Section 230 Helps Facebook Defeat Pro Se Defamation Suit–Jefferson v. Facebook

The court tries to summarize the complaint:

On November 17, 2017, Plaintiff Curtis Jefferson filed a Complaint seeking $700 million dollars for character defamation in connection with events that transpired during his arrest in Baltimore, Maryland on September 16, 2015. According to Jefferson’s statement of the claim, he was “drop[ping] his girlfriend off from the store,” when he “witness[ed] a fight in the alley” involving two girls. Jefferson attempted to see if “some[one] needed help” but could not tell because a “helicopter was flying around in the air.” Jefferson alleges that he was then “pulled over for nothing” and “arrested for [a] suspended license.” Construing Plaintiff’s pleadings liberally in light of his pro se status, it appears Jefferson’s main contention against the Facebook Defendants stems from his picture being placed on Facebook during this arrest

This is an easy Section 230 dismissal:

The “prototypical service qualifying for this statutory immunity [under § 230(c)(1)] is an online messaging board (or bulletin board) on which Internet subscribers post comments and respond to comments posted by others.” Although Facebook allows its users to post more than just messages, the Facebook Defendants argue that as a platform for third-party generated content, it is analogous to the prototypical example of an online messaging board. Further, other courts have concluded that Facebook meets this definition. [cites to Klayman, Cohen, Sikhs for Justice]. Further, nothing in the Complaint suggests that Facebook was itself “responsible” for the “creation” or “development” of any content—defamatory or not. Therefore, Jefferson’s claim is squarely barred by the CDA.

Case citation: Jefferson v. Facebook, Inc.2018 WL 3241343 (D. Md. July 3, 2018). The complaint (including what the court describes as the girlfriend’s affidavit)