ACLU Warns of Harm to Internet Free Speech if Congress Dismantles ‘Section 230’

By Paloma Sifuentes

WASHINGTON, DC- The American Civil Liberties Union wrote the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology this week, regarding Congress’ efforts to dismantle “section 230,” that supports the rights of social media companies.

Section 230, notes the ACLU, states the creators of a platform are responsible for their own content but not liable under content created by other third parties, specifically that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

In the letter written by ACLU, the civil rights group stated that under section 230 many of the third parties are able to use free speech regarding topics such as politics because there isn’t much of a restriction. However, the ACLU said, if Section 230 were to be repealed these third parties would get sued, investigated, or charged with a crime.

Jenana Leventoff, the ACLU senior Counsel stated “Section 230 protects the internet as we know it today – a place for people from around the country to come together for political organizing, opinion sharing and community building. ”

The ACLU said it is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to look at two cases that look at section 230, and the responsibilities of these platforms.

The first is Google v. Gonzales which discusses how YouTube is partially responsible for the killing of a U.S. citizen by ISIS in 2015 from a terrorist attack.

The next case is Twitter v. Taamneh, where the court asks if Twitter will be held liable under the Anti- Terrorist Attack for an ISIS attack in Istanbul because the creator did not remove terrorist content on its platform, which could have provided assistance.

About The Author

Paloma Sifuentes is a Senior at California State University, Long Beach majoring in Criminal Justice. She plans on attending law school after she graduates with her bachelors degree in the spring of 2023. She is very passionate about Criminal Law and intends on working as an associates attorney in a law firm after law school.

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