Third Circuit affirms Section 230 dismissal of libel suit against website owner

Earlier this week the Third Circuit, citing Section 230, affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a complaint that alleged the defendant had “published” defamatory comments about plaintiff on defendant’s website. The panel noted that plaintiff did not allege that defendant “authored” the comments or that defendant is an information content provider. “As such, the website posts alleged in the complaint must constitute information furnished by third party information content providers. Therefore, the requirements of §230 immunity are satisfied.”

The court’s ruling is short, straightforward, and basically unremarkable (perhaps why it was dubbed “not precedential”). However I note the opinion, after citing the Third Circuit’s earlier ruling in Green, refers to “§230 immunity from tort liability.” By that I assume the court believes that Section 230 immunity extends beyond defamation suits to include all tort claims. No surprise there. But whether the court is also of the opinion that Section 230 immunity applies to tort liability, and only tort liability, is another question. No doubt the Third Circuit will have an opportunity to opine on this point sometime down the road.

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