Social Media Liability Issues

CBJ — U.S. Attorney General William Barr is questioning whether the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google should still be granted immunity from legal liability that has prevented them from being sued over material their users within the public realm decide to post.

“No longer are tech companies the underdog upstarts. They have become titans,” Barr said.

Section 230 of the U.S. federal legal statute says online companies such as Facebook, (which also owns Instagram), Alphabet ( the parent company of Google) and Twitter cannot be treated as the publisher or speaker of information they provide. This law effectively exempts them and other large social media companies from liability involving content posted by users, although they can be held liable for content that violates criminal or intellectual property law.

But if companies become liable for every nasty comment online, the level of engagement between those companies and end users will increase exponentially with 24/7 monitoring — something neither side has shown an appetite to have implemented.