Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act: Why California Courts Interpreted It Correctly and What That Says About How We Should Change It
In 1996, Congress passed the Communications Decency Act (CDA). In 1997, the United States Supreme Court struck down most of the CDA. However, section 230, which protects providers and users of interactive computer services from liability for defamatory content posted to their platforms by third parties, remains in effect. In the California and federal judicial systems, courts interpret section 230’s immunity provisions broadly—so that the statute conveys broad immunity. This Note argues that the broad application of section 230’s protections is consistent with the intent of the statute’s drafters. However, it also contends that (1) this interpretation of section 230 has had unexpected, negative consequences for plaintiffs seeking to recover in online defamation cases and (2) that we should consider making changes to section 230 that would allow it to accomplish its original purpose while also ensuring protection for persons injured by malicious actors online.
E. Alex Murcia, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act: Why California Courts Interpreted It Correctly and What That Says About How We Should Change It, 54 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 235 (2020).
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