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Biden Administration’s abandonment of Section 230 undermines tech innovation that will harm and disadvantage consumers

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, lawyers from the Biden Administration filed an amicus brief in a Supreme Court case that will undermine future American tech innovation and inevitably harm and disadvantage online consumers.

In Gonzalez v. Google, the Supreme Court is asked to decide whether YouTube can be held liable for content on its platform, and more specifically its algorithms. The argument brought by plaintiffs is that the algorithm that recommends content based on user preference is not covered by Section 230 of the Communications and Decency Act, and other legislation, and that Google (YouTube’s parent company) can be held liable.

Such a ruling would have a sweeping impact on Internet freedom of speech and tech innovation based here in the U.S.

Yaël Ossowski, deputy director of the consumer advocacy group Consumer Choice Center, responds:

“In a global race to defend freedom and innovation online, it’s beyond disappointing to see the Biden Administration take a position that undermines Section 230, American digital entrepreneurship, and freedom of speech online,” said Ossowski.

“China and the EU are promoting and subsidizing their tech companies and future start-ups massively while our own officials are trying to kneecap them, whether by antitrust litigation by the Federal Trade Commission, Senate bills to break up tech firms, or general hostility to the growth and innovation that Section 230 has afforded to the benefit of consumers,” he said.

“The Biden Administration’s abandonment of Section 230 is concerning and puts much at risk for consumers online.

“The ability of digital entrepreneurs to offer unique and tailored services to consumers who enjoy them would be severely constrained if a Supreme Court ruling upends our modern understanding of the legal system’s protection of platforms online. Added to that, it threatens free speech on the Internet if platforms have an undue obligation to perform content moderation so as to avoid any and all legal liabilities posed by user-generated content.

“For the sake of consumers and American innovation, we hope that an eventual ruling protects the core of our freedom of speech and association online, and protects citizens’ choices to use the services they want. Thus far, the Biden Administration’s views leave us concerned that this is in peril,” he concluded.

Learn more about the Consumer Choice Center’s campaigns for smart policies on tech innovation.

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