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The Supreme Court could soon redefine the rules of the internet as we know it. The court will hear two of her cases this week. gonzalez vs google and Twitter vs Taamnehit gives an opportunity to dramatically change the rules of online speech.
Both cases deal with how online platforms handled terrorist content. Both raise deep concerns about the future of content moderation, algorithms and censorship.
Section 230 and Gonzalez v. Google
If you’ve followed the various free speech-related culture wars online over the last few years, you’ve probably heard of Section 230. It is sometimes called “The 26 Words That Invented the Internet”. 230 is a provision of the Communications Decency Act that protects his platform online from liability for the actions of its users.Protect corporate capabilities Moderate What you see on the platform.
Without these protections, Section 230 advocates argue that the Internet as we know it could not exist. However, the law has also come under scrutiny in recent years as the impact of Big Tech on society has become more appreciated. Broadly speaking, people on the right support repeal of Article 230. censorshippart on the left, where the tech giants avoid liability Because of the social harm caused by their platform. But even among those calling for modification or dismantling of Section 230, little agreement has been reached on specific reforms.
Section 230 gonzalez vs google, the Supreme Court will hear on February 21.of casebrought by the families of victims of the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks. According to the lawsuit, Section 230 protections should not apply. algorithm I suggested a video.
“The bottom line is that the platform is not responsible for the content posted by ISIS, but it is responsible for the recommendation algorithm that facilitated that content.” recent panel We are discussing the case.
It may seem like a relatively narrow distinction, but algorithms underpin nearly every aspect of the modern Internet. Therefore, the Supreme Court’s ruling could have significant ramifications not just for Google, but for nearly any company that does business online. If the court goes against Google, it says, “it could mean that the online platform needs to change the way it operates to avoid being held liable for the content advertised on its site.” , said the bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington-based think tank. , I will explainSome people are so aggressive that platforms may be forced to do away with any kind of ranking at all, or remove all but the most mundane and least controversial content. I’m guessing you need to engage in content moderation.
Alan Rosenstein, a law professor at the University of Minnesota, said at the same panel discussion hosted by the Brookings Institution, “I think it’s fair that this opinion will be the Supreme Court’s most important opinion on the Internet.
That’s why dozens of other platforms, civil society groups and even original author Two members of Section 230 voiced their opinions in support of Google through a “Friends of the Court” opinion letter.among them simplyReddit argued that eroding the recommendation algorithm’s 230 protection could threaten the existence of platforms like Reddit that rely on user-generated content.
“Section 230 protects Reddit and Reddit’s volunteer moderators and users when they promote, endorse, or remove digital content created by others,” Reddit said in its filing. “Without strong Section 230 protections, Internet users as well as businesses will face many more lawsuits from plaintiffs who claim they are dissatisfied with their daily content moderation decisions. .”
Yelp, which has spent a lot of time in the last few years advocating antitrust lawsuits against Google, shares similar concerns. “If Yelp weren’t responsible for analyzing and recommending reviews, there would be no cost to submit fraudulent reviews,” the company said. claim“If Yelp had to display every review submitted, it would not have the editorial freedom that Section 230 provides and would not be able to algorithmically recommend some reviews over others to consumers. Business owners can submit hundreds of positive reviews for their business with little effort or risk of penalty.”
On the other hand, meta claim The fact that Ruling Finding 230 does not apply to recommendation algorithms will lead the platform to suppress more “unpopular” statements. Interestingly, this argument seems to play into right-wing fears about censorship. It is inevitable that we will make the mistake of removing content that is closer to our potential area of responsibility, rather than removing the content of ,” the company wrote. “These incentives will hit particularly hard on content that challenges consensus or expresses unpopular points of view.”
Twitter vs Taamneh
The day after the hearing in the Supreme Court gonzalez vs google, We are going to hear yet another case that can have a big impact on how online speech is moderated. Twitter vs TaamnehWhile this case does not directly address Section 230, this case: gonzalez vs google in some important way.
like Gonzalez, the incident was brought to you by the family of a victim of a terrorist attack.and like Gonzalez Victims’ families have used U.S. anti-terrorism laws to hold Twitter, Google, and Facebook accountable, alleging that the platforms aided terrorist organizations by not removing ISIS content from their services. increase. As with previous cases, technology platforms and advocacy groups are concerned that the ruling against Twitter will have serious repercussions for social media platforms and publishers.
The Bipartisan Policy Center said of the matter, “It affects the moderation of content and whether companies can be held responsible for violence, crime, or defamation advertised on their websites. ‘ said. If the Supreme Court agrees that platforms are to blame, they should “implement stronger content moderation policies and limits on content publishing, otherwise they will not apply content moderation to avoid recognition.” It will incentivize the platform to do so.”
And as the Electronic Frontier Foundation I got it In its filing backing Twitter, the platform “will be compelled to take extreme and demeaning measures to protect itself from potential liability.”
There could even be a potential impact on the company the service is primarily operated on off-line. “If a company could be held responsible for the actions of a terrorist organization simply because they allowed its members to use their products on the same terms as other consumers, the implications would be astonishing. It could be,” said Vox. write.
It will be several more months before we know the outcome of these cases, but analysts are watching the cases closely for hints of where the judges are leaning. Note also that these are not the only important cases of speech.
there is two others Cases related to restrictive social media laws in Florida and Texas may also go to the Supreme Court. Both can have a significant impact on the moderation of online content.
Meanwhile, many proponents argue that Section 230 reform is best left to Congress, not the courts. As U.S. Naval Academy law professor Jeff Kosef, wrote a book About Section 230, recently I have writtenif like Gonzalez “Challenge us to have a national conversation on difficult issues, including free speech, content moderation, and online harm.” claim to be entrusted.
“Perhaps Congress will decide that too much harm is prevalent under Section 230 and amend the law to increase liability for algorithmically promoted content. You’ll face your own set of costs and benefits, but that’s a decision for Congress, not a court.”
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