WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Supreme Court heard a second case on Wednesday that could have huge legal consequences for social media giants.
The arguments centered around Twitter. The company is pushing back against allegations it aided in a 2017 ISIS terrorist attack.
Twitter argued the company isn’t legally responsible for aiding terrorist attacks, despite knowing ISIS members used its platform.
“The complaint includes no allegation that the defendants provided substantial assistance — much less knowing substantial assistance — to that attack, or for that matter to any other attack,” Seth Waxman, an attorney for Twitter, said during oral arguments.
The case centers around a family whose loved one was killed in a 2017 ISIS terrorist attack in Istanbul. Their attorneys — who argued a similar case against Google on Tuesday — say both platforms should be legally liable for allowing and recommending extremist content on their platforms.
They said they want the court to remove legal protections for internet companies. Under a law known as Section 230, websites cannot be sued for third-party content.
“Every terror attack begins and ends on the social media,” attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said during a news conference. “They thought that they’re untouchable. Therefore they allowed the terror organizations to use them as a tool.”
Several justices seemed skeptical the tech giant broke anti-terrorism laws.
“The plaintiff would have to plead and prove that the defendant helped, aided and abetted or conspired with a person who committed an act of international terrorism. Not an explosion or some other action in the world,” Justice Samuel Alito said.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh suggested altering Section 230 would have far-reaching consequences.
“This would put a heavy burden on a wide variety of businesses,” he said.
The Biden administration agrees and has argued in favor of Twitter’s position.
The justices will deliver a ruling before summer.