Section 230's Broad Liability Shield Seen as Living on Borrowed Time
Erik Olson spoke to Communications Litigation Today for the article, "Section 230's Broad Liability Shield Seen as Living on Borrowed Time," discussing the implications of the coming SCOTUS decision in Gonzalez.
In the article, Erik said SCOTUS justices opting to take up the case either "want to make a mark on the wall" or saw circuit courts leaving platforms too broad a shield. The Gonzalez petition details platforms' recommendation-centric revenue model -- keep users online longer by algorithms offering content they seemingly would like, based on past content consumption habits.
SCOTUS deciding recommendations fall outside the liability shield would mean platforms eliminating recommendations or changing their algorithms and adding human reviewers, Erik said. The former option seems unlikely, and the latter would increase platforms' costs but not eliminate their risk, he said. Section 230's power is in providing immunity that can be invoked early on, such as in a motion to dismiss, he said. If recommendations in some cases fall outside that immunity, litigation expenses will grow notably, he said.
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