The future of free speech is online, and on the line as two massively influential cases involving Big Tech could shape the future of how social platforms moderate and censor speech.
According to the Washington Examiner, oral arguments were heard this week in the U.S. Supreme Court on those two important cases.
One of them, the outlet noted, focuses "on whether the technology company can be sued because of its subsidiary YouTube's algorithmic video recommendations. The case is called Gonzalez v. Google.
The other case is "Twitter v. Taamneh, which focuses on analyzing the scope of online platforms' responsibilities under the Anti-Terrorism Act and whether Twitter or other social media can be held liable against claims that such platforms assisted with an act of terrorism."
Gonzalez v. Google was a class-action lawsuit filed against Google in 2020 by a group of plaintiffs led by a prominent conservative attorney named Harmeet Dhillon. The lawsuit alleged that Google discriminated against conservative and right-wing content creators on its YouTube platform by selectively enforcing its policies against them.
The plaintiffs argued that Google had violated their First Amendment rights, as well as their rights under California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of political ideology.
They also claimed that Google had engaged in unfair business practices and breached its contract with content creators by demonetizing or removing their videos without sufficient cause.
The case gained significant media attention and was seen as a test of the legal limits of content moderation on social media platforms.
Google argued that it had the right to enforce its policies to maintain a safe and welcoming environment for users, and that its actions were not discriminatory or politically motivated.
“The Supreme Court heard arguments…in a landmark tech case, Gonzalez v. Google, grappling for the first time with whether to make big changes in a 1996 law protecting service providers and publishers from being sued over content their users post.”https://t.co/ruP3t75p96
— The Article III Project (A3P) (@Article3Project) February 22, 2023
During the oral arguments this week, Justice Elena Kagan didn't exactly inspire confidence in the high court's ability to make a sound decision one way or the other on the issue.
"We're a Court. We really don't know about these things. These are not, like, the nine greatest experts on the Internet," she said.
"We're a Court. We really don't know about these things. These are not, like, the nine greatest experts on the Internet."
-- #SCOTUS Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan ... #GonzalezvGoogle pic.twitter.com/loyONdfss8
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) February 21, 2023
Hopefully, the nine justices can figure something out and not honestly be as incompetent as Kagan just stated they are.