The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Twitter with a wide impact on the Internet | CNN Business
A day after Supreme Court justices debated whether Google and its YouTube subsidiary should be held responsible for how its algorithm organizes ISIS content, the Court is poised to address questions about the legal exposure of the technology platforms to user content in a case of Twitter.
On Wednesday, the Court will know Twitter v. Taamneh, which will decide whether social media companies can be sued for aiding and abetting a specific act of international terrorism when the platforms have hosted user content expressing general support for the group behind the violence without referring to the specific terrorist act in question.
The plaintiffs in the case – the family of Nawras Alassaf, who was killed in an ISIS attack in Istanbul in 2017 – have alleged that social media companies, including Twitter, had knowingly aided IS in violation of the US anti-terrorism law by allowing some of the group’s content. to persist on their platforms despite policies aimed at limiting this type of content.
Twitter has said that ISIS’s use of the company’s platform to promote itself does not constitute Twitter’s “knowing” assistance to the terrorist group, and that under no circumstances can the company be held liable under the law counterterrorism because the content at issue in the case was not specific to the attack that killed Alassaf. The Biden administration, in its writing, has agreed with this view.
The closely watched cases of Twitter and Google carry important stakes for the Internet at large. An expansion of the legal risk for apps and websites to host or promote content could lead to major changes for sites like Facebook, Wikipedia, and YouTube, to name a few.
At the heart of the legal battle is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a nearly 30-year-old federal law that courts have repeatedly said provides broad protection to technology platforms, but which has since has come under scrutiny along with growing criticism of Big Tech content. moderation decisions.
Twitter had previously argued that it was immune from the lawsuit thanks to Section 230.
Other tech platforms such as Meta and Google have argued in the Twitter case that if the Court finds that tech companies cannot be sued under US anti-terrorism law, at least under these circumstances, it would avoid a Section 230 debate in both cases , because the claims in question would be rejected.
On Tuesday, the Court heard oral arguments in a case known as Gonzalez v. Google, which focuses on whether the technology giant can be sued because of the algorithmic promotion of terrorist videos from its subsidiary YouTube on its platform.
According to the plaintiffs in the case, the family of Nohemi Gonzalez, who was killed in a 2015 ISIS attack in Paris, YouTube’s targeted recommendations violated a US anti-terrorism law by helping to radicalize viewers and promote the view of ISIS world. The pleading seeks to craft content recommendations so that they do not receive section 230 protections
However, Supreme Court justices appeared broadly concerned on Tuesday about the potential unintended consequences of allowing websites to be sued for their automatic recommendations of user content. A big concern of the courts seems to be the waves of lawsuits that could happen if the court rules against Google.
“The lawsuits will be nonstop,” Judge Brett Kavanaugh said at one point. Justice Elena Kagan echoed the concern: “You’re creating a world of lawsuits.”