Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
What ever happened to the right wingers who said that bakers don’t have to bake for gay weddings? Private companies can’t be forced to process the demands of those they disagree with politically. Ergo …
I suppose it’s possible there’s a Doper who feels that way, but there’s some real loons on this board, to be honest.
Anyway, it’s factually not a First Amendment issue.
As for whether it’s right or not, that’s a separate question. My thoughts on that one are pretty much this:
# 47 U.S. Code § 230 - Protection for private blocking and screening of offensive material
“No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.”
No one who reads the text of the first amendment feels that way.
Were social media’s recent bannings a law made by congress? The amendment, as you quoted it, only restricts what the government can do, not what private companies can do.
Now… as BigT points out, there may, in fact, be a problem if a small number of tech companies have an undo influence on public discourse. Maybe there’s a monopoly/oligopaly that needs to be broken up, or maybe there’s some other issue. But it’s not a first amendment issue.
I agree that there isn’t a “First Amendment” issue here (or even, from a non-U.S. perspective, a “free speech” issue). There might conceivably be an oligopoly issue incipient in all this.
In technical terms, I think that if ICANN just somehow refused to recognize a namespace–say, wisians dot com, on the grounds that everyone knows Wisians are all shiftless and untrustworthy, and they’re all welfare cheats, and they control Hollywood and all the big banks, and they stabbed us in the back and that’s why we lost The War–that would be a genuine free speech issue. I’m not 100% sure ICANN can even do that, but if they did, I would have a problem with it.
Generally, private companies can do what they want but there are limits. The 60s saw legislation passed which limited what private businesses could do when it came to serving minority groups for example.
But again, as of 2021, private companies are not required to allow people to use their platforms to push their political ideology. Especially when that ideology is tied to domestic terrorism or attempts to overthrow the government.
Fox news isn’t required to promote communism or give a platform to communists, and twitter isn’t required to give a platform to right wingers. And again there is the issue of domestic terrorism and attempts to overthrow the government being done by these same people.
Could the OP, who started this debate, take a stab at explaining why they think that there is a 1st Amendment violation? Beyond just quoting the amendment. I would be interested to hear their argument.