Texas AG Paxton Files Amicus Brief for Facebook's 'Vague and Inaccurate' Interpretation of Law

© REUTERS / Dado RuvicA Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020.
A Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.10.2021
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Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed an amicus brief in the Texas Supreme Court in the wake of Facebook's "vague and inaccurate" interpretation of Section 230 that's being used to shield it from liability and protect social media giants.
The legal interpretation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has become a key moderation in the larger debate shielding online intermediaries from liability for speech that they host or republish. It is known to protect Big Tech companies and service providers, including social media sites that publish third-party content, from liability "for human trafficking that was facilitated using the social media platform".
In the brief, Paxton accuses Facebook of taking advantage of this vulnerable demographic in exchange for advertising compensation, that leaves victims of sex trafficking without effective relief or financial remedy from website operators.

"Facebook's wrongful interpretation of Section 230 is being used to protect social media giants, while Americans are being silenced. A disturbing increase in heinous crimes such as human trafficking and illegal activity have eroded the fabric of our great nation", Attorney General Paxton said in a statement.

"I will fight to uphold the rule of law and hold internet platforms like Facebook accountable".
The petitioner alleges that she was trafficked through the use of Facebook's online platform, and that "Facebook failed to warn her of the dangers of human trafficking because its business model depends on maximising contacts between users—including contacts with minors".
Attendees stick notes on a Facebook logo at F8, the Facebook's developer conference, Tuesday, April 30, 2019, in San Jose, Calif. - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.10.2021
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Facebook asserted that it was completely immune from the petitioner's suit under Section 230(c)(1) of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), relieving the platform from any liability.

In response, Texas claimed that courts have improperly interpreted additional immunity, further suggesting that Section 230 should be amended for better clarification that online platforms, such as Facebook, are not immunised for their own alleged wrongdoing and are held accountable in an effort to protect Americans from "exploitation, illegal activity, and violence".

Taking into account that "without the third-party content produced by the traffickers, [the] Petitioner would not have sustained the injuries she alleges".
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