Despite all the furor, the future of the internet does not hinge on a pair of cases argued this week at the U.S. Supreme Court. There's no risk that the statutory immunity that Congress granted long ago to internet service providers will collapse. The justices are being asked to decide a narrow and technical legal question. Should the ISPs lose, they'll make a handful of tweaks in the algorithms they employ to sort content. The experience of most users will barely budge.
The two cases that have sparked the dire predictions involve lawsuits against Google and Twitter, respectively. The suits were filed by families who have lost loved ones to vicious acts of terrorism. The central allegation is that the companies abetted those acts through the videos and other materials they made available to users. The justices aren't being asked to decide whether the allegations are true but whether the cases should go to trial, in which case the jury would determine the facts.