You Shouldn't Lose Section 230 Protections By Helping A User
from the promissory-estoppel dept
Craigslist is now appealing the ruling and the EFF has filed an amicus brief, pointing out that if this ruling stands, it actually goes against the deeper purpose of Section 230, which is to make service providers comfortable in moderating or taking certain steps to help users, without worrying about increasing liability on themselves. In other words, if such a ruling stands, then websites will be hesitant to help users at all for fear of losing Section 230 protections -- and that doesn't seem like a reasonable result.
Furthermore, as Eric Goldman noted back when the ruling first came out, this case is a perfect reminder of why Section 230 exists: to properly apply liability and not get people suing third parties:
Overall, this case illustrates why 230 makes so much sense. The underlying problem involves a workplace harassment campaign that took place both online and off. Craigslist was just one of several tools used by the harasser(s) as part of the campaign. For example, the harasser(s) allegedly obtained a fake Hotmail account in the plaintiff's name, so why not sue Hotmail? The plaintiff didn't, even though the Hotmail account was an integral part of the scheme. Meanwhile, the people misusing the tools remain accountable for their choices. Most conspicuously, one harasser has already been criminally busted for his behavior in this matter. In light of the criminal bust, I don't understand why the plaintiffs think Craigslist should be part of the liability chain, and presumptively 230 reinforces its illogic by preventing the plaintiff from complaining about third party conduct.Hopefully the appeals court recognizes this and makes it clear that Craigslist is, in fact, protected.