I though I would call this one out just because UCL cases don’t usually arrive so contemporaneously with current events. In Murphy v. Twitter, Inc. (Jan. 22, 2021), the Court of Appeal (First Appellate District, Division One) examined claims, including a UCL claim, that Twitter violated users’ rights by permanently suspending accounts.

Without getting deep into the discussion provided by the Court, it should not be surprising that the Court found that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 provided broad immunity for Twitter’s editorial functions. Of course, this just highlights the incongruity of how Section 230 works, since its passage was predicated on the promise by large tech companies that they would not behave like traditional publishers in exchange for the grant of immunity for what users post on their platforms. Right now, Twitter (and Facebook, and others) get immunity that other publishers do not AND they are restricting content on a viewpoint basis.

Interestingly, and with an astounding bit of hubris, Twitter argued that the Plaintiff’s claims violated the First Amendment. The Court declined to address the constitutional question when Section 230 was sufficient to resolve the case in the Court’s view. I just think that’s pretty ballsy of Twitter to throw the First Amendment argument out there when it denies that users have any such rights (and there is a good argument that it is wrong about that, now that it has decided to act as a partisan favoring one political party over another).