• Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) has introduced a bill designed to "strip online platforms such as Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. of their liability protections if their technologies spread misinformation related to public-health emergencies, such as the Covid-19 pandemic," the Wall Street Journal reports.
"The bill … would create an exception to the law known as Section 230, which shields internet platforms from lawsuits for content generated by their users and other third parties."
The Journal writes that "the Health and Human Services Department would face the task of issuing guidance related to whether the internet posts at issue constitute health misinformation. If HHS determines that they do, the platforms would be more vulnerable to litigation accusing them of spreading misinformation because they would no longer have the broad protections against liability for user-generated content under Section 230."
The Journal suggests that the bill has a long way to go before becoming law.
• The New York Times reports that Amazon no longer will require customers to go to arbitration to resolve legal complaints, a change in its terms of service that will require complaints to be pursued in the court system.
The Times writes that "Amazon has been hit with roughly 75,000 arbitration claims alleging that devices, such as the Echo, that feature the company’s voice-operated assistant, Alexa, were recording customers without their consent. Amazon faces potentially tens of millions of dollars in fees that it will have to pay the private arbitrators to have those cases heard."
The arbitration requirement, the story notes, reflects a strategy that typically allows companies to avoid class action lawsuits being brought against them. Amazon has not explained why it decided to drop the arbitration requirement.
• The Washington Post reports this morning that "another massive Internet outage along the East Coast struck significant online platforms Thursday, causing the high-traffic websites of companies such as Amazon, Airbnb, FedEx and Delta Air Lines to go dark.
"According to the tracking website Downdetector, the websites of UPS, USAA, Home Depot, HBO Max and Costco were also among those affected. The websites of British Airways, GoDaddy, Fidelity, Vanguard and AT&T were among those loading slowly.
"The cause of the outage, the latest major Internet outage this summer, was linked to Akamai Technologies, the global content delivery network based in Cambridge, Mass. Oracle, a cloud service provider, said its outage was the direct result of the Akamai disruption. Akamai, which works with some of the world’s biggest companies and banks, said on its website that it was aware of an 'emerging issue.' The company later said, 'We have implemented a fix for this issue, and based on current observations, the service is resuming normal operations'."