Are Tech Firms Liable For What Their Users Post?

Thursday Texas police officers arrested the CEO of, a web site allowing escorts to post classified ads, on a felony charge accusing him of pimping. Slashdot reader whoever57 writes:
It is likely that the charges will not stick because of section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, under which publishers are protected from liability for the postings of their users. However, this could just be the first shot in the battle to weaken section 230. This could endanger other sites, such as Craigslist, and ultimately, any site with user-written content.

Backpage calls the prosecution “frivolous,” arguing that the site’s classified ads for escorts are protected by the First Amendment. But a law professor at the University of Santa Clara suggests prosecutors may argue that the site had been “optimized to facilitate online prostitution ads,” establishing some level of complicity.

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