Transcript: February 23, 2023


Will the internet as we know it be ruined… by the Supreme Court? Angie takes a look at a case that was just argued that may do that. Plus – these sea stars are in big trouble – but scientists are trying to help. Those stories and more today on… Notice News. 

Supreme Court Takes up Internet Case

Hi everyone, it’s Jonathan here at Notice HQ in Brooklyn. Our top story today: is the Supreme Court about to upend the way the entire internet works? Our Washington correspondent Angie has more.

Angie: This is Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old American who was studying abroad in France. In 2015, she was shot to death in an ISIS terrorist attack. In response – her family, wanting accountability – sued someone you might not have thought: Google. 

They claimed Youtube is at least partly responsible, because its website promoted the extremist ideas that killed their daughter… by recommending ISIS videos.

Sound: Father: “I think they should be careful in what they show in the media, to stop all this ISIS terrorism that’s really hurting a lot of innocent people, so they should do something about it.”

Their case has worked its way through the courts and yesterday, went before the Supreme Court—the highest court in the land. At issue is the law known as Section 230, which protects internet companies from being sued over content posted by its users – meaning *they* can’t be sued for the content *you* post. 

But should they be held responsible for recommending content?

Justice Clarence Thomas was skeptical because the algorithm’s recommendations do the same thing for everyone.

Sound: Thomas: “I’m trying to get you to explain to us how something that is standard on Youtube for virtually anything that you have an interest in suddenly amounts to ‘aiding and abetting’ because you’re in the ISIS category. 

“Computers on Youtube send you stuff they didn’t ask you for, they send you stuff, it’s no different than if they’re sending you emails. That’s affirmative conduct.” 

Opponents say overturning the law would break the internet:

Sound: Alito: “Would Google collapse and the internet be destroyed if Youtube, and therefore Google, were potentially liable for hosting and refusing to take down videos that it knows are defamatory and false?”

Lawyer: “Well, I don’t think Google would. I think probably every other website might be because they’re not as big as Google.”

Others say the law prevents platforms from being held accountable for real world harm. But as Justice Elena Kagan said… 

Sound: Kagan: “these are not like the nine greatest experts on the internet” (laughter)

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard a similar case about content published to Twitter, but we won’t know what the court decides until June.


Here’s what else is making news right now.

A massive winter storm is bringing record snowfall to some parts of the west and north central United States. Up to 2 feet of snow fell on some areas, and thousands of flights were either delayed or canceled yesterday. 

China’s top diplomat was in Russia yesterday meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Experts say the war in Ukraine –  and the U.S.and Europe’s stance against it – has pushed Russia and China closer together politically. 

And – this woman, Jennifer McClellan, just became the first Black woman ever elected to Congress from the state of Virginia.

Sea Stars Are Dying Off…

In many areas of the country, winter has been noticeably warmer this year than in years past. As temperatures rise in states like Washington and Oregon along the northern pacific coastline, this breed of sea star has started to die off at an alarming rate. But these scientists at the University of Washington are trying to stop that – making sure they don’t go extinct. 1/1

Sound: “We are now running the world’s only captive breeding program for the world’s only endangered sea star.”

In the past decade, nearly 90% of sunflower sea stars in the region have died due to a mysterious illness. Scientists think the illness could be related to – wait for it – climate change causing warmer water temps.

Sound: “There’s some indication that the disease might have been related to some warmer waters around that time.”

In this lab, 140 sea stars are being raised. They’ve been able to breed approximately 5,000 larvae, 1but making sure these sea stars are healthy has provided its fair share of challenges. 

Sound: “We don’t know if it’s feeling good or not that day. And one of the ways you can kind of tell potentially, is to see how quickly it rights itself, because they’re vulnerable when they’re upside down….”

Scientists in the lab are actually teaching the baby sea stars how to flip over.

Sound: “It’s very fascinating, because like they flip, it looks like there’s this point when they expand out their podia, I don’t know if you noticed that when they flipped over. But it’s like all their little tube feet were kind of going like this, right?

The team hopes to be able to release the sea stars into the wild and hope they’ll be able to survive in warmer water.


That’s it for today – but let’s see how closely you were paying attention. Go take the Notice News quiz on our website, I’ll be back tomorrow with more from us, Notice News.