The Supreme Court is weighing Wednesday whether Facebook, Twitter and YouTube can be sued over a 2017 Islamic State group attack on a Turkish nightclub based on the argument the platforms assisted in fueling the growth of the terrorist organization.
What the justices decide to do in this case and a related one it heard Tuesday is important particularly because the companies have been shielded from liability on the internet, allowing them to grow into the giants they are today.
On the first day of arguments, the justices suggested they had little appetite for a far-reaching ruling that would upend the internet. Wednesday’s case about the nightclub attack in which 39 people died could provide an off-ramp for the justices if they want to limit the impact of what they do.
At the heart of the cases before the justices are two federal laws. The first is Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, which protects tech companies from being sued over material put on their sites by users. The second is the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which allows Americans injured by a terrorist attack abroad to sue for money damages in federal court.
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