California Appeals Court Confirms That Twitter Can Ban Users Promoting Hate Groups

A California appeals court has ruled in favor of Twitter in confirming that it is protected from liability by section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in deciding what content should be allowed on its platform. Jared Taylor, a publisher of white nationalist content, was permanently kicked off of Twitter in December following the company’s announcement that it planned to more closely scrutinize users promoting violence. Taylor subsequently sued Twitter for banning him and his publication from its platform, and while the trial court threw out two of his claims, it allowed his unfair competition claim to go forward.

In reviewing the lower court’s ruling, the appellate court concluded that the trial judge seemed to have erred in permitting the case to proceed, and sent the case back down with instructions for the court to either dismiss Taylor’s case or justify its decision to allow it to go forward. The appellate ruling represents a significant win for Twitter in the ongoing legal battle playing out between users and social media platforms regarding the extent to which extremist content on those platforms can be moderated.

Additional Reading

Appeals Court Halts White Nationalist’s Suit Against Twitter, Digital News Daily, August 20, 2018

Order, filed August 17, 2018 in Twitter v. Superior Court Ex Rel Taylor

Photo credit: / Mano Kors