CITRIS experts weigh in on Gonzalez v. Google, future of Reddit

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Will the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling on Gonzalez v. Google end Reddit as we know it?

Section 230 protects social media platforms from lawsuits over allegedly harmful user-generated content, while also giving the platforms the option to remove posts at their discretion. Reddit, a highly popular social media site that relies on community moderation through technology such as its “upvote” system, is questioning whether users can be held liable without Section 230’s protection.

Hany Farid, a CITRIS principal investigator and UC Berkeley professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and the School of Information, supports the increase of liability in regard to content moderation. “This could be a bit of a mess, but (tech companies) almost always say that this is going to destroy the internet,” Farid said.

“We all agree that we don’t want recommender systems to be spreading harmful content,” said Brandie Nonnecke, founding director of CITRIS Policy Lab and co-author of a Google v. Gonzalez amicus brief. “But trying to address it by changing Section 230 in this very fundamental way is like a surgeon using a chain saw instead of a scalpel.”