You can find the following: Supreme Court prepares to hear two cases that could decide the future of the internet, the regular partisan divide doesn’t seem to apply.

You don’t need to look further than these 27 attorneys general — Republicans and Democrats from states large and small, including California, Texas, Rhode Island and Alaska — who together are urging the court Limit the access Section 230What some call it “the twenty-six words that created the internet.”

The ‘90s-era law protects websites from liability based on their users’ posts. For example, while an individual author can be sued for a libelous blog post, the platform on which the text appears can’t be.

Notably, lower courts have interpreted the law’s protections to also cover recommendation algorithms. In Gonzalez v. GoogleThe following is a list of the Supreme Court will hear Tuesday, the petitioners — family members of an American who died in the 2015 Paris terror attacks — are challenging this reading, arguing that YouTube’s recommendation algorithm helped recruitment for the self-declared Islamic State and therefore shouldn’t be shielded from lawsuits. Twitter v. Taamneh A similar case is scheduled to be heard Wednesday. also concerns tech companies’ liability for terrorism.

The 27 attorneys general seek to limit Section 230′s protections. They are social media websites wrote In an amicus brief, don’t just provide platforms for content; they “exploit” It to earn money by using advanced algorithms. The attorneys general suggested that Americans should be able to sue platforms for criminal content they have pushed through those algorithms if they are hurt.

That’s where the bipartisan agreement ends. For every supporter of restrictions on Section 230 — and for every proponent of an expansive interpretation on the other side of the debate — there seems to be a unique motivation.

New York has, as an example, Letitia James, Attorney General (D). has said that websites should lose Section 230 protections if they don’t take steps to prevent users from encouraging or planning acts of violence.

After Republicans in Texas and Florida passed legislation banning political discrimination by the social media giants, tech industry lawyers quickly filed lawsuits citing Section 230 (and also the First Amendment).

California filed a similar lawsuit after California. passed a bipartisan bill Website rules “likely to be accessed by children.” Rob Bonta, the Attorney General of Texas (D), was elected to represent the state. press statement on the Section 230 brief, noted investigations he’d led into social media companies’ treatment of minors.

‘Killing People’

Scholars and activists from both sides have filed amicus briefs in the Gonzalez case. They argue for an impressive range of causes.

The Anti-Defamation League said Platforms that promote hate and extremism should not be exempted from liability under Section 230. A brief Cyber Civil Rights Initiative refers to the case of massive impersonation scheme by a man’s ex-boyfriend on Grindr, in which the victim’s lawsuit against the dating app was stymied by Section 230. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation, and other organizations pointed out Websites that host child sexual abuse images have been protected by the law.

Notably, both President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump have expressed opposition to Section 230 — but for wildly different reasons.

Biden is running for president in 2020. stated After a New York Times reporter asked him about a Facebook ad accusing him in Ukraine of corruption, he voted against the law. He raged about the fact that social media platforms had been banned in 2021. “killing people” with COVID-19 misinformation — a remark followed by a spokesperson’s announcement That the White House was “reviewing” Section 230. In a Gonzalez briefThe Biden administration argued, however that Section 230 doesn’t protect from lawsuits based upon the design or implementation of Section 230 “targeted-recommendation algorithms.”

Trump for his part started ranting The law after Twitter has started to fact-check his claims about mail-in vote.

It is important to be clear that Section 230 doesn’t exactly apply to Trump’s gripes. For now at least, the First Amendment protects sites’ ability to fact-check, censor or ban whomever they’d like, regardless of Section 230.

But some conservatives, echoing their leader, have said that supposed bias in content moderation ought to spell the end of the law’s protections. The Gonzalez case was handled by a coalition of Republican lawmakers, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R.Texas). argued that Section 230′s immunity for “good faith” Content moderation doesn’t extend to “removing or restricting content because of the politics of the user,” Neither to “removing content that any eggshell-psyche user might possibly deem offensive.”

‘Free Expression Would Be Gravely Harmed’

Section 230 is supported by many people. among tech giants trade associationsBut Meta Google are hardly the only voices in the law’s corner.

Wikimedia is the non-profit parent organization to Wikipedia. told the high court that without Section 230’s current protections, lawsuits “would deplete Wikimedia Foundation’s annual global litigation budget.”

Reddit is its own website brief, noted that Section 230 had provided immunity to a volunteer moderator of the site’s r/Screenwriting community against a lawsuit from the disgruntled operator of a screenwriting competition, whom other users had accused of being a scammer. Yelp outlined its case in its brief. argued, “Without immunity, deceptive reviews would flourish and consumers would be harmed.”

“Without immunity, deceptive reviews would flourish and consumers would be harmed.”

Google Support Briefing – Yelp’s Amicus Brief

There are many think tanks and civil liberties organizations, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Cato Institute Reason FoundationHe endorsed the current law in its entirety. Und in a joint brief The Electronic Frontier Foundation and various libraries groups, as well as the non-profit, are the leaders Internet Archive stated that Section 230 provided essential protection.

“Internet users’ free expression would be gravely harmed” if Section 230’s protections were stripped from web recommendations and other basic tools, the groups said, arguing that these were the digital equivalent of newspaper publishers’ choices on layouts, photographs and font sizes.

‘A Backbone Of Online Activity’

Others, such as the Bipartisan Policy Center And the Progressive Policy InstituteAccording to, the court was asked by, to allow Congress amendments of the law as it pleases, and not dramatically change the decision’s interpretation. A few legal scholars also advocated for the law’s modification to take into account certain circumstances. “reasonable” Sites are making efforts to combat illegal conduct. Numerous members of Congress are involved in this effort. already drafted They can also make their own reforms.

Section 230 was previously amended by FOSTA (the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act). Trump signed FOSTA, which eliminated Section 230 protections on sites that allow prostitution and sex-trafficking. Some sex workers The move was criticized by many. Ignoring them would spell the end of secure online platforms that allow for work.

FOSTA was received in the Senate only two “no” votes — from Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Ron Wyden, (D-Ore), were both authors of Section 230 when he was in the House along with Chris Cox (R-Calif.).

Wyden as well as Cox expressed concern about the legislative impact. “The original purpose of this law was to help clean up the Internet, not to facilitate people doing bad things on the Internet,” Cox told NPR in 2018. Wyden also spoke to The New York Times a year later, recalled a comment he’d made to a conference of tech workers, referring to the “sword” Moderation and “shield” Protection from liability “[If] you don’t use the sword, there are going to be people coming for your shield,” He stated.

Wyden, Cox and others remain. wrote their own brief For the Gonzalez caseThey came out to support Google and to oppose a narrow view of the law that they wrote. The Internet explosion since Section 230’s passage was evidence in itself of the law’s usefulness, they wrote.

“The real-time transmission of user-generated content that Section 230 fosters has become a backbone of online activity, relied upon by innumerable Internet users and platforms alike,” The brief summary. “Given the enormous volume of content created by Internet users today, Section 230’s protection is even more important now than when the statute was enacted.”