February 28, 2022
The Coalition for a Safer Web (CSW) expressed today its profound disappointment with the District Court of the Northern District of California’s dismissal of CSW’s lawsuit against Google.
In its opinion, the Court ruled that Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act (CDA) shields Google from any harm incurred by its customers due to Google’s own refusal to enforce its obligatory “Developer Program Policies (DPPs)” which all its mobile Play Store app developers must adopt.
These DPPs prohibit all Play Store mobile apps — such as Telegram — from promoting violence and inciting hatred against individuals or groups based on race, ethnic origin, or religion.
In its unprecedented lawsuit, CSW alleged that Google is knowingly harming its customers by refusing to suspend Telegram from Google’s Play Store for failing to enforce its DPPs. Google contractually binds telegram to abide by the DPPs in order to remain on Google’s Play Store. Telegram is a notorious fringe platform permitting extremists, terrorists, and racists to plot, plan, execute, and finance violent incitement against Jews and other minorities. Its extremist accounts are THE primary source of antisemitic and racist contamination on mainstream social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.
Why content immunity was accorded by the Court to Google for its failure to enforce the DPPs violated by Telegram is puzzling and was never an immunity granted by Congress under Section 230. The only issue before the Court was simply Google’s failure to enforce its obligatory DPPs on Telegram which its customers were party to.
CSW’s lawsuit was launched following an advocacy campaign urging Google CEO Sundar Pichai to remove Telegram from the Google Play Store until Telegram complied with Google’s DPPs.
In January of 2021, CSW filed a comparable twin lawsuit against Apple for enabling Telegram to remain in its “app store.” The Court has yet to hear this case, but we regrettably expect the same decision.
Amb. Marc Ginsberg stated:
“Google’s refusal to enforce its DPPs – which Google knows Telegram blatantly violates — renders Google a willing accomplice to Telegram’s antisemitic incitement and violence. What is the point of Google’s DPPs if it refuses to enforce them against a known purveyor of antisemitic terrorism?
The Court failed to address the principal issue of CSW’s lawsuit; namely DPP enforcement. Congress must act to amend Section 230 to end this type of judicial corporate coddling of companies such as Google granted at the expense of the safety and security of the American public.”