The Supreme Court has decided in the context of national security to consider the parameters of, and possible limits to, “Section 230“ liability protections for social media companies. Specifically, the court in Gonzalez v. Google will consider whether Google, through its YouTube service, should be held responsible for “aiding and abetting“ terrorism because its algorithm recommended a terrorist group’s videos to other users. The court also agreed to hear a related case involving Google, Twitter and Facebook in which posts allegedly played a role in another terrorist attack.
Section 230 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 immunizes social media companies from liability for what third parties post to their websites and online platforms. Section 230, sometimes called the 26 words that created the Internet, states “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 also protects social media companies from actions taken in good faith to take down or limit the availability of material they find objectionable.