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Google warns court against changing Liability shield for Internet companies

Google is fighting a lawsuit that will be heard by the US Supreme Court on behalf of all users. Asserting that any limitation on the Communications Decency Act protections for internet companies will negatively impact the internet. Have a look at what Google warns Court against changing the Liability shield.

Google has warned a court that changing the liability shield for internet companies. It could have a detrimental impact on free speech and the way the Internet operates. Internet companies protect from being held liable for user-generated content under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act by the liability shield, which is a part of the Act.

Background

A lawsuit was filed by Nohemi Gonzalez’s family against ISIS in connection with her death by the terrorist group in Paris in November 2015. Oral arguments will be held for the case on February 21.

It was specified by the family that YouTube’s algorithms were showing users ISIS-related content that violated the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). According to them, recommendations of the algorithm should not protect by Section 230, even if the company isn’t liable for ISIS content.

Google’s Arguments

Google has argued that any changes to Section 230 could have a chilling effect on free speech. As internet companies may become more cautious in moderating content for fear of legal repercussions, the company has also stated that any changes to the liability shield could lead to increased censorship.

And a decrease in the diversity of voices on the internet. Google stated, “Modifying Section 230 could make online platforms less able to remove offensive and harmful content. And could lead to more censorship and fewer voices online.”

Google warns court against changing Liability shield for Internet companies

Impact on the Industry

The tech industry has warned against any changes to Section 230, arguing that it is crucial for the functioning of the internet. Without the liability shield, internet companies may become more cautious in moderating content. Leading to increased censorship and a decrease in the diversity of voices online.

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Lawmakers Attack Section 230 Internet Liability Shield

Lawmakers in the United States have been attacking the liability shield for internet companies known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The liability shield provides internet companies with security from being held liable for user-generated content. 

Google warns court against changing Liability shield

In spite of this, Section 230 has received criticism from legislators from all corners of the country. Republicans criticized Section 230 protections for allowing tech platforms to make allegedly biased decisions, regarding what posts should be removed from their platforms. Whereas Democrats believe platforms should take greater responsibility. Also, enhance their content moderation capabilities so that their services become more secure.

The Obama Administration expressed support for Section 230 protections extending to recommendation algorithms, according to Joe Biden. Despite the fact that he has been advocating for changes to the law. 

Moreover, Google stated in its brief that weakening Section 230 would make it harder to find and block terrorist content. Since YouTube abhors terrorism and has taken increasingly effective steps to remove it.

Arguments for Change

Lawmakers who are critical of Section 230 argue that the liability shield has allowed internet companies to evade responsibility for spreading misinformation. Also harmful content on their platforms. They argue that without the liability shield, internet companies would be more accountable for moderating content. And on their platforms, decreasing the spread of misinformation and harmful content.

proposed changes to Section 230

They also argue that the current framework allows these companies to profit from user-generated content. Without any responsibility for ensuring that the content is accurate or lawful.

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Proposed Changes

In recent years, some lawmakers have proposed changes to Section 230 of the Communications Act that would mandate internet companies to take more responsibility for the content they publish on their platforms.

One proposal would require internet companies to prove that they have made a good-faith effort to moderate content before they can claim immunity under the liability shield. Another proposal would limit the scope of the liability shield to certain types of content. Such as illegal content or content that incites violence.

Conclusion

According to Google, removing Section 230 will result in a minefield of litigation that will be very difficult to navigate if, under Section 230, “a judgment of such a nature would have significant unintended and harmful consequences”, according to the brief filed in support of the motion.

A similar case, Twitter vs. Taamneh, is also scheduled to be heard on February 2nd. All arguments will begin at 10:00 a.m. As a part of this case, it is alleged that Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube were involved in aiding and abetting another attack perpetrated by ISIS.

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