Note | Constitutional Law
Apps Too: Modifying Interactive Computer Service Provider Immunity Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in the Wake of “Me Too”

by Alexandra Lotty*

From Vol. 93, No. 4 (September 2020)
93 S. Cal. L. Rev. 885 (2020)

Keywords: Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, Me Toof

This Note examines the status of interactive computer service provider (“ICSP”) liability under section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act of 199613 (the “Act” or the “CDA”) within the context of the “Me Too” movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault. Section 230 has long provided a safe harbor for web-based businesses, shielding online services from legal claims premised on the words or actions of their users. While section 230 has played an instrumental role in promoting the growth of the Internet, much has changed since it was passed two decades ago. In light of these changes, section 230 must be reassessed. This Note will argue that current interpretations of the scope of section 230 immunity wrongfully deny individuals who have been sexually harassed or assaulted an opportunity to hold online services accountable for causing or exacerbating their harms. A reinterpretation of the section 230 doctrine is necessary to align the CDA with modern views regarding the role of the Internet user and the responsibility of technology companies to deter sexual misconduct.

*. Executive Senior Editor, Southern California Law Review, Volume 93; J.D. Candidate 2020, University of Southern California Gould School of Law. Thank you to Professor Sam Erman for his valuable comments on my initial draft; the exceptional Southern California Law Review staff for their thoughtful and diligent edits; and my parents, Kathy and Bob, for their unyielding love and support.