It has always been that way since 1996 when the Section 230 law was passed to protect internet companies from being sued for what their platform users publish or portray using their medium(s).
Well, the Section 230 law is about to be revisited as the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear a challenge to its regards. As expected, the new has thrown several speculations and many people are dropping in their opinions.
- The Section 230 law protects internet companies from liability for user content on their platforms.
- The U.S. Supreme court agrees to hear a challenge regarding the Section 230 law
What’s The Section 230 Law?
“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.”
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 provides immunity to online platforms (websites, forums, and digital communities) from civil liability for what is being shared by the platform users. The exemption is based on the platform providing third-party consent notifications to the users.
In literal terms, it means that Twitter as a company cannot be held responsible for users’ tweets. Similarly, it means Facebook cannot be held responsible for what its users share on the platform. This law has been in place since 1996; however, in recent news shared on the USA Today website, the U.S. Supreme Court is looking to hear a challenge that is poised to hold online companies responsible for what’s shared on their platforms.
U.S. Supreme Court To Hear Challenge To Section 230 Law
USA Today reports that on Monday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to the sweeping legal immunity that shields internet companies from lawsuits over user-generated content, a case with potentially enormous consequences for social media.
The 1996 Communications Decency Act (Section 230) also protects internet companies from lawsuits for removing content that violates their policies.
Well, both Democrats and Republicans have criticized this act, saying it makes social media companies (and other internet companies) “too powerful.” Some real-life cases that led to the Section 230 law challenge include the killing of Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old U.S. citizen, who was killed in an Islamic State group attack in Paris in 2015. Gonzalez’s family sued Google, alleging it was partly responsible because it promoted videos and other content that propagated the group’s message. The main question here is, is Google entitled to Section 230 protections when it recommends content to other users, even when that process is handled by an algorithm?
What Happens Next?
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday granted a separate but related case about whether Twitter, Google, and Facebook could be held liable under the Anti-Terrorism Act for “aiding and abetting” the Islamic State group. The case, however, doesn’t directly involve questions about protection from liability under Section 230.
Reference: USA Today