Professor Eric Schnapper Represented Plaintiffs in Blockbuster Supreme Court Cases

University of Washington School of Law Professor Eric Schnapper presented legal arguments this week before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the plaintiffs in a couple blockbuster Supreme Court cases, Gonzalez v. Google LLC and Twitter v. Taamneh, that could upend Internet regulation.

Representing the family of Nohemi Gonzalez in Gonzalez v. Google LLC, Schnapper argued on Tuesday, February 21, that Section 230 does not immunize YouTube for the catalog of recommendations it creates through algorithmic tools. Schnapper urged the Supreme Court to narrow the protections given to tech companies, thus keeping pace with technological developments since 1996. Social media platforms pushing algorithmic recommendations could have included protections against harmful or defamatory content but were not designed in a way that excludes content like the ISIS videos that YouTube recommended to potential terrorist recruits. Media coverage such as this segment by PBS NewsHour includes commentary by tech and legal analysts on the arguments.

Then, on Wednesday, February 22, representing the family of Nawras Alassaf, a Jordanian citizen killed in the 2017 ISIS attack in Istanbul, Schnapper presented legal arguments in Twitter v. Taamneh that Twitter contributed to the attack by hosting ISIS content. The related case allows victims of international terrorism to sue those knowingly aiding or abetting the terrorists.

The landmark cases carry significant stakes for the Internet at-large. An expansion of the legal risks afforded to apps and websites for hosting, recommending or suggesting content could lead to major changes at social media companies. 

Watch the coverage from PBS News Hour: "Supreme Court case could roll back legal immunity for social media companies," along with recent media coverage at the links below.

Recent Media Mentions