Today, our firm filed an amicus brief in Gonzalez v. Google, a case that the Supreme Court has granted review in to consider the scope of immunity granted to technology companies under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Section 230 was enacted in the nascent days of the Internet revolution to prevent liability from third-party behavior from crippling innovation in Internet technologies. It was primarily designed to protect small startups, including from government intrusion and censorship, while trying to protect children from offensive content.
Section 230 was not, however, designed to insulate governmental actors from transparency and accountability with respect to their efforts to suppress individual speakers or content which is not desired by the ruling party. But members of the executive and legislative branches have pressured providers to ban opposing political messages. Moreover, government officials have threatened amendment or repeal of Section 230 in order to coerce tech companies to censor or remove content which those political and governmental entities consider undesirable. When these companies surrender their operations to government control, they are no longer acting voluntarily or in good faith as Section 230 requires, and thus are no longer entitled to the liability shield provided by that section.