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A week after Google filed a defense brief to the US Supreme Court, warning that altering Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) would “upend the internet,” a number of corporations —including Twitter, Meta and Microsoft, have filed their own legal briefs — supporting Google’s argument that narrowing the statute could have dire consequences for digital publishers.

Under the 1996 CDA statute, companies are protected against liability for user content, including comments, reviews and advertisements. However, the Supreme Court has been asked to consider whether Section 230 is still relevant and appropriate, given that it was enacted before the internet became such an integral part of daily life.

The statute came under scrutiny after a lawsuit was brought by the family of Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old US citizen who was killed by ISIS in Paris in November 2015. Gonzalez’s family argues that that algorithms should be considered editorial content that is not protected against liability Section 230, and so Google-owned YouTube violated the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) when its algorithms recommended ISIS-related content to users.

The Surpeme Court is set to hear oral arguments in the case on February 21.

Lawmakers criticize Section 230 protections for social media

Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike have criticized the statute’s protections. Republicans say the liability protections allow social media sites to make biased decisions on content removal, while Democrats want sites to take more responsibility for content moderation. US President Joe Biden has said his administration would support the position that Section 230 protections should not extend to recommendation algorithms.

In its January 19 filing, Microsoft argued that if the Supreme Court was to make changes to Section 230, it would “strip these digital publishing decisions of long-standing, critical protection from suit—and it would do so in illogical ways that are inconsistent with how algorithms actually work.”

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.


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#Big #tech #backs #Google #defending #internet #liability #protections

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