Zuckerman v. Meta Platforms, Inc.
Anna Resmini

Zuckerman v. Meta Platforms, Inc.

A case arguing that Section 230 protects tools that empower people to control what they see on social media.

On May 1, 2024, the Knight Institute filed a lawsuit on behalf of Ethan Zuckerman—a professor of public policy, communication, and information at the University of Massachusetts Amherst—asking the court to recognize that Section 230 protects the development of tools that empower social media users to control what they see online.

Professor Zuckerman would like to release a tool called Unfollow Everything 2.0, a browser extension that would allow Facebook users to automatically unfollow their friends, groups, and pages, and, in doing so, to effectively turn off their newsfeeds, which Facebook algorithmically sorts to drive user engagement. The tool would also enable people to donate their data to an academic research study that explores how this increased control affects user behavior and well-being. Zuckerman hasn’t released the tool, however, out of fear that Meta will sue him if he does so, as it threatened to do when a U.K.-based developer released a similar tool called Unfollow Everything.

The lawsuit asks the court to declare that Section 230 immunizes Zuckerman from civil liability for releasing Unfollow Everything 2.0. In the alternative, it asks the court to declare that the tool does not violate Meta’s Terms of Service, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or California’s Computer Data Access and Fraud Act.

Status: Complaint filed on May 1, 2024.

Case Information: Zuckerman v. Meta Platforms, No. 3:24-cv-02596 (N.D. Cal.)

Press Statements

Legal Filings

Click to highlight response chains

Related News Coverage