Big win for Facebook, Google

US Internet companies have just won a big victory when a court ruled that online platforms are not liable for user statements.

On May 18, rulings related to two lawsuits that are considered to be able to reshape the Internet were issued. Accordingly, the US Supreme Court said it would not change Article 230 of the US Communications Standards Act - a shield that protects companies like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube. By law, websites or content hosting services are not responsible or subject to legal trouble with information posted by users, such as comments in news sites, video services, social networks.

Previously, two lawsuits against Google and Twitter attracted great attention from technology circles, users and lawmakers. The first lawsuit is that of the family of Nohemi Gonzalez, killed in an ISIS attack in Paris in 2015. They sued YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and several social networks for suggesting terrorist videos on the platform. The second lawsuit is filed by the family of Nawras Alassaf, who died in an ISIS attack in Istanbul in 2017. Their family sued Twitter and several platforms for allowing terrorist groups' content to be displayed instead. for restricting them as the policy has put in place.

Logos of social networks and the headquarters of the US Supreme Court. Photo: FT

At the end of February, the US Supreme Court began hearings related to two lawsuits. At that time, analysts believed that the two trials above could cause Article 230 to be amended, thereby drastically changing the Internet environment.

However, the May 18 ruling was in favor of Silicon Valley tech firms. In the Gonzalez case, the court said it "refused to process the application" because of Article 230 of the Act, which protects platforms from user speech and also allows services to moderate or remove posts. The judge found that the complaint did not provide a convincing argument for the claim. The Supreme Court will return the case to a lower court for review.

Similar to the Twitter case, Judge Clarence Thomas said it was inappropriate to accuse the social network of abetting terrorism. "According to the plaintiffs, the social network was designed without a powerful enough tool to remove terrorism from its platforms and content related to ISIS. However, the plaintiffs failed to provide any evidence. significantly indicates that social media was intentionally involved in the attack, much less can it be held that social networks are responsible for every terrorist attack," Thomas ruled.

Although the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of social networks, many members of Congress still want to change this legal shield. Lawmakers see Article 230 as unnecessary protection for a large industry. Meanwhile, advocates say the law is also protecting smaller social networks from costly lawsuits.

"This decision to uphold the law is a clear victory for censorship of online content and speech," said Jess Miers, legal counsel at Meta and the Google-backed Chamber of Progress.

Chris Marchese, the director of NetChoice's litigation center, which includes members like Google, Meta, Twitter and TikTok, said it was Article 230 that made the Internet what it is today. "The Supreme Court's decision is a crushing victory for freedom of expression on the Internet," CNBC quoted NetChoice as saying.

Operate and exploit advertising by iCOMM Vietnam Media and Technology Joint Stock Company.
116 Thai Ha, Trung Liet Ward, Dong Da District, Hanoi.
Editor in chief: Tran Vo
Tel: (+84) 903076053/7 Fax: (+84) 903030935

Responsible agency: Union of Science and High-Tech Production and Telecommunications (HTI)y
Copyright © 2022 iCOMM Tech JSC