Does Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protect online platforms (e.g., Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter) when they use recommendation algorithms? Lower courts upheld platforms’ immunity, notwithstanding notable dissenting opinions. The Supreme Court considers this question in Gonzalez v Google, LLC. Plaintiffs invite the Court to analyze “targeted recommendations” generically and to revoke Section 230 immunity for all recommended content. We think this would be a mistake.
This Article contributes to existing scholarship about Section 230 and online speech governance by adding much needed clarity to the desirable—and undesirable—regulation of recommendation algorithms. Specifically, this Article explains the technology behind algorithmic recommendations, the questions it raises for Section 230 immunity, and the stakes in Gonzalez. It opposes generically revoking Section 230 immunity for all uses of recommendation algorithms. Instead, it illustrates and defends a nuanced approach for the desired outcome of Gonzalez and for future possible regulation of recommendation algorithms. Copyright
Tomer Kenneth & Ira Rubinstein, Gonzalez v. Google: The Case for Protecting "Targeted Recommendations", 72 Duke Law Journal Online 176-201 (2023)