* The following article was originally published in Law360.
Companies conducting e-commerce rely on search engines and computer algorithms to retrieve, recommend and rank information and products for their customers. For instance, Google retrieves and lists virtually every kind of information that its users seek. Likewise, by using data such as its users’ past purchases and demographic information, Amazon lists and recommends customized products for particular users. In this same way, Netflix recommends movies for its users, and Apple ranks apps on its ITunes App Store. Receiving favorable recommendations and priority in rankings are incredibly important to businesses engaged in e-commerce. But are these computer-generated recommendations and search results speech that is protected by the First Amendment?