Uber and the Communications Decency Act: Why the Ride-Hailing App Would Not Fare Well Under § 230May 12, 2017
Uber, a company that offers ride-sharing arrangements through its smartphone app, has quickly grown in popularity. As Uber grows in widespread use, injuries involving rides arranged through Uber have been on the rise. Uber maintains that it is a technology platform that connects users on its app, not a transportation company. Such a characterization would render Uber immune from suits for injuries involving the ride arrangements under the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230 (2012). The statute offers robust protection for web-based companies from liability for content provided by third parties. This article seeks to consider whether Uber’s business model properly allows it to be under the protection of the Communications Decency Act. Given Uber’s roles in setting the price for the ride and in heavily controlling the connection between passenger and driver, this article argues that more than a platform, Uber is a content provider in the ride-sharing arrangement and is thus disqualified from Communications Decency Act immunity.