Evaluating Section 230 Liability In The Sharing Economy

Law360, September 3, 2019

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 was enacted with the aim of fostering the internet’s development by shielding websites from liability for statements published or harmful acts committed by the users of these platforms. In deciding whether or not a website’s conduct is protected by Section 230 immunity, the critical question is often the extent to which the website’s policies and practices materially contribute to the allegedly wrongful acts committed on them.

This question is addressed in “Evaluating Section 230 Liability In The Sharing Economy,” a Law360 article by Analysis Group Vice President Niall MacMenamin and Associates Diego Focanti, Haimin Zhang, and Janos Zsiros, coauthored with Andrew W. Myers and Michael Williams of Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP. The article demonstrates the ways in which concepts from applied economics and marketing theory can help establish whether or not these links exist. The authors explain, for example, how these tools are useful in determining users’ awareness of a particular site’s policies, or how they decide to undertake certain actions. They also describe empirical methods that can aid in analyzing the potential causal relationship between a platform’s practices and procedures and its users’ conduct.

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Focanti D, MacMenamin N, Myers A, Williams M, Zhang H, Zsiros J