charts and graphs to visualize the project plan, and progress and collaborate with other people.

Productivity Tools ProofHub

The proof hub is a comprehensive project management tool that is used to keep things organized and enhance accountability for effective communication. It delegates tasks, organizes workflow and helps to track the amount of time spent on a project.

nTask

It is important to stay productive when working on big projects. nTask helps you to keep track of every small detail of the project to stay ahead by saving time and sorting out problems. It is a great tool for team collaboration, listing things, and integrating time-tracking tools along with worksheets of employees.

Calendar

The AI-enabled calendar helps to plan and organize events based on your schedule. It integrated various digital calendars such as Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook. It can also be shared with other team members.

Slack

Slack is one of the most popular and widely used team collaboration software for team communications. Besides its chat and communication features, it can be used to track documents, share files and helps to manage tasks and meetings. It also supports everyday apps like Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.

Google Docs

Google Docs is the most famous and widely used document storage and task management software to create, access, edit and collaborate from anywhere from their phone, tablet or computer.

Skype

Skype is one of the most widely used communication software across the world. It is used for connecting with people from any part of the world via mobile, PC, Xbox and Alexa. It offers messaging, HD voice and video calls to facilitate meetings, group discussions, etc.

Zoom

It is a cloud-based video conferencing platform which has the capability to connect more than 500 people at the same time. It is widely used for video conferencing, meetings, webinars and live chat. People can connect through zoom from any remote location with the help of the internet. One can schedule meetings, set the remainder of those meetings, share screens, chat, record meetings, etc.

Toggl Track

Toggl Track is a time-tracking app which is used to track day-to-day activities across multiple platforms. It provides detailed insights and opportunities to optimize the workflow by sorting out areas that need improvement or change. It is available in web applications, desktop apps, browser extensions and mobile applications.

Gantt Pro

Gantt Pro is an online software with a Gantt chart that is used to keep track of the work of all members of a team. It is extremely helpful for task management, deadline management, exporting and sharing files via public URLs, etc.

Hubspot’s Marketing Hub

It is one of the best software for team collaborations. It helps to launch, manage and maintain promotional strategies and campaigns. Some of the key features of this tool include a contact database, contact management, and sync data across various teams such as marketing, customer service and sales.

Microsoft Outlook Fiverr

Fiverr is the world’s largest cloud-based digital service platform for freelance businesses. It is a place to connect with a large number of buyers and sellers all across the world. It is designed to streamline the time and expense tracking process involving tools such as invoicing, contract creation, time tracking, expense tracking, payments, etc.

SaneBox

SaneBox is an email management tool that separates emails based on priority levels. It sends important emails directly to the user’s inbox and less important mail or spam to the Sane later folder to look back on when free. It saves time and effort thereby increasing productivity.

Paymo

Paymo is a project management software, which has primary project management features such as task management, scheduling, cost estimations, time tracking, invoicing, etc. It allows the team to organize and combine multiple data such as reports, timesheets and schedules in one place to access easily.

Grammarly

Grammarly is a writing tool to check grammar, spelling, plagiarism and more in real-time. It makes editing easier and error-free on a real-time basis. It also suggests words that can be used as an alternative for easy understanding. Grammarly is available as an app or an extension for browsers and can be used across different platforms including Microsoft Word, WordPress, Email, etc.

Conclusion

What Is Cda Section 230 And Why You Should Know About It

If you’ve been following the news in the United States for the last year, there’s been a major hubbub about something called “Section 230,” and although everyone seems to have an opinion on it, there’s very little discussion of the context in which the law came about or what it actually does.

For the most part, the debate revolved around whether social media companies like Twitter and Facebook are abiding by the law or whether the law should be adjusted to fit inside the context of current times with the power these companies have to direct the discussions of their users.

To fully understand why Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 is such a big deal, it’s important to explore what it is, what it discusses, and why it came into being in the first place.

Going Back to 1934

Franklin D. Roosevelt had been president for just over a year when he was attempting to find a way to untangle the bureaucracy that regulates radio communication in a way that streamlines everything into one single commission. Not long after this initiative was pushed into Congress, he signed the Communications Act of 1934, eliminating the old bureaucracies and establishing the Federal Communications Commission.

The purpose of all of this, according to the act, is for “regulating interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire and radio” to make rules that are clear and easy to understand, coming from one single governing body.

Since that moment, the FCC has been the go-to enforcer and regulator for radio, television, and even the Internet.

That last one, however, doesn’t rely on the typical broadcast style we associate with the other two. This became a problem even in the early 90s when the Internet was still in its infancy. Given how differently the Internet operates – allowing almost anyone to have their own soapbox and democratizing the flow of information – one couldn’t just expect the FCC’s operating principles to be compatible or even flexible enough to allow it to thrive.

A change was needed, and it came during the Clinton administration in the form of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

The Birth of Internet Regulation

Although several attempts have been made to regulate the Internet in the U.S., nothing came quite as close as the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Contained within the law was a section known as Title V. Some may know this as the Communications Decency Act.

When it first passed, the CDA was the first major attempt by Congress to limit “obscenity, indecency, or nudity” on all broadcasting methods, including the Internet. This law was eventually struck down by the Supreme Court a year later and revised to remove that particular portion.

Still remaining in the law, however, is an interesting provision known today as the “safe harbor,” or Section 230(c)(2). Under this provision, providers of content on the Internet are allowed to perform “any action […] in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider […] considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harrassing, or otherwise objectionable,” regardless of constitutional provisions concerning freedom of expression.

Where Social Media Comes In

This is the great question being posed by debates that started in 2023, but you may be surprised to find out that it isn’t a new question. In fact, Section 230 was drafted specifically to make a distinction between publishers that curate their content and content distributors (platforms).

In 1997, only a year after the CDA was signed into law, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of AOL when someone attempted to hold the company liable for one of its user’s posts.

This came as a result of the paragraph in Section 230 prior to the one mentioned previously, which states: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.“

In plain English, this means: “If you are a platform and one of your users decides to say something outrageous or (relevant to the AOL case) post libelous information via your service, you’re not legally liable to what that user did.”

Services like Telegram, Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, and many others would be in serious trouble if this weren’t the case. Leaked and libelous information by individuals acting of their own accord go through those services all the time. The story isn’t the same for sites of the New York Times, The Miami Herald, and other newspapers because they’re publishers and therefore expected to curate their content.

The Debate

Here’s where things get pretty messy. We’ve already established that Section 230 was intended to make a distinction between publishers and platforms, but what happens when Twitter decides to heavily punish people who express ideas that are found objectionable by the majority of its user base?

On one hand, the answer is “yes.” The unfortunate truth of the matter is that Section 230 is pretty vague on what platforms are allowed to remove. Using words like “filthy” and “objectionable,” it’s easy to justify the removal of almost anything that isn’t someone talking about the weather on Sunday while still enjoying the safe harbor privileges.

On the other hand, consistent attempts to curate content beyond the social limit of what would be considered “removing vile content in good faith” makes some of these companies behave somewhat like publishers.

In the end, the real question we currently have no clear answer to is, “Do social media companies that curate political speech have the ability under Section 230 to continue to call themselves neutral platforms for their users?”

And if they lose the safe harbor protection, how do we make it so that this legal precedent doesn’t stifle the growth of upstarts that could potentially compete with these larger and more established sites?

What do you think of this? Is this debate worth having? Does CDA Section 230 go far enough to make a proper distinction between publisher and platform? Tell us your thoughts below! Meanwhile, do also check out the GDPR regulation and how it affects you.

Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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