[This article is authored by Harshitha Adari and Akarshi Narain, 2nd year students at the NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad. It analyses the arguments in Gonzalez v. Google, a case that came before the United States Supreme Court, in the context of the judgment’s consequences on Internet free speech.]
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the pillar of internet free speech. It provides “interactive computer services” such as video platforms, social media networks, blogs, and other platforms hosting third-party speech- broad immunity from liability for the content posted by users. It states that “no user or provider of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the speaker or publisher of any information provided by another information content provider.” This protection promotes free internet speech and immunizes service providers and users for removing objectionable content. The drafters of this legislation recognize that an internet unfettered by government regulation is a non-negotiable for free speech to thrive online. However, two pending cases before the US Supreme Court, Gonzalez v. Google and Twitter v. Taamneh, challenged the scope of this law’s protections.