Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

Apart from their assigned mod courses, 1L students may only enroll in courses offered as 1L electives. A complete list of these courses can be found on the 1L Elective Listings page. 1L students must use the 1L class number listed on the course description when enrolling.

276.33 sec. 001 - Regulating Internet Platforms: Hate Speech, Disinformation, and Online Harassment (Spring 2024)

Instructor: Pamela Samuelson  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only | profile)
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only

Units: 2
Grading Designation: Graded
Mode of Instruction: In-Person


Tu 5:35 PM - 7:25 PM
Location: Law 145
From January 10, 2024
To April 17, 2024

Course Start: January 10, 2024
Course End: April 17, 2024
Class Number: 32707

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 33
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 35
As of: 04/18 09:56 AM

In the mid-1990s, Congress passed a law that immunizes Internet platforms for wrongful content (e.g., defamation) posted by their users. In enacting what is widely known as § 230 of the Communications Decency Act, Congress hoped, among other things, to encourage OSPs to engage in content moderation to stop the spread of hate speech and other harmful content. This law has fostered incredible growth of the Internet economy and sites populated with user-generated content. Courts have so far interpreted this law very liberally.

Complaints are widespread, however, that platforms have abused this immunity, either by taking down too much user-posted content or taking down too little. As a consequence, this law is under siege because of the proliferation of online wrongdoing. Proposed legislation in Congress would significantly alter this law. In addition, many state legislatures have enacted laws to regulate Internet platforms that are being challenged as violations of the First Amendment. Two such cases are pending before the Supreme Court this term.

In addition to reviewing key cases and legislative options, the course will explore the challenges that platforms face when engaging in content moderation at scale and discuss the private governance mechanisms that online platforms use (and sometimes fail to use) to stop the proliferation of harmful content.

This course will consider, among other things, First Amendment limits on what the government can do to regulate speech that takes place on online platforms. Can the government require Facebook to stop disinformation campaigns? Can states require platforms to be neutral or stop "censoring" some critics? These are examples of the questions we will have a chance to address in this course.

No prerequisites

Requirements Satisfaction:

This is an Option 1 class; two Option 1 classes fulfill the J.D. writing requirement.

New - Submit Teaching Evaluations (enrolled students only)

Exam Notes: (None) Class requires a series of papers, assignments, or presentations throughout the semester
Course Category: Intellectual Property and Technology Law
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Public Law and Policy
Social Justice and Public Interest

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Instructor has indicated that no books will be assigned.

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