Media Insider: SCOTUS Hears Section 230 Cases, Lemon Returns to CNN, Psaki to Anchor at MSNBC

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s roundup of media news stories from the week.

Supreme Court justices in Google case express hesitation about upending Section 230
CNBC | Lauren Feiner

This week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Gonzalez v. Google and Twitter v. Taamneh, cases that could shape the future of the internet if they lead to a reinterpretation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Section 230, created in the 1990s, provides a legal shield to tech companies, protecting them from liability for their users’ posts. In Gonzalez v. Google, the family of a woman killed in a terrorist attack argue that Google, via its subsidiary YouTube, violated the Anti-Terrorism Act by promoting ISIS videos through its recommendation algorithm. They argue that the algorithm’s recommendations make it the company’s own speech, but the justices didn’t seem to agree and expressed concern about such a broad interpretation. “I don’t understand how a neutral suggestion about something that you’ve expressed an interest in is aiding and abetting,” Justice Clarence Thomas said. Proponents of Section 230 said they were more optimistic after the arguments than before.

In other legal news, Drake and 21 Savage reached a settlement with Vogue’s parent company Condé Nast after the two were sued by the media giant over their use of a fake Vogue magazine cover to promote their album.

Don Lemon Will Return to CNN on Wednesday After Uproar
New York Times | Michael M. Grynbaum and John Koblin

CNN anchor Don Lemon has reportedly participated in “formal training” after an outcry over comments he made that were widely regarded as sexist. CNN’s chairman, Chris Licht, said in a memo that the network took “this situation very seriously.” During last Thursday’s broadcast of “CNN This Morning,” Lemon said Nikki Haley, the 51-year-old Republican presidential candidate, “isn’t in her prime” and that “a woman is considered to be in her prime in her 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.” Lemon apologized to CNN staffers during an editorial call the following morning, saying he “did not mean to hurt anyone.” The revamped morning show is off to a rocky start as it struggles to keep up with competitors on MSNBC and Fox News, and deals with tensions between the co-anchors.

Read next: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has given Fox News’ Tucker Carlson exclusive access to 41,000 hours of Capitol surveillance footage from the Jan. 6 riot.

Facebook and Instagram are testing selling you blue checks for $12 a month
The Verge | Emma Roth

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of “Meta Verified” this week. The paid verification for Instagram and Facebook will cost users $11.99/month on web and $14.99/month on mobile (compared to Twitter’s $8/month version of Twitter Blue). The feature, which grants users a verified badge, increased visibility on the platforms, and prioritized customer support, is launching first in Australia and New Zealand. Users will need to submit a government ID in order to sign up — businesses are not yet able to apply. With the new product, the company says it’s “evolving the meaning of the verified badge so we can expand access to verification and more people can trust the accounts they interact with are authentic.”

Related: Harvard’s NiemanLab takes a look at this shift of identity verification on social media from a “trust and safety” feature to a revenue-generating consumer product.

AP to develop 5 AI projects with local newsrooms 
Associated Press | Lauren Easton

The Associated Press will work with local newsrooms in Minnesota, Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Puerto Rico to expand the application of AI in their businesses. Projects will range from automated transcription and summary of recorded videos to the translation of news alerts and sorting of news tips and pitches. Dozens of newsrooms pitched their ideas last year and these five were selected based on feasibility, ability to scale, and whether they could be accomplished within time and budget constraints. Code on four of the projects will be made open source.

ICYMI: Outlets like CNN and The Washington Post argue that OpenAI and its ChatGPT software are misusing journalists’ work, saying the lab should pay the outlets in order to train the software on their articles.

Jen Psaki, Once the Voice of Biden, Moves to an Anchor Chair
New York Times | Michael M. Grynbaum

Jen Psaki, the former press secretary for President Biden, will host a weekly talk show on MSNBC beginning March 19. Psaki became a sort of cult figure during her time as press secretary for her defenses of the Biden administration and feisty exchanges with Fox News’s Peter Doocy. Now, after decades of working with journalists, she’ll move to the other side of the anchor desk. “Inside with Jen Psaki” will air on Sundays at noon, a similar timeslot as big-name political shows like “Meet the Press” and “Face the Nation.” The new show will mix policy, politics, and lighter stories like human-interest profiles. When asked how she’ll address news surrounding Biden, Psaki said, “If he deserves applause, I will applaud him. If he deserves critique, I will critique him.”

More personnel news: Project Veritas founder and chairman Peter O’Keefe has left the organization after a bitter management dispute.

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Rocky Parker is the Manager of Audience and Journalist Engagement at Cision PR Newswire. She's been with the company since 2010 and has worked with journalists and bloggers as well as PR and comms professionals. Outside of work, she can be found trying a new recipe, binging a new show, or cuddling with her pitbull, Hudson.

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