Bipartisan AGs Argue Section 230 Immunity for Online Platforms is Untenable “Engine of Human Misery”

  • A coalition of 20 Republican and three Democratic AGs submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Doe v. Snap, Inc., No. 23-961, urging the Court to grant petitioner’s writ of certiorari and reverse the lower court’s holding that online platforms such as Snapchat enjoy sweeping immunity from claims of liability for harm experienced from online conduct under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
  • The case involves claims brought by a fifteen-year-old who alleged that he was coerced into an abusive sexual relationship with his high school teacher that was facilitated through messaging on Snapchat. Applying the dominant view that Section 230 shields online platforms from liability for harm experienced as a result of content posted by third parties, the trial court dismissed the lawsuit, which was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
  • In the amicus brief, the AGs argue that the Court should grant the petition for certiorari because the precedent holding that Section 230 broadly protects online platforms from liability even where the platform played a major role in inflicting harm, has extended Section 230 far beyond what Congress could have intended, and wrongfully places online platforms such as Snapchat outside the reach of tort and other legal remedies that play an important role in combatting bad conduct and making victims whole.
  • We have previously reported on amicus briefing by a coalition of 27 AGs in Gonzalez v. Google LLC, No. 21-1333, in which they similarly urged the U.S. Supreme Court to adopt a narrow interpretation of Section 230 and limit big tech’s immunity.