Attorney General Paxton has filed a merits-stage amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Gonzalez v. Google (Case No. 21-1333) and narrow the scope of Section 230 protections for “publishers.”
Enacted in 1996, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was designed to provide “publishers” narrow protections from defamation liability. However, the courts have misinterpreted the law and allowed it to become a nearly all-encompassing blanket protection for certain companies, specifically internet and Big Tech companies.
The boundless legal protections for these companies due to their perceived status as “publishers” has heretofore prevented states from holding Big Tech accountable for numerous legal violations, even those that are unrelated to the publication of user content. Gonzalez v. Google is one such example, in which the petitioners allege that Google’s own online recommendations aided ISIS in its terror activities.
The amicus brief speaks to the limited nature of States’ ability to rectify damages stemming from internet companies breaking the law: “Overbroad judicial interpretations of Section 230 have harmed States and their citizens in two ways. First, a court infringes state sovereignty whenever it incorrectly holds that Section 230 prevents a State from enforcing its laws. Second, a court harms a State’s citizens whenever it misapplies Section 230 and improperly prevents those citizens from obtaining redress for wrongs committed online. This Court should stem the tide of those harms by faithfully interpreting Section 230.”
To read the full amicus brief, click here.