Internet intermediaries are the private corporations providing services on the internet through hosting, transmitting, giving access to and indexing internet content. Examples of intermediaries are internet service providers, web site hosts, search engines and social network providers.
In recent years states have begun relying on these intermediaries to conduct filtering of online content and monitoring of users’ activities. By holding intermediaries liable for third party content, such as defamation or media piracy, states encourage them to censor all but the most mainstream content. The result is typically excessive filtering and a chilling effect on free speech.