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DC Attorney General Files Brief Against Facebook Immunity Over Hate Speech

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DC Attorney General Karl Racine filed an amicus brief in the Muslim Advocates v. Facebook case, urging the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to hold the company accountable for misleading users about removing hate speech.

The lawsuit currently overseen by the Superior Court was filed last year by the DC-based organization Muslim Advocates against Facebook and its senior leadership over their misleading of their users by falsely stating that they deleted hate speech and harmful content from its platform.

The company’s repeating behavior constitutes violation of the District’s consumer protection laws as hateful anti-Muslim remarks widely remain on the social media website, according to the lawsuit.

Racine’s brief in the case argues that technology platforms must not be granted sweeping immunity from local consumer protection law, and that consumer protection laws apply to online companies, as well, even if they offer free services.

“As we know from countless documents and sworn testimony of former Facebook employees, Facebook and its senior executives know exactly what they’re doing and why they’re doing it,” Racine said in a press release on December 6. “They are bombarding users with hateful and violent content every day—because Facebook cares more about profit than it cares about protecting its consumers and being responsible about hate speech.”

Racine said tech giants including Facebook try to claim they are above the law and cannot be held accountable for their false statements to customers, but neither local nor federal law protects these companies from the consequences of their deception.

Facebook alleges that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act shields tech platforms from accountability for their own misrepresentations to consumers, which Racine calls an “erroneous argument.”

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