The United States Supreme Court on Thursday rejected social network Twitter’s linking of terrorist attacks by organizations such as Islamic State (IS), in a ruling on the company’s alleged responsibility for not properly removing content from that group. . The decision was drafted by Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, with unanimous support from all of the court’s justices.
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In the ruling, Thomas argues that holding Twitter responsible for the 2017 terrorist attack that claimed the life of Jordanian Nouras Al Assaf in Turkey, as requested by his family, does not give any communications provider any Will be held accountable for wrongdoing because they know criminals use their system. “Actors such as IS can use these platforms (…) for illegal, and sometimes sinister, purposes,” says the magistrate, “but the same can be said of mobile phones, email or the Internet.” .
The judge further states that the allegation by Al Assaf’s relatives that Twitter failed to stop the spread of pro-IS messages does not prove that the social network intentionally tried to facilitate the attack in which he lost his identity . It also highlights that the charge would make the platform liable for any attack carried out by IS anywhere in the world.
In a concurring opinion, progressive Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson noted that the rejection of the arguments of the Al Assaf family (and the family of Nohemy Gonzalez, who denounced Google for a similar case, which was also dismissed by the same court this Thursday) ) does not mean that the court will always rule in the same sense when new cases are presented.
Jackson points out that the principles used by the court to reject both demands “are not universal,” so he leaves the door open for evaluating “other contexts” in which social networking companies have access to content published by their companies. Responsibility is assessed. Both Google and Twitter maintained in both cases that the use of their platforms by IS terrorists did not mean that the technology companies provided them with conscious assistance.
The proceedings took on a transcendental aspect because of the huge impact that digital platforms have on regulation. The plaintiffs’ argument in both lawsuits is that the platforms are not entirely free of liability because they are no longer limited to publishing the content that their users create. “Algorithms are everywhere and the question is what do the platforms do with them,” the family’s lawyer who is suing Google insisted during the trial.
Neither Twitter, nor Facebook, nor Google broadcast only messages, photos and videos, because since 2006 they have adopted an algorithmic system that recommends to each user the content they consider most relevant, families Condemned This “recommendation” means that the platforms are already aware of and value the content, so -according to the allegation- they must also bear legal responsibility for it.
The US Supreme Court has reversed this argument and sided with the principles of digital platforms, thus averting a catastrophe in the regulation of cyberspace with consequences that are difficult to predict. The Joe Biden government had also positioned itself in this regard when asked about the assessment of the legal process.