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But figuring out how to balance freedom and safety has been messy.
Again, Section 230 did not protect it from a lawsuit alleging a failure to warn.
“Blanket immunity has allowed corporations to put profits ahead of people because they can,” Beckman’s attorney, Marc Saggese, told me.
In the Model Mayhem case, the court found that Section 230 did not protect the website when it failed to do anything about the rapists it knew were prowling its site.
Companies including Facebook, Craigslist and Tumblr launched a challenge to the 2014 ruling, but the Ninth Circuit ruled once again in May that the CDA does not protect Model Mayhem from being sued. Ridley, the suit claimed, had attacked other women using and the company had done nothing to warn love-seeking online daters about the possibility of attack.
“Section 230 has been stretched in so many different directions it’s becoming a travesty of what it was originally intended for.” For example, people who run revenge porn websites have gleefully pointed toward Section 230 as protecting the content they put out, since it’s their users uploading naked photos of people against their will, not the people running the site.