AS – On Tuesday, the US Supreme Court heard a case that could impact the legal shield protecting social media firms. The case involves Google, who is being accused by the family of Nohemi Gonzalez of aiding and abetting the terrorist group who killed her in Paris in 2015 by recommending their videos to users.
Google argues that it is not liable and cites Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects internet companies from being held responsible for content posted by third parties on their platforms.
Justices expressed concern that a ruling against Google could lead to a deluge of litigation against tech companies, noting that the internet’s landscape has changed vastly since the law was enacted 27 years ago.
Justice Elena Kagan, who is a liberal member of the US Supreme Court, expressed her concerns over a world filled with lawsuits, saying, “Really anytime you have content, you also have these presentational and prioritisation choices that can be subject to suit.” During the court hearing, two other justices, conservative Samuel Alito and liberal Ketanji Brown Jackson, admitted being confused by the arguments made by counsel for the Gonzalez family.
Conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh expressed concerns that limiting the legal shield for internet firms could cause significant damage to the digital economy. The family of Nohemi Gonzalez first sued Google in 2016, accusing the tech giant of violating federal anti-terrorism laws by recommending Islamic State videos to its users.
Two lower courts have previously ruled in Google’s favour, citing protection under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The Supreme Court is expected to release a verdict on the case by the end of June.
Another similar case on whether Twitter aided terrorism by allowing the Islamic State to use its platform will be heard on Wednesday.
In a case that could reshape the internet, the US Supreme Court is hearing arguments between the family of Nohemi Gonzalez, who was killed in the Paris terror attacks in 2015, and YouTube owner Google.
The Gonzalez family accuses Google of aiding and abetting the terrorist group by recommending its videos to users. Google argues it is not liable, citing a decades-old law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects internet companies from being held responsible over content posted by third parties on their platforms.
The statute, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, permits internet companies to take down content that violates their rules. The current case before the Supreme Court is the first instance where the Court has been called upon to define the boundaries of Section 230 and decide whether platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter have legal protection when their algorithms guide users towards certain information.
The justices expressed concern about opening the door to a deluge of litigation against tech companies and questioned whether a ruling to limit the legal shield for internet firms would crash the digital economy. Two lower courts have found in favor of Google, ruling the tech giant was protected under Section 230.
The Supreme Court is anticipated to make a ruling on the case before the end of June.