Altra decisione che esenta Twitter da responsabilità diffamatoria sulla base del § 230 Communication Decency Act CDA.
Si tratta di US DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK del 17 settempbre 2020, MAYER CHAIM BRIKMAN (RABBI) ed altri c. Twitter e altro, caso 1:19-cv-05143-RPK-CLP. Ne dà notizia l’aggiornato blog di Eric Goldman.
Un rabbino aveva citato Twitter (e un utente che aveva retwittato) per danni e injunction, affermando che Twitter aveva ospitato e non rimosso un finto account della sinagoga, contenente post offensivi. Dunque era responsabile del danno diffamatorio.
Precisamente: <<they claim that through “actions and/or inactions,” Twitter has “knowingly and with malice . . . allowed and helped non-defendant owners of Twitter handle @KnesesG, to abuse, harras [sic], bully, intimidate, [and] defame” plaintiffs. Id. ¶¶ 10-12. Plaintiffs aver that by allowing @KnesesG to use its platform in this way, Twitter has committed “Libel Per Se” under the laws of the State of New York. Ibid. As relevant here, they seek an award of damages and injunctive relief that would prohibit Twitter from “publishing any statements constituting defamation/libel . . . in relation to plaintiffs.”>>.
L’istanza è respinta in base al safe harbour presente nel § 230 CDA.
Vediamo il passaggio specifico.
Il giudice premette (ricorda) che i requisiti della fattispecie propria dell’esimente sono i soliti tre: i) che sia un internet provider; ii) che si tratti di informazioni provenienti da terzo; iii) che la domanda lo consideri “as the publisher or speaker of that information” e cioè come editore-
Pacificamente presenti i primi due, andiamo a vedere il terzo punto, qui il più importante e cioè quello della prospettazione attorea come editore.
<<Finally, plaintiffs’ claims would hold Twitter liable as the publisher or speaker of the information provided by @KnesesG. [NB: il finto account della sinagoga contenente post offensivi]. Plaintiffs allege that Twitter has “allowed and helped” @KnesesG to defame plaintiffs by hosting its tweets on its platform … or by refusing to remove those tweets when plaintiffs reported them … Either theory would amount to holding Twitter liable as the “publisher or speaker” of “information provided by another information content provider.” See 47 U.S.C. § 230(c)(1). Making information public and distributing it to interested parties are quintessential acts of publishing. See Facebook, 934 F.3d at 65-68.
Plaintiffs’ theory of liability would “eviscerate Section 230(c)(1)” because it would hold Twitter liable “simply [for] organizing and displaying content exclusively provided by third parties.” … Similarly, holding Twitter liable for failing to remove the tweets plaintiffs find objectionable would also hold Twitter liable based on its role as a publisher of those tweets because “[d]eciding whether or not to remove content . . . falls squarely within [the] exercise of a publisher’s traditional role and is therefore subject to the CDA’s broad immunity.” Murawski v. Pataki, 514 F. Supp. 2d 577, 591 (S.D.N.Y. 2007); see Ricci, 781 F.3d at 28 (finding allegations that defendant “refused to remove” allegedly defamatory content could not withstand immunity under the CDA).
Plaintiff’s suggestion that Twitter aided and abetted defamation “[m]erely [by] arranging and displaying others’ content” on its platform fails to overcome Twitter’s immunity under the CDA because such activity “is not enough to hold [Twitter] responsible as the ‘developer’ or ‘creator’ of that content.” … Instead, to impose liability on Twitter as a developer or creator of third-party content—rather than as a publisher of it—Twitter must have “directly and materially contributed to what made the content itself unlawful.” Id. at 68 (citation and internal quotation marks omitted); see, e.g., id. at 69-71 (finding that Facebook could not be held liable for posts published by Hamas because it neither edited nor suggested edits to those posts); Kimzey v. Yelp! Inc., 836 F.3d 1263, 1269-70 (9th Cir. 2016) (finding that Yelp was not liable for defamation because it did “absolutely nothing to enhance the defamatory sting of the message beyond the words offered by the user”) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted); Nemet Chevrolet, Ltd. v. Consumeraffairs.com, Inc., 591 F.3d 250, 257 (4th Cir. 2009) (rejecting plaintiffs’ claims because they “[did] not show, or even intimate” that the defendant “contributed to the allegedly fraudulent nature of the comments at issue”) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted); see also Klayman v. Zuckerberg, 753 F.3d 1354, 1358 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (“[A] website does not create or develop content when it merely provides a neutral means by which third parties can post information of their own independent choosing online.”).
Plaintiffs have not alleged that Twitter contributed to the defamatory content of the tweets at issue and thus have pleaded no basis upon which it can be held liable as the creator or developer of those tweets. See Goddard v. Google, Inc., No. 08-cv-2738 (JF), 2008 WL 5245490, at *7 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 17, 2008) (rejecting plaintiff’s aiding and abetting claims as “simply inconsistent with § 230” because plaintiff had made “no allegations . . . that Google ‘developed’ the offending ads in any respect”); cf. LeadClick, 838 F.3d at 176 (finding defendant was not entitled to immunity under the CDA because it “participated in the development of the deceptive content posted on fake news pages”).
Accordingly, plaintiffs’ defamation claims against Twitter also satisfy the final requirement for CDA preemption: the claims seek to hold Twitter, an interactive computer service, liable as the publisher of information provided by another information content provider, @KnesesG>>.
Interessante è che l’allegazione censurava non solo l’omessa rimozione ma pure il semplice hosting del post: forse mescolando fatti relativi alla perdita delll’esimente (responsabilità in negativo) con quelli relativi alla responsabilità in positivo.