🛡️Big Tech Tests Its Shield
Did YouTube aid and abet in the 2015 killing of Nohemi Gonzalez, or does Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act shield the tech giant? That is the question heading to the US Supreme Court in the high court's new term. Gonzalez was one of the 130 people killed during a coordinated terrorist attack in Paris that saw the Bataclan concert venue and neighboring restaurant hit by suicide bombers. The victim's family is claiming YouTube's algorithm helped ISIS recruit the assailants who then killed the American.
The Alphabet-owned video platform "knowingly permitted ISIS to post on YouTube hundreds of radicalizing videos inciting violence," claims the lawsuit, according to NBC News, adding that Section 230 does not cover such practices.
YouTube is denying its culpability in this case, and urged the court not to hear the case as it would "likely fail whether or not Section 230 applies."
In a June 2021 opinion written by Judge Morgan Christen of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the 3-justice panel sided with Gonzalez's estate and further revived the case of Nawras Alassaf, a Jordanian citizen who was killed during a 2017 ISIS attack in Istanbul. Alassaf's family is suing Twitter, Meta, and Alphabet for aiding and abetting ISIS in spreading its ideology. Alassaf's case will join Gonzalez's and three others when it heads to the Supreme Court to decide if Section 230 shields Big Tech from such situations, reports VOA News.
What other industry is able to hide behind a single clause in an outdated law despite having its hand in nearly every part of our lives? We might be in a perfect storm situation where both liberals and conservatives are seeing Big Tech as the Boogeyman and are willing to come together to change the laws shielding Silicon Valley.