The US Supreme Court is about to deliver an opinion that could undo the law many believe made the internet possible. Internet giants such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook might be drastically affected by this opinion.
But Amazon sellers as well.
The case, Gonzalez v. Google, questions the protections offered to Big Tech companies by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Our guest, John Bergmayer, is here to help us make sense of this case and how its outcome may impact Amazon, Social Media, and your business.
History of Section 230
In 1996, the dawn of the internet age, the Consumer Decency Act and Section 230 were passed by Congress. The 26 words of this section state that websites are not like other publishers and cannot be sued for defamation, like newspapers. Instead, this law proclaimed that websites are more like telephones, where no matter what is said on the phone, owners of phone lines could not be sued. You cannot treat them as publishers or speakers for liability reasons.
The Case Before the Courts
In 2015, ISIS Terrorists killed 130 people in the Paris Terrorist attacks. Included in the dead was Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old American student. Nohemi’s parents believe that the law should not protect social media companies, who they believe aided and abetted terrorist acts like the one that killed their daughter in Paris. On February 21st, the supreme court heard arguments for Gonzalez v. Google.
Now the fate of the law that some credit to the rise of the internet, and more specifically, social media, awaits the court’s opinion.
The internet likely would not exist today without the protection afforded it in 1996 by this act. But the times have changed, and websites are not merely conduits for information to innocently be passed back and forth. These websites are processing, recommending, and doing things to keep you engaged on their site…so they can serve more ads and make money…a lot of money.
As a seller or vendor, it’s wise to protect your business by following the law and producing products that are safe. It’s also important to make claims that are supported by evidence. Amazon’s actions in the last few years suggest they know a time is coming when they won’t be protected, so protect yourself, your customers, and your business first.
Today’s guest has spent a career tracking the effects of Section 230 and is paying particularly close attention to this latest case. He’s here today to unpack what’s going on and how a decision may affect you, the Amazon Seller or Vendor.
Today, we’ll unpack what it means and how it may affect your business.
Some Additional Resources…
Connect with John Bergmayer
Twitter – @publicknowledge
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