Section 230, the Supreme Court, and Why Adult Industry Companies Should Pay Attention

Working in an industry that depends so heavily on the internet may be challenging since you have to deal with a lot of regulations that might help or hinder your business.

Like social media networks and e-commerce platforms, adult entertainment sector businesses with a web presence are subject to certain regulations in order to operate in the U.S. market, which is the largest consumer market for online pornography worldwide. At Adult B2B Marketing, we go above and beyond to stay up to date on any legislative and legal developments that may affect the adult entertainment industry worldwide. As is the case with other sectors, the United States sets the agenda for regulation of enterprises operating in this area.

What Makes Us Write About Section 230 Once More?

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 is one such law. We’ve written about this law before. Part 230 is referred to by its proponents as the “First Amendment of the internet.” This is a result of the way the law is written, which protects interactive online platforms from being held responsible for the acts of users who could use them for unlawful activity. This law allows companies such as MindGeek, Meta, or Twitter to establish self-regulation policies that uphold the content moderation standards of the relevant platforms, ensuring that no unlawful content or content that violates terms of service is available on them. Additionally, if shared information emerges on self-regulatory platforms, the owners of these websites could not be held accountable for it or its source. For example, MindGeek, the parent company of Pornhub, is fully entitled to delete any child abuse sexual material (CSAM) that a user posts, to suspend the user’s account, and to report the incident to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies via the National Center on Missing and Exploited Children or the Association of Sites Advocating for Child Protection (ASACP).

Nonetheless, there is a great deal of intense partisan disagreement on Section 230. Social media networks purportedly govern national and international politics, as claimed by opponents in both the Democratic and Republican parties. Republicans opposed to the bill argue that Twitter and other tech companies have the right to remove content posted by users with conservative or right-wing political views that go against their left-leaning corporate cultures and the terms and conditions these platforms already have in place. This is done by citing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Democrats believe that Section 230 encourages big digital and social media corporations to disseminate potentially extremist content on their platforms together with misleading information because it is profitable. Just two well-known leaders from both parties have strong reasons opposing Section 230: former President Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden. The web legislation is necessary to protect free expression, including consenting pornography, online. The most current legal challenge to the legislation, which the US Supreme Court reviewed in February 2023, must be included in this blog post. We have looked at this case before the highest court without going through earlier data again. Let’s just say we can provide some suggestions.

Google and Gonzalez v. Supreme Court

Oral arguments in the Gonzalez v. Google case were heard by the Supreme Court, for those Americans who are unaware of this or who are foreign nationals. Our friends at have been following this case very carefully. The family of Nohemi Gonzalez filed a lawsuit contesting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, claiming that YouTube, a Google property, had a hand in her demise. Nohemi Gonzalez was an American college student studying abroad in France when she was killed in the 2015 Paris terror attacks, which were orchestrated by the extremist group the Islamic State.

Why Does It Matter?

The Gonzalez family petitioners contend that the content recommendation algorithms used by YouTube and other websites are not protected by the safe harbor requirements of Section 230. This is because the petitioners claim that rather than identifying a website like YouTube as a platform, the recommendation algorithms may identify it as a publisher. As was already noted, Section 230 provides protection against users acting as publishers of content on other websites. However, a website like YouTube might be held responsible for spreading propaganda supporting terrorism and extremism if it is perceived as the publisher or as an entity that performs part of the duties of a publisher. A revised interpretation of this structure’s Section 230 safe harbor clause may prove to be quite harmful in the long run.

Sex, Adult Entertainment Companies, and Free Speech

You see, if the Gonzalez petitioners are successful in their attempt to construe Section 230 too narrowly, Americans will not be able to freely express themselves online. As was previously established, Section 230 allows websites to self-regulate and remove potentially undesirable or unlawful content, therefore this is applicable to pornographic websites. Unfortunately, Section 230 witnessed a gutting of this attitude with the passage of FOSTA-SESTA, a Trump-era anti-sex trafficking statute that has suppressed expression protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and done nothing to stop human trafficking. Thankfully, the Supreme Court’s nine justices agreed that Congress, the most significant legislative body in this issue, needed to provide them with clarification on the legislation and how to enlarge the scope of Section 230. In February 2023, when the case was brought before the Supreme Court for oral arguments, conservative justice Brett Kavanaugh took everyone by surprise by expressing common sense. He questioned, Isn’t it preferable to place the onus of altering [Section 230] on Congress?

Along with the majority of justices, Kavanaugh voted in favor of Elena Kagan, a liberal member of the Supreme Court, who concurred that the court is probably not the right forum for making decisions about policies that may permanently harm the digital economy and online free speech. Kavanaugh is a conservative, and Kagan is a liberal. As Kagan responded, they are only a court, expressing their position. “There are things about which we truly know nothing. “[We] are hardly the nine best experts on the internet,” Justice Kagan said.

Why Is Attention Needed?

These are insights that we believe are essential. How come? Let’s just talk about this. The justices of the high court freely admitted that they did not know how to proceed in the Gonzalez case. The supporters of the digital economy, which includes the adult entertainment industry online, stand to gain from this. They should alert Congress and the Supreme Court to the potential consequences of changing or eliminating Section 230. Congress will decide whether to preserve, amend, or repeal Section 230, even though the Supreme Court has not yet issued a definitive ruling. This makes it possible for us to support just legislation that protects online sex workers and Section 230.

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