Interfaith Alliance Reacts to Online Extremism Rulings

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2023

CONTACT
Jonny Levenfeld, West End Strategy Team
jlevenfeld@westendstrategy.com; Phone: 202-704-4535

Interfaith Alliance Reacts to Supreme Court Rulings on Online Extremism
Religious freedom organization renews call for Big Tech companies to urgently address the proliferation of online hate

WASHINGTON—After the Supreme Court handed down a pair of decisions today in which the justices declined to limit the controversial Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, interfaith advocates are underscoring that despite today’s ruling, big tech companies have an urgent obligation to address the spread of online hate and extremism. 

In a unanimous decision in Twitter v. Taamneh, the Court ruled that Twitter was not responsible for aiding the growth of terrorist organizations after the company refrained from taking more aggressive action to remove extremist content. Meanwhile, in a similar case, Gonzales v. Google, the Court dismissed a complaint seeking accountability for Google’s promotion of terrorism-related videos on Youtube.

Darcy Hirsh, Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy at Interfaith Alliance, released the following statement:

“Despite today’s ruling, it is clear that insufficient accountability and regulation on social media platforms have helped create a dangerous ecosystem for hate and extremism to flourish online. As an organization dedicated to protecting religious freedom, we are deeply concerned about these platforms’ ability to empower bad actors to sow division and inflict real harm.

“Today’s decision does not let big tech companies off the hook. Far too many people are experiencing hate online for their religious beliefs and there have been far too many violent tragedies resulting from this online rhetoric. Big tech companies have a moral responsibility to ensure that the activities permitted on their platforms are not causing harm.

“Until every community can live without fear of harm, our constitutional promise of religious freedom will remain out of reach.”

In January of this year, Interfaith Alliance launched a report, “Big Tech, Hate, and Religious Freedom Online,” that connects the dots between the First Amendment, our increasingly online lives, and the business practices that promote hate. Interfaith Alliance has also developed a training program to equip faith communities to disrupt hate online. Interfaith Alliance has implored big tech companies and elected officials to condemn and eliminate hate speech online in order to protect the religious freedom rights and safety of all Americans. 

If you are interested in speaking further with Interfaith Alliance, please contact Jonny Levenfeld at (202) 704-4535 or jlevenfeld@westendstrategy.com