Facebook’s Website Isn’t Governed by the ADA–Lloyd v. Facebook

This is a standard kitchen-sink pro se lawsuit against Facebook, but it touches a couple of key blog themes that makes it worth covering.

Americans With Disabilities Act

Lloyd claims that the Facebook website violates the ADA Title III. Citing Young v. Facebook, the court says simply that the “Facebook platform is not a place of public accommodation.” The Ninth Circuit’s Robles case does not help the plaintiff because “There is no physical space that the Defendants operate that would warrant considering a nexus with the Facebook platform.”

Section 230

The plaintiff alleged negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and invasion of privacy based on third-parties posting her private information and allowing users to threaten her with murder and rape. Facebook qualifies for Section 230:

  • ICS Provider. Yes, citing Cross v. Facebook and Calise v. Meta.
  • Third-Party Content. Yes, citing Igbonwa v. Facebook.
  • Publisher/Speaker Claim. “Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants failed to take appropriate moderation measures against users. This is exactly the type of claim that courts consistently deem protected publisher activity.”

Contract Breach

The plaintiff claims Facebook made various promises about keeping users safe from threats. Citing Barnes v. Yahoo, Morton v. Twitter, and Murphy v. Twitter, the court says:

Facebook’s Community Standards state that they are committed to making Facebook a safe and authentic place and protecting privacy. However, merely stating that Facebook does not allow users to post harmful content and that they will remove them is mere “a general monitoring policy” that the Ninth Circuit noted was insufficient…

Plaintiff does not allege that Facebook has acknowledged its awareness of the violations and promised that the violations would be taken care of like Barnes. There are no other facts that would indicate that Facebook “made a promise with the constructive intent that it be enforceable.”

Another example of how the promissory estoppel workaround to Section 230 is usually a dead-end.

Case Citation: Lloyd v. Facebook, Inc., 2022 WL 4913347 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 3, 2022). The complaint.

Some blog posts on the ADA: