What the law says about a website’s liability is not what many parents think it should be. I’m Amy E. Feldman.
Last December, ten-year-old Nylah Anderson died after attempting the blackout challenge she’d seen on a TikTok video. Nylah’s mom sued TikTok, which defended itself based on the Communications Decency Act, a law that protects internet platforms from lawsuits brought based on content posted on the platform.
So, the law means you can sue a person who posted harmful content, but you can’t sue the website on which it was posted. Nylah’s mom argued she wasn’t trying to hold TikTok liable for the video’s content, but for its own conduct as the designer of algorithms that targeted videos to Nylah. But the judge just threw out the case, saying TikTok is protected under the law. Might be time to ask Congress to reconsider giving a free pass to websites that profit from content that they target to people who are harmed by it.