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Rep. Devin Nunes at CPAC 2019. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Rep. Devin Nunes' defamation suit — the one pitting him against Twitter, a conservative pundit and a fake cow — is not an easy case for the California Republican to win on any count. But it will be particularly difficult to win against Twitter.

The big picture: Legal experts Axios spoke to do not think Nunes will be able to show that any of the insults on Twitter were defamation; hyperbolic trash-talking is already exempt from defamation. But there's a second level of difficulty with suing Twitter: the federal code known as Section 230.

Details: "Section 230 in the Federal code essentially says an internet provider is not the publisher," said attorney Mark Jaffe, the Mark in TorMark Law.

  • Section 230 protects the infrastructure that transmits a message from defamation suits.
  • People who feel defamed can sue an "information content provider" who is responsible for the content.
  • Jaffe differentiates the two like this: If the New York Times publishes an article, it's the content provider for the article. If someone posts a comment to the article, the Times is serving as an internet provider for the comment.
  • "The Nunes case on its face is what section 230 is talking about," said Jaffe.

The intrigue: In the court documents, Nunes' lawyer tries to make the case that, since Twitter shows liberal bias (an argument favored by conservatives but unsupported by evidence) and moderates posts, it is an information content provider.

  • "This is the kind of argument that repeatedly gets dumped," said Jaffe. "Just being aware of the accounts and not taking the accounts down does not make Twitter an information content provider. It's allowed to moderate accounts without being an information content provider, but not required to."

Go deeper: Devin Nunes suing Twitter over anti-conservative "shadow bans"

Go deeper

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat — Study: Trump campaign rallies likely led to over 700 COVID-related deaths.
  2. World: Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in England — Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  5. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.
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Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in England

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The massive early vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Early voting in the 2020 election across the U.S. on Saturday had already reached 65.5% of 2016's total turnout, according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.