A Case Where The Courts Got Section 230 Right Because It Turns Out Section 230 Is Not Really All That Hard

2 06 2021

Tech Dirt
Cathy Gellis
Jul 21st 2020

Having just criticized the Second Circuit for getting Section 230 (among other things) very wrong, it’s worth pointing out an occasion where it got it very right. The decision in Force v. Facebook [ed: a case about using social media to encourage terrorism] came out last year, but the Supreme Court recently denied any further review, so it’s still ripe to talk about how this case could, and should, bear on future Section 230 litigation.

It is a notable decision, not just in terms of its result upholding Section 230 but in how it cut through much of the confusion that tends to plague discussion regarding Section 230. It brought the focus back to the essential question at the heart of the statute: who imbued the content at issue with its allegedly wrongful quality? That question is really is the only thing that matters when it comes to figuring out whether Section 230 applies.

This case was one of the many seeking to hold social media platforms liable for terrorists using them. None of them have succeeded, although for varying reasons. For instance, in Fields v. Twitter, in which we wrote an amicus brief, the claims failed but not for Section 230 reasons. In this case, however, the dismissal of the complaint was upheld on Section 230 grounds.

The plaintiffs put forth several theories about why Facebook should not have been protected by Section 230. Most of them tried to construe Facebook as the information content provider of the terrorists’ content, and thus not entitled to the immunity. But the Second Circuit rejected them all.

Ultimately the statute is simple: whoever created the wrongful content is responsible for it, not the party who simply enabled its expression. The only question is who created the wrongful content, and per the court, “[A] defendant will not be considered to have developed third-party content unless the defendant directly and ‘materially’ contributed to what made the content itself ‘unlawful.'” [p. 68].


The content in this post was found at https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200720/09205544934/case-where-courts-got-section-230-right-because-it-turns-out-section-230-is-not-really-all-that-hard.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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Another Court Rejects Turo’s Eligibility for Section 230–Turo v. Los Angeles

23 05 2021

Technology & Marketing Law Blog
Eric Goldman
June 24, 2020

As I previously blogged:

Turo is a peer-to-peer marketplace for car rentals. “Colloquially put, Turo is the ‘Airbnb’ of private motor vehicles.” Though Turo doesn’t dictate where the buyer and seller exchange the car, Turo facilitates matches at airports, either by the seller leaving the car in the parking garage or doing curbside delivery.

The last time I blogged about Turo, Logan Airport in Boston successfully shut them down despite Turo’s invocation of Section 230 to strike down the airport’s regulations. In the latest ruling, LAX Airport similarly overcomes a Section 230 claim to shut Turo down as well.

This is a pretty easy case after the Ninth Circuit’s HomeAway v. Santa Monica ruling. The court says:

Consistent with the holding in HomeAway.com, recent decisions by federal courts across the country have also denied Section 230 immunity to platform services where it was only the platforms’ commercial transaction-facilitating functions that were subject to regulation.

Case citation: Turo v. City of Los Angeles, 2020 WL 3422262 (C.D. Cal. June 19, 2020)


The content in this post was found at https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2020/06/another-court-rejects-turos-eligibility-for-section-230-turo-v-los-angeles.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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