Supreme Court takes internet company immunity in YouTube dispute

Nohemi Gonzalezö√Ñ’s mother, Beatriz Gonzalez, and father, Jose Hernandez, talk about memories of Nohemi during a service to commemorate her death in Long Beach, CA on Sunday, November 13, 2016.

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The Supreme court Monday got into the politically divisive issue of whether tech companies should be immune to problematic content posted by users, and agreed to hear a case alleging that YouTube helped aid and abetting the killing of an American woman in the 2015 Islamic State terrorist attacks in Paris. .

The Nohemi Gonzalez familyone of 130 people killed in a series of linked attacks carried out by the Islamist militant group, argued that YouTube’s active role in recommending videos overrides the liability shield for Internet companies imposed by Congress in 1996 as part of the Communications Decency Act.

Article 230 of the law states that Internet companies are not responsible for the content posted by users. It has come under intense scrutiny from both the right and the left in recent years, with conservatives claiming that companies improperly censor content, and liberals saying social media companies are spreading dangerous right-wing rhetoric. The judgment leaves companies to decide whether to remove certain content and does not require them to be politically neutral.

Women hold a portrait of Paris terrorist attack victim Nohimi Gonzalez for her funeral at Calvary on December 4, 2015 in Downey, California. Gonzalez is the 23-year-old student from California State Long Beach who was killed while dining with friends at a bistro in Paris last month.

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Gonzalez was a 23-year-old university student studying in France when she was killed while eating in a restaurant during the wave of attacks that also targeted the Bataclan concert hall.

Her family is trying to file a lawsuit The GoogleYouTube is owned by allegedly allowing ISIS to spread its message. The lawsuit targets YouTube’s use of algorithms to suggest videos to users based on content they’ve previously viewed. YouTube’s active role goes beyond the kind of behavior Congress intended to protect under Section 230, family lawyers claim. They said in court papers that the company “knowingly allowed ISIS to post hundreds of extremist videos inciting violence on YouTube” that helped the group recruit supporters, some of whom then carried out terrorist attacks. The lawyers said the YouTube video recommendations were key to helping spread the ISIS message. Prosecutors do not claim that YouTube had any direct role in the murder.

Gonzalez’s relatives who filed a file 2016 lawsuit In a Northern California federal court, we hope to follow up on allegations that YouTube violated a federal law called the Anti-Terrorism Act, which allows people to sue people or entities who “aid and abet” terrorist acts. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit, but it was revived by the San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a June 2021 ruling that also resolved similar cases brought by families of other terrorist attacks against tech companies.

Google’s lawyers urged the court not to hear Gonzalez’s case, saying in part that the lawsuit will likely fail whether or not Section 230 is applied.

The Supreme Court has previously refused to hear Section 230 cases, though Conservative Judge Clarence Thomas criticized herciting market power and the influence of tech giants.

Another related case is likely to go to the Supreme Court regarding a law enacted by Texas Republicans that seeks to prevent social media companies from blocking users who make inflammatory political comments. On September 16, a federal appeals court supported The law, which the Supreme Court in May prevented from entering into force.

In a separate move, the court also said that it will hear a related appeal filed by Twitter About whether the company can be held liable under the anti-terror law. The same appeals court that heard the Gonzalez case was revived The lawsuits of her relatives are relatives of Nawras Al-Assafa Jordanian was killed in an Islamist attack in Istanbul in 2017. His relatives accused Twitter, Google and Facebook Aiding and abetting the spread of radical Islamic thought. In this case, the issue of immunity under Article 230 was not addressed.

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