Justice Thomas (Again) Urges Reconsideration of the Scope of Section 230
Today the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Doe v. Facebook, Inc. Justice Thomas issued an opinion respecting the denial of certiorari, repeating his suggestion that the Supreme Court should consider the scope of immunity offered to Facebook and other website publishers under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in an appropriate case.
His brief opinion reads:
In 2012, an adult, male sexual predator used Facebook to lure 15-year-old Jane Doe to a meeting, shortly after which she was repeatedly raped, beaten, and trafficked for sex. Doe eventually escaped and sued Facebook in Texas state court, alleging that Facebook had violated Texas’ anti-sex trafficking statute and committed various common-law offenses. Facebook petitioned the Texas Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus dismissing Doe’s suit. The court held that a provision of the Communications Decency Act known as §230 bars Doe’s common-law claims, but not her statutory sex-trafficking claim.
Section 230(c)(1) states that “[n]o provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” 47 U. S. C. §230(c)(1). The Texas Supreme Court emphasized that courts have uniformly treated internet platforms as “publisher[s]” under §230(c)(1), and thus immune, whenever a plaintiff ‘s claim “‘stem[s] from [the platform’s] publication of information created by third parties.'” In re Facebook, Inc., 625 S. W. 3d 80, 90 (Tex. 2021) (quoting Doe v. MySpace, Inc., 528 F. 3d
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