The Joys and Dangers of Tweeting: A CDA Immunity Update

29 03 2020

LexBlog
J. Alexander Lawrence
November 12, 2019

A recent decision from a federal court in New York highlights the limits social media users enjoy under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA). The case involves Joy Reid, the popular host of MSNBC’s AM Joy who has more than two million Twitter and Instagram followers, and the interaction between a young Hispanic boy and a “Make America Great Again” (MAGA)–hat wearing woman named Roslyn La Liberte at a Simi Valley, California, City Council meeting.

The case centers on a single re-tweet by Reid and two of her Instagram posts.

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The content in this post was found at https://www.lexblog.com/2019/11/12/the-joys-and-dangers-of-tweeting-a-cda-immunity-update/ Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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Top Internet Law Developments of 2019

27 03 2020

Technology & Marketing Law Blog
Eric Goldman
Jan. 7, 2020

It’s increasingly hard to find good news in Internet law, so I organized this year’s Internet Law roundup by categories of doom. Trigger warning: you should grab some tissues before proceeding.

Doomed (in a Bad Way)

Doomed: User-Generated Content.

Doomed: Print-on-Demand Services.

Doomed: Online Marketplaces.

Doomed: Internet Access Providers.

Doomed: Cybersecurity.

Doomed: Sex Workers and Sex Trafficking Victims.

Doomed: the CCPA. 

Doomed (in a not-terrible sense)

Doomed: “Must-Carry” Obligations for Publishers Who Aren’t State Actors. 

Doomed: the Roommates.com Section 230 Exception.

Doomed: Cases Against Social Media Services for Terrorist Content.

Doomed: the Liebowitz Copyright Litigation Machine.

Doomed: Politicians Banning Constituents on Social Media. T

Other

Online Political Content and Ads.

hiQ v. LinkedIn.

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The content in this post was found at https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2020/01/top-internet-law-developments-of-2019.htm Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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Google Search Qualifies For Section 230, Whether or Not It’s a “Platform”–Chukwurah v. Google

26 03 2020

Technology & Marketing Law Blog
Eric Goldman
February 4, 2020

This is a prisoner pro se lawsuit. “The Complaint avers that beginning February 28, 2014, Google identified Chukwurah as a ‘a triple murderer serving 50 years in a Maryland,’” allegedly because of false court documentation. The court explains:

the Court, at best, may plausibly infer that Google amounted to the search engine which linked Chukwurah’s name to content created and published by the Circuit Court. Even Chukwurah concedes that Google “is a search engine who didn’t start this defamation.” Thus, the CDA precludes the common law defamation claims against Google as a third-party interactive computer service provider…

Chukwurah, in response, seems to argue that the CDA does not bar his claims because Google created the platform that “enabled the defamation of [his] name in a demonizing manner [g]lobally.” But this is precisely the service provider’s role that the CDA aims to protect. Where, as here, a lawsuit seeks to hold the provider liable for decisions about posting content created by a third party, the CDA precludes the claim against that provider.

The court deftly sidesteps the platform vs. publisher dichotomy, which makes sense because that dichotomy is asinine and incoherent. As the court succinctly says, Section 230 immunizes lawsuits that seek to “hold the provider liable for decisions about posting content created by a third party.” Call it a platform or a publisher; it doesn’t matter. The result is the same either way: Section 230 preempts the claim.

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The content in this post was found at https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2020/02/google-search-qualifies-for-section-230-whether-or-not-its-a-platform-chukwurah-v-google.htm Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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Why Section 230 Matters And How Not To Break The Internet; DOJ 230 Workshop Review, Part I

23 03 2020

Tech Dirt
Berin Szoka, Ashkhen Kazaryan, and Jess Miers
Feb, 21, 2020

The Department of Justice held a workshop Wednesday: Section 230 – Nurturing Innovation or Fostering Unaccountability? (archived video and agenda). This was perhaps the most official “Airing of Grievances” we’ve had yet about Section 230. It signals that the Trump administration has declared war on the law that made the Internet possible.

In a blistering speech, Trump’s embattled Attorney General, Bill Barr, blamed the 1996 law for a host of ills, especially the spread of child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

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The content in this post was found at https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200221/11290843961/why-section-230-matters-how-not-to-break-internet-doj-230-workshop-review-part-i.shtml Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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Court To Racist Douchebags: It’s Not Defamatory For A Newspaper To Call You ‘Racist Douchebags’

21 03 2020

Tech Dirt
Tim Cushing
Nov 15th 2019

When is it defamatory to call people “racist douchebags?” Well, let’s start with the “douchebag” part. This is always a statement of opinion and never actionable. . .

Calling someone a racist is almost always a statement of opinion. Unlike calling someone a felon or a child molester, claims of racism are based on perception. This makes them closer to a statement of opinion than an actionable fact.

So, calling people “racist douchebags” isn’t defamatory.

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The content in this post was found at https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20191110/13531143357/court-to-racist-douchebags-not-defamatory-newspaper-to-call-you-racist-douchebags.shtml Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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CDA Section 230 Immunizes Platform From Liability for Friend and Content Suggestion Algorithms

9 09 2019

J. Alexander Lawrence on
LexBlog
September 5, 2019
A recent Second Circuit decision makes clear that the safe harbor that social media and other Internet companies enjoy under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act broadly applies to a wide variety of claims.

When you think about the Section 230 safe harbor, don’t just think defamation or other similar state law claims. Consider whether the claim—be it federal, state, local, or foreign—seeks to hold a party that publishes third-party content on the Internet responsible for publishing the content. If, after stripping it all down, this is the crux of the cause of action, the safe harbor should apply (absent a few statutory exclusions discussed below). The safe harbor should apply even if the party uses its discretion as a publisher in deciding how best to target its audience or to display the information provided by third parties.

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The content in this post was found at https://www.lexblog.com/2019/09/05/safe-harbor-in-section-230-of-the-communications-decency-act-applies-to-wide-variety-of-claims https://www.lexblog.com/2019/09/05/safe-harbor-in-section-230-of-the-communications-decency-act-applies-to-wide-variety-of-claimsClicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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Section 230 Applies to Facebook’s Post Removals and Account Suspensions–King v. Facebook

9 09 2019

Eric Goldman
Technology & Marketing Law Blog
September 6, 2019

The court summarizes the facts:

King alleges Facebook removed multiple posts by him, and temporarily suspended his Facebook access on several occasions in 2018, for posts that Facebook deemed a violation of its terms of service (“ToS”). The crux of his claim is that Facebook has violated its ToS in removing his posts and suspending his account, and that Facebook treats black activists and their posts differently than it does other groups, particularly white supremacists and certain “hate groups.”

This is an easy Section 230 dismissal:

  • ICS Provider: King admitted.
  • Publisher/Speaker claims: Yes, because each claim “is based on Facebook’s provision of the service for use by others or its moderator decisions on which posts to remove or not and which accounts to suspend or not” (cites to Brittain v. Twitter and Fields v. Twitter)
  • Third-party content: “all of King’s allegations rest on treatment of speakers (who make posts or otherwise provide content) and differential treatment of specific posts made either by himself or by other Facebook users”

Case citation: King v. Facebook, Inc., 3:19-cv-01987-WHO (N.D. Cal. Sept. 5, 2019)

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The content in this post was found at https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2019/09/section-230-applies-to-facebooks-post-removals-and-account-suspensions-king-v-facebook.htm Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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Celebrity Entertainer Sues Over Video Game Avatar

23 08 2019
Robert Hough
LexBlog
August 22, 2019
As real-world celebrities continue to expand the reach of their persona into the digital realm, the potential benefit for advertisers, game developers and esports event promoters is exceedingly high. But with increased opportunity comes increased risk.A New York Supreme Court recently addressed this risk when it construed the State’s right of publicity statute[1] in a dispute over an NBA 2K18 video game avatar. In Champion v. Take Two Interactive Software, Inc., celebrity basketball entertainer Phillip “Hot Sauce” Champion sued the video game developer, alleging violation of his right to privacy for Take-Two’s use of his name and likeness. The Court ultimately dismissed the lawsuit, but not before it provided a helpful discussion of New York’s publicity statute and its modern application to the esports industry.

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Court Says Section 230 Shields Twitter From Revenge Porn Bro’s Stupid Lawsuit

16 07 2019

Tim Cushing
Tech Dirt
June 13, 2019
Former revenge porn extortionist and current pro se litigant, Craig Brittain, is one severely-narrowed complaint away from having his lawsuit against Twitter tossed. Brittain sued Twitter over the deletion of several accounts, including those he had whipped up for his Senate run.

The court’s first pass at the lawsuit moved it to California, a venue shift Brittain explicitly agreed to each time he created another alt account. Terms of service say suing Twitter means suing in California, even if you’re an Arizonan Senate hopeful with a closet that contains nothing but skeletons.

Contrary to Brittain’s fervent and litigious belief, there’s nothing illegal about deleting Craig Brittain’s multiple Twitter accounts. Brittain’s lawsuit tried to make it possible by treating Twitter as both a provider and a publisher, depending of which description worked out better for his arguments. The court decides to let Brittain have it both ways — and lose both ways. (h/t Adam Steinbaugh)

As a service provider, Twitter cannot be held liable for third party content. It can also remove accounts without losing this immunity. Since this isn’t about the removal of content, but rather the removal of accounts, Brittain tried to argue Section 230 immunity can’t protect Twitter from this lawsuit because removing accounts (and their content) is an editorial activity. The court points out this has zero effect on Section 230 protections. From the decision [PDF]:

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The content in this post was found at https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190612/19144342387/court-says-section-230-shields-twitter-revenge-porn-bros-stupid-lawsuit.shtml Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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Section 230 Protects Snapchat from Liability for Cyberbullying–Grossman v. Rockaway Township

4 07 2019

Eric Goldman
Technology & Marketing Law Blog
July 1, 2019

This case involves the heartbreaking suicide of 12 year old Mallory Grossman, driven by offline and online peer bullying that included mean Snapchat messages. (Note: the opinion refers to Mallory as “MG,” but poor redactions reveal her name in the opinion; and her story has been extensively covered by name in New Jersey papers and a newly passed NJ anti-bullying law is named after her). The parents sued the school district and Snapchat. The procedural facts aren’t clearly laid out, but it appears the school district piggybacked on the parents’ claims against Snapchat, essentially pointing at Snapchat as the real wrongdoer instead of itself.

This devolves into a fairly straightforward Section 230 defense win, aided by defense-friendly NJ-area precedents such as Donato v. Moldow, DiMeo v. Max, Obado v. Magedson, and Parker v. Google, Reviewing the applicable complaints, the court says:

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Case citation: Grossman v. Rockaway Twp., 2019 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1496  (N.J. Superior Ct. June 10, 2019). The initial complaint.

The content in this post was found at https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2019/07/section-230-protects-snapchat-from-liability-for-cyberbullying-driven-grossman-v-rockaway-township.htm Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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