On October 3, 2022, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in Gonzalez v. Google LLC, No. 21-1333, to address the scope of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The Court will consider whether Section 230(c)(1) immunizes website operators and other online service providers when they use algorithms to recommend content to users, specifically terrorism-related videos posted on YouTube by other users of the video-sharing service.
Section 230(c)(1) is famously concise, having been referred to as the “the twenty-six words that created the internet.” It says simply “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.” Since its passage over 25 years ago, courts across the country have often construed the law to provide broad immunity to online service providers that host user-generated content. Section 230 has facilitated the growth of the modern interactive Web, by protecting companies that host user-generated content from potential liability. But the law has come under intense scrutiny in recent years, with both courts and legislatures chipping away at this important safe harbor.
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