UPDATED 4:38 PM PT – Wednesday, October 14, 2020
A Supreme Court justice has urged his colleagues to tackle the issue of immunity for social media platforms. On Tuesday, Justice Clarence Thomas asked the court to consider scaling back Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
The section in question has served as a shield for social media companies, protecting them from content users upload to their platforms. When it comes to content posted on their sites, these companies have argued they are more like distributors of information than publishers.
In most cases, the legislation grants immunity from legal prosecution, should a user post content that is deemed illegal or defamatory. The Supreme Court recently denied a request to hear a case against one of these internet based companies and its so called “product.”
Justice Thomas agreed with the court’s decision to deny the hearing. However, he has said interpreting the section too widely may have serious consequences.
Representatives from both sides of the aisle have criticized the section for offering protections to companies that are far too broad and allowing misinformation to spread rampantly.
Justice Thomas offered an opportunity for the court to look back on the legislation and perhaps create a precedent for determining limits on what freedoms the section should provide.