Amicus brief: Algorithmic content moderation protects online communities
A group of seven industry and civil society organizations today filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in the case of Gonzalez v. Google, urging the Court to side with Google and uphold Section 230’s existing protection of algorithmic content moderation. The brief argues that content moderation is an editorial function, guaranteed by the First Amendment, and that algorithmic curation is critical to content moderation and protecting marginalized communities online.
The organizations – including Chamber of Progress; HONR Network; Information Technology and Innovation Foundation; IP Justice; LGBT Tech Institute; the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council; and Stop Child Predators – submitted their brief in support of Google and highlighted the harms that would follow if Gonzalez’s claims were successful.
The brief makes the case that algorithmic curation is a critical component of content moderation for online platforms on the modern web:
“Acknowledging that Section 230 protects the removal of content, as Petitioners do, thus requires recognition that Section 230 likewise protects its promotion. Petitioners’ proposal to bifurcate Section 230’s protections by stripping immunity from platforms that promote content thus makes no sense: on the Internet, publication is promotion.”
The organizations also argue that eliminating Section 230 protections for content moderation would harm marginalized communities:
“Withdrawing Section 230’s protections for algorithmic content curation altogether would have comparably nuclear effects for a wide range of disfavored speech and speakers threatened by a patchwork of proscriptive state laws.”
In a letter this November, Chamber of Progress and Advocates for Youth urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to submit a brief supporting Google on the grounds that a decision in favor of Gonzalez could endanger access to reproductive health information in some states. Their letter to DOJ is available here.
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Chamber of Progress (progresschamber.org) is a center-left tech industry policy coalition promoting technology’s progressive future. We work to ensure that all Americans benefit from technological leaps, and that the tech industry operates responsibly and fairly.
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