27 AGs Urge Supreme Court to Limit Tech Companies’ Immunity

  • A bipartisan group of 27 AGs submitted amicus briefing to the U.S. Supreme Court in Gonzalez v. Google LLC, urging a narrow interpretation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects internet companies from being treated as the “publisher or speaker” of third-party content posted on their platforms.
  • In their brief, the AGs argue that the current application of Section 230 impinges on states’ ability to use their state law authority to protect their citizens from internet-related wrongs by expanding the law’s “publisher” immunity to tech companies who make targeted recommendations of harmful third-party content to users. The plaintiffs in Gonzalez seek to hold Google liable under the Anti-Terror Act for their relative’s death in an ISIS terrorist attack in Paris, arguing that Google subsidiary YouTube’s algorithms directed users towards ISIS recruitment videos on the platform.
  • The AGs argue that under the principles of federalism, SCOTUS should adopt a limited view of “publisher” for the purposes of interpreting Section 230, and that the term is not applicable to internet companies that actively recommend third-party-created content that ultimately causes a plaintiff’s injury, such that tech companies can no longer escape liability under state consumer protection statutes and other laws for such harms.