Another Blocked Facebook User Loses in Court–Dipp-Paz v. Facebook

This ruling doesn’t break any new ground, so I’m blogging it mostly for completeness. The pro se plaintiff sued Facebook for violating his free speech rights by blocking his account. He alleged:

It’s not the first time that I get block[ed]. Face Book just finds the minimum issue to prevent free speech. A 30 day block shouldn’t be allowed. Take the comment out, but don’t just block. I have my personal pictures, general things for years. It’s like blocking someone from their identity. I find them targetting [sic] people that are not white, straight, or just simply point out the very strict racist history in this country. This needs to stop. Face Book gave platform and keeps giving voice to racist groups, Russian Hakers [sic], Homophobia, etc. Very little has been done and it’s sickening.

The plaintiff’s 1983 claim fails because: “Facebook is a private corporation, and Plaintiff does not allege any facts suggesting that Facebook’s actions are attributable to the state” (cites to Fehrenbach v. Zeldin, Doe v. Cuomo, and Young v. Facebook).

The court also cites Section 230(c)(2). This is a mild surprise because most social media blocking cases are now being resolved on 230(c)(1) grounds, not 230(c)(2), even though 230(c)(2) is more clearly applicable to blocking. Typical of rulings in pro se cases, the court doesn’t analyze 230(c)(2)’s strengths or weaknesses. Instead, it says simply: “Defendant’s actions to which Plaintiff objects fall squarely within the CDA’s exclusion from liability. Any claim under the CDA must therefore be dismissed.”

Perhaps if the case had been better litigated, the court’s opinion might have been sharper. But the result would have been the same.

Case citation: Dipp-Paz v. Facebook, Inc., 2019 WL 3205842 (S.D.N.Y. July 12, 2019)

Some Related Posts (just from 2019!):

Plus my 2011 article on 230(c)(2) and account terminations.