SAN FRANCISCO—NetChoice filed briefs today with Chamber of Progress supporting Google, Meta and Apple in the case In re: Simulated Casino-Style Games Litigation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
This appeal is one of the first decisions interpreting Section 230 since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Gonzalez v. Google. To ensure the law’s critical protections for online innovation and creativity remain intact, we ask the Court in our amicus curiae briefs to allow dismissal of all claims.
Last year, a nationwide class of plaintiffs who lost money on “Vegas-style” social casino games sued Google, Meta and Apple for making the games available in their app stores and providing payment processing tools. The plaintiffs want Google, Meta and Apple to be held liable as co-conspirators to an illegal gambling enterprise that they lost money on.
But Section 230(c)(1) of the Communications Decency Act protects interactive computer services like online app stores from liability based on information provided by third parties. The casino games are just that: information provided by third party developers. However, the plaintiffs argue Section 230’s protections do not apply to the app stores because they are payment processors. But that is a distinction without a difference—plaintiffs cannot circumvent Section 230’s protections through “creative pleading.”
“The internet has become a vital, vibrant forum because of online services’ willingness to publish third-party speech at scale. But the internet’s continuing ability to connect speakers is realized only if online services are freed from liability from most speech that individual users provide,” said Nicole Saad Bembridge, NetChoice Litigation Center Associate Director. “Permitting a court-created payment-processor loophole in Section 230 would undermine Congress’s goal in passing the law: to promote a vibrant, innovative internet and e-commerce ecosystem.”
Our briefs make three key points:
- Section 230’s protections for content curation are essential to the basic functioning of app stores;
- Plaintiffs’ theory of liability would create a duty to monitor much third-party content, which will chill the vibrancy and diversity of online discourse; and
- Affirming Section 230’s essential protections for algorithmic curation will benefit internet users and app developers, especially those which host diverse speakers and audiences who dissent from mainstream political discourse.
Please contact Krista Chavez at email@example.com with inquiries.