Google filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday warning the high court against “gutting” a controversial law that shields tech companies from liability.
The search giant said in the brief that a decision to remove Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech companies from being sued for content shared online by third parties, would lead to additional censorship and hate speech on the Internet.
The case against Google was filed by the family of Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old U.S. citizen killed when Islamic State terrorists attacked Paris, France, in 2015.
The Gonzalez family alleges that YouTube, which is owned by Google, allowed terrorists to share videos online and recruit members. The Supreme Court will determine whether Section 230 protects Google against liability after oral arguments, which are scheduled for Feb. 21.
“Gutting Section 230(c)(1), as these amici urge, would upend the internet and perversely encourage both wide-ranging suppression of speech and the proliferation of more offensive speech,” Google wrote in its brief Thursday.
“Sites with the resources to take down objectionable content could become beholden to heckler’s vetoes, removing anything anyone found objectionable.”
Google said that other sites “could take the see-no-evil approach” and disable all filtering to avoid any inference of constructive knowledge of third-party content while some sites and platforms might vanish altogether.
Section 230 has faced criticism from lawmakers and politicians on both sides of the aisle.
Republicans claim that Section 230 allows biased platforms to censor conservative content while Democrats argue that it allows for hate speech to spread online because tech companies are not held responsible.
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