Police Advocacy Groups Urge the U.S. Supreme Court to Limit Statutory Protection for Social Media in Case Accusing YouTube of Enabling ISIS Attacks

Posted by James Bopp, Jr. | Dec 01, 2022 | 0 Comments

December 1, 2022
Contact: James Bopp, Jr.
Cell Phone 812/243-0825; Phone 812/232-2434; Fax 812/235-3685; [email protected]

Today, the National Police Association (“NPA”) and the National Fallen Officers Foundation (“NFOF”) asked the U.S. Supreme Court to limit statutory protection for social media in a case accusing Google's YouTube of enabling ISIS terrorist attacks.

That case, Gonzalez v. Google, was brought by relatives of Nohemi Gonzalez, who was killed by ISIS terrorists shooting into a Paris, France café. The relatives argued that YouTube provides “a unique and powerful tool of communications that enables ISIS to achieve [its] goals.” They sued under federal laws banning aid to terrorism.

Particularly at issue in the case are YouTube recommendations of the content of others on YouTube. Such recommendations led persons showing an interest in ISIS to ISIS's own propaganda on YouTube. That brought terrorists together, radicalized viewers, and exposed them to encouragement to make such terrorist attacks.

But according to the Ninth Circuit, those recommendations were protected against such suits by a federal law (“section 230”). Section 230 protects social media when they host third-party content. The only issue before the Supreme Court issue is whether that law protects those recommendations and not just ordinary publishing decisions.

The NPA & NFOF friend-of-the-court brief argued that section 230 does not protect such recommendations. The brief established that police are also suffering from social-media-fueled hostility and attacks  and that a court decision against section 230  protection for such recommendations would help damp anti-police attitudes and attacks.

James Bopp, Jr., of The Bopp Law Firm, PC and counsel of record for NPA & NFOF in the Supreme Court, says: “The police have been suffering increased hostility and attacks in recent years. Much of that is fueled by social media, and a favorable decision for Nohemi Gonzalez's family will also help damp anti-police attitudes and attacks.”

The U.S. Supreme Court docket for Gonzalez (No. 21-1333) is here, and the NPA & NFOF brief is available on the docket here.

About the Author

James Bopp, Jr.

Practice Areas: First Amendment Law, Campaign-Finance Law, Constitutional Law, Election Law, Civil Litigation, Appellate Practice, and United States Supreme Court Practice.


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