The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Twitter and Google in a pair of lawsuits filed by the families of victims of terrorist attacks.
In the case against Twitter, family members of Nawras Alassaf claimed that the social media company was liable for his death in an attack at a nightclub in Turkey. They argued that by failing to adequately police its platform and remove extremist content, Twitter aided and abetted the terrorist organizations that posted the content.
The lawsuit against Google, filed by the family and exchange student killed in a terrorist attack in Paris, made a similar argument. That lawsuit also claimed that Google was liable because it promoted content from the group. By promoting the videos, the suit argued that Google lost its protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 as a third-party host.
Justice Clarence Thomas penned the unanimous decision for the case against Twitter. The High Court released a short unsigned opinion concerning the case against Google.
"We need not resolve either the viability of plaintiffs' claims as a whole or whether plaintiffs should receive further leave to amend. Rather, we think it sufficient to acknowledge that much (if not all) of plaintiffs' complaint seems to fail under either our decision in Twitter or the Ninth Circuit's unchallenged holdings below," the High Court wrote.
The Justices declined to weigh in on the scope of Section 230, which has become a hot-button political issue as both members of both parties are trying to hold social media companies accountable for the content that gets shared on their networks.