Section 230 Doesn’t Protect Quote-Tweeting–US Dominion v. Byrne

This is one of the many cases related to Trump’s coup attempt. Byrne, the former CEO of Overstock (a store I will never shop at), made many posts about Dominion’s voting machines and alleged election fraud. Dominion sued Byrne for defamation.

I’ll focus on just one piece of the lawsuit. Byrne quote-tweeted a story about Dominion’s equipment allegedly being hacked with the following remarks from him: “I vouch for this. I have seen the photographs, the computer forensics,
the IP traces back to China. To a corporation whose name has long been linked to CP: Exam Indicates Georgia Tabulating Machine Sent Results to China.” Byrne claimed Section 230 protection for the quote-tweet. (Remember, Trump tried several times to repeal Section 230,  but I guess #MAGA defendants still like it until they finish it off?) The court says simply:

While § 230 may provide immunity for someone who merely shares a link on Twitter [cite to Roca v. Opinion], it does not immunize someone for making additional remarks that are allegedly defamatory [cite to La Liberte v. Reid]. Here, Byrne stated that he “vouch[ed] for” the evidence proving that Dominion had a connection to China. Byrne’s alleged statements accompanying the retweet therefore fall outside the ambit of § 230 immunity.

Case citation: U.S. Dominion v. Byrne, 2022 WL 1165935 (D.D.C. April 20, 2020)

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