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Twitter Judge Rejects Early Escape From Youth Exploitation Suit

Twitter Inc. failed to persuade a judge to throw out a lawsuit sparked by two youths’ sexual exploitation by users of the social network.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero in San Francisco said during a virtual hearing Friday he has tentatively concluded Twitter should face an accusation it benefited from the display of sexual images of the youths.

Spero also said he intended throw out other claims, saying Twitter is shielded by a federal online liability law known as Section 230. He said he would post his order in coming weeks.null

Twitter claimed protection under the federal law known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields online sites from liability for content posted by users. The law is under attack in Congress, where both parties want to hold tech platforms responsible for how user content is displayed and disseminated.

The plaintiffs known as John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 were young teens who were tricked into sending explicit photos of themselves using Snapchat, according to the lawsuit filed on their behalf. The images later appeared on Twitter, in 2019, and the company refused to remove them when notified by Doe 1 and his parents, according to the suit.

Twitter said in a June 28 filing that the content was posted without its knowledge, and that it removed the videos within nine days after Doe 1 reported them to the company.

The case is Doe v. Twitter, 3:21-cv-00485, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Source: Bloomberg