Hey guess what? Larry Klayman, the worst lawyer in America not named Mat Staver, filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Facebook for not removing an anti-Semitic group quickly enough. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear that he lost that suit and the appeals court has now upheld that ruling.
Three years ago, plaintiff-appellant Larry Klayman encountered a page on Facebook’s social networking website entitled “Third Palestinian Intifada,” which called for Muslims to rise up and kill the Jewish people. Facebook subsequently removed the Third Intifada page from its website, but not promptly enough for Klayman. He filed suit against Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, alleging that their delay in removing that page and similar pages constituted intentional assault and negligence. The district court held that the Communications Decency Act of 1996, 47 U.S.C. § 230, shielded Zuckerberg and Facebook from suit. We affirm.
In enacting the Communications Decency Act, Congress found that the Internet and related computer services
“represent an extraordinary advance in the availability of educational and informational resources,” and “offer a forum for a true diversity of political discourse, unique opportunities for cultural development, and myriad avenues for intellectual activity.” The Internet has done so, Congress stressed, “with a minimum of government
regulation.” Congress accordingly made it the “policy of the United States” to “promote the continued development of the Internet,” and “to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet and other interactive computer services, unfettered by Federal or State regulation[.]”
To that end, Section 230(c) of the Act commands that “[n]o provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” A later section of the Act adds preemptive bite to that prohibition, providing that “[n]o cause of action may bebrought and no liability may be imposed under any State or local law that is inconsistent with this section.”
As relevant here, the Act defines a protected “interactive computer service” as “any information service, system, or access software provider that provides or enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server, including specifically a service or system that provides access to the Internet[.].” An information content provider, in turn, is defined as “any person or entity that is responsible, in whole or in part, for the creation or development of information provided through the Internet or any other interactive computer service.”
Facebook is an Internet-based social networking website that allows its users worldwide to share information, opinions, and other content of the users’ own choosing for free. Like millions of others, Larry Klayman maintains a Facebook account. When he joined Facebook, the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities for users advised Klayman that Facebook does its “best to keep Facebook safe, but we cannot guarantee it,” and that “YOU USE IT AT YOUR OWN RISK. WE ARE PROVIDING FACEBOOK ‘AS IS’ WITHOUT ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES.” The Statement continued: “FACEBOOK IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTIONS, CONTENT, INFORMATION, OR DATA OF THIRD PARTIES[.]”
The Facebook group is repulsive, of course, and I’m glad that Facebook deleted it. But I find it hilarious that Klayman thought he had a chance of winning a billion dollar verdict because they didn’t do that quickly enough. Who did he bribe to get his law degree? You can read the full ruling here.