What we learned from two rounds of Supreme Court arguments over internet liability

February 23, 2023Media Mention
Yahoo! Finance

Litigation partner Doug Mirell shared his insights with Yahoo! Finance regarding Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in the cases of Gonzalez v. Google and Twitter v. Taamneh. These “sister cases” are the first to present the U.S. Supreme Court with the opportunity to address the boundaries of the immunity granted by Section 230 to indexing and social media sites. The plaintiffs in both cases brought claims against various platforms for "aiding and abetting" terrorist acts in violation of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.


Legal experts say that justices across the ideological spectrum made strange bedfellows in their reluctance to broadly tackle the difficult issues presented by both Section 230 and the antiterrorism laws.However, in some sense, that may be a blessing in disguise,” Doug Mirell, a partner with the law firm Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger and Section 230 expert, told Yahoo Finance. “At least to the extent it motivates Congress to finally address, in a bipartisan way, the defects that the past quarter century of experience has revealed.”

Mirell, the 230 expert, added: even if the justices are inclined to alter the platforms' immunity, that impulse should be constrained by the narrow facts presented in the cases. In each case, he explained, the plaintiffs base their claims on unique circumstances that allow suits against those who “aid and abet” terrorism under the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. Instead of doing anything to change 230, he said, the justices could take the off-ramp suggested by Justice Amy Coney Barrett and hold that the platforms' conduct doesn't qualify as “aiding and abetting” terrorism.