Celebrity Lawyer Discusses if Social Media Companies Should be Responsible for Content
Celebrity lawyer Christopher C. Melcher, who is ranked as a best family law attorney in California, discusses if social media companies should be held responsible for the content on their sites
During the fall term, the US Supreme Court plans to hear arguments on the protections for social media companies. The question before the justices, should these companies be held responsible for allowing content that spreads terrorist ideology?NBC4’s Hetty Chang reports on one local family at the center of a case being heard.
Hetty Chang: Seven years after 23-year-old Cal State Long Beach student Nohemi Gonzalez was killed in the Paris Massacre, her family’s fight has now reached the nation’s highest court. The US Supreme Court will hear their case, which tests the limits of Section 230, a legal provision that protects social media giants from being held liable for what users post to their sites. Gonzalez, a promising design student, was 1 of 130 killed in the coordinated terror attacks in 2015.
Her family claims because sites like YouTube allow terrorist propaganda and use algorithms, they then in turn allow terrorist groups to grow and carry out attacks like the one in Paris.
Keith Altman: If not for social media, ISIS would probably be 50 guys chanting around a fire in the desert. But because of social media, it gives them unlimited access to the world stage in order to promote their hate.
Hetty Chang: Keith Altman is representing the Gonzalez family.
He says this case is the very case the Supreme Court should hear to decide whether social media sites like YouTube have immunity over problematic content.
Keith Altman: Over and over again, our efforts were denied. But finally, we’ve gotten to a place where the ultimate decision-maker in this country is going to take a look at the situation and decide what’s right and what’s fair.
Hetty Chang: Social media companies claimed back in 2017 when this case first went to federal court, the suits should not go forward because it has no merit, and because they say they actively worked to flag extremist materials. Legal experts say whatever the decision, it could be enormous because algorithms and targeted content are now the norm for most sites.
“If we are allowed to sue the social media company or the service provider, then it really changes the entire model. It probably isn’t economical for them to do that anymore. They’re going to be much more restrictive in the content that they deliver,” states celebrity lawyer Christopher C. Melcher, who is a top family law attorney and partner of acclaimed family law firm Walzer Melcher Yoda LLP in California.
©2022 NBC. No claims made to copyrighted material. Aired 10/4/22.