Web sites, social networks and other interactive service providers facilitate the display and exchange of a staggering amount of user-generated information, much of it idle chatter, meaningful commentary and helpful information, though some of it defamatory and offensive speech. Without certain protections, a site owner could face liability, and such a threat conceivably would have a chilling effect on the vibrant exchange of ideas on the Web. As such, over a decade ago, Congress enacted Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which effectively immunized qualifying service providers from most tort liability for publishing third-party content.

This article will discuss CDA immunity generally and the broad interpretation afforded by the majority of courts, certain limitations to immunity and some practical guidelines for providers to stay within the CDA’s protections.

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