Supreme Court Takes Up Challenge to Section 230 Liability Protections for Tech Companies

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a case that will test Section 230 protections from liability for tech companies, The Washington Post reports.

Section 230 shields social media companies from liability for content posted by users as long as the platforms make good faith efforts to moderate content.

The law has been around since 1996 but former President Donald Trump and his allies have cited the law while accusing tech companies for “censoring” conservatives.

But the law has drawn objections from both sides of the aisle, including President Joe Biden.

“The entire scope of Section 230 could be at stake, depending on what the Supreme Court wants to do,” Jeff Kosseff, a cybersecurity law professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, told the Post.


The court agreed to take on a case involving the family of Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old US citizen killed by ISIS in Paris.

The family sued Google, accusing YouTube’s parent company of providing a platform for terrorist content and recommending that content to users.

The lawsuit alleged that YouTube’s algorithm allowed “hundreds of radicalizing videos inciting violence and recruiting potential supporters” to show up in users’ recommendations.

A judge dismissed the case and the family appealed to the Supreme Court.

Second case:

The Supreme Court also agreed to take up Twitter v. Taamneh, which could determine whether tech platforms can be sued for aiding and abetting terrorist attacks by hosting content that expresses support for violence.

The lawsuit rests on whether hosting pro-ISIS content may constitute “knowing” and “substantial assistance” to the group in violation of federal law.

“A ruling against Twitter could mean that tech platforms may not cite Section 230 to avoid lawsuits alleging violations of the US Anti-Terrorism Act, effectively circumscribing the liability shield,” CNN reported. “Conversely, a ruling in Twitter’s favor could potentially uphold Section 230’s broad scope by overturning a lower-court ruling that found tech platforms can be held liable under the Anti-Terrorism Act.”


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