The Supreme Court said Monday it would take up a case that could fundamentally change the way Google and other tech companies are governed by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects them from lawsuits over content created by users.
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In 2015, Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old U.S. citizen studying abroad in France, was murdered by ISIS terrorists who fired into a crowed bistro in Paris. Her family filed suit against Google, arguing that YouTube, which Google owns, aided and abetted the ISIS terrorists by allowing and promoting ISIS material on the platform with algorithms that helped to recruit ISIS radicals.
Lawyers for the Gonzalez family argued in their petition to the High Court that “despite extensive media coverage, complaints, legal warnings, congressional hearings, and other attention for providing online social media platform and communications services to ISIS, prior to the Paris attacks Google continued to provide those resources and services to ISIS and its affiliates, refusing to actively identity ISIS YouTube accounts and only reviewing accounts reported by other YouTube users.”
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Google is arguing that its platforms are protected by the Section 230 portion of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which provides a legal shield to internet companies against lawsuits for “third-party” content posted on their platforms.
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Section 230 has come under scrutiny from both political parties in recent years. Many claim that the growth of Big Tech social platforms makes Section 230 ripe for reform.
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The Supreme Court could hear arguments in the case as early as this fall.
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