University of Miami Business Law Review

Document Type



But for the Internet, many of our interactions with others would be impossible. From socializing to shopping, and, increasingly, working and attending class, the Internet greatly facilitates the ease of our daily lives. However, we frequently neglect to consider that our conduits to the Internet have the potential to lead to harm and injury. When the Internet was in its infancy, and primarily was a repository of information, Congress recognized the threat of continual lawsuits against online entities stemming from the content created by their users. The Communications Decency Act of 1996 arose to mitigate the seemingly Herculean task for online entities to moderate every piece of content posted by their users. Online entities thus became immune from suit in their capacities as publishers of content. Yet, the Internet is no longer solely a repository of information. As much as the Internet has become a nexus of our interactions with others, so too has it become a nexus for sexual predators and their victims. This case note addresses the history of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, how courts have applied Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, and how clever lawyers have skirted around its protections by instead filing suit against online entities under product liability theories—as was the case in A.M. v. Omegle.com, LLC. The product liability approach, as applied in A.M., is assessed and compared with both traditional claims against online entities as publishers and with federal human trafficking claims. Ultimately, under the present state of the law, the product liability approach best empowers the victims of crimes facilitated by defectively designed apps and websites to seek recourse for their harms.