Supreme Court should rule in favor of protecting freedom of expression online
Today the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Gonzalez v. Google, a case that could critically undermine free expression on the internet. The question presented in Gonzalez is whether online services like Google may be held liable under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 for recommending relevant third-party content to their users.
Mountain States Policy Center and eleven other free market organizations filed an amicus brief in support of Google in this case last month, explaining that Section 230's liability shield is critical to protect the free marketplace of ideas on the internet. If the Court shrinks Section 230’s liability shield for recommending third-party content, online services will face severe financial penalties for hosting speech which challenges mainstream political ideas.
Further, exposing online services to liability would mainly hurt small, newer internet platforms, preventing them from competing with the largest companies today.
Mountain States Policy Center President Chris Cargill issued the following statement today:
“Section 230 is the bedrock of a free and open internet for all Americans and provides the opportunity for individual expression and thought. Removing the law would severely limit the ability for online services of all sizes and functions to host any content that could be deemed inflammatory or dangerous, including something as simple as a negative review expressed on a website. Further, eliminating Section 230 protections would devastate the digital economy, especially startups and small businesses, which rely on algorithms to drive customers to their storefronts. The Court should rule in favor of protecting freedom of expression online by keeping Section 230 intact."