OK Let's do this: who thinks social media's recent bannings are first amendment violations?

I’m not entirely sure you read what I said.

The text of the law is absolutely addressing government restrictions. But the point of the law is to create a society in which robust exchanges of ideas may occur. Every entity should of course have the right to decide which ideas they host; but if any entity is so enormous that their decision can stifle the exchange of ideas, it impedes the point of the first amendment’s free speech protection.

I know what happened, so condescending lectures on the basic facts are a little silly.

Yes, the big problem is the violation of the principle, not the actual law. The 1st amendment was passed because free speech is important, and if tech monopolies have as much power to shut down speech as the government, then that’s also a problem.

This would help a lot, and now would be a great time to do it, while the right-wing has a reason to fear the monopolies’ power.

Glad to see you saying this, since you’re a teacher. :slight_smile: Too many people seem to grow up with the idea that things are wrong because they are against the law, not that they are against the law because they are wrong/bad for society.

The bannings are about promotion of violence, not about being conservative. It’s not remotely a free speech issue. No one has been complaining if Twitter bans a child pornographer. No one should be complaining if Twitter bans those who promote violence.

You’re answering a different question than the one asked. The question asked is “who thinks social media’s recent bannings are a first amendment issue?”

We could indeed have a debate on whether Trump’s response to the bannings is a First Amendment issue, but that’s not saying the bannings themselves are a First Amendment issue. We could also debate the meaning behind the First Amendment, as @Left_Hand_of_Dorkness brought up.

But I’m not a fan of doing so in this thread. It’s too close to a certain argument strategy where you change the topic to pretend you’re defending the original topic. I think a huge problem we have right now are people acting like every single thing is debatable, including facts.

I read it. You didn’t express yourself clearly.

But even now that you have clarified, you are still wrong.

No, the point of the law is to make a barrier to tyrannical government.

Failing to publish someone’s ideas isn’t in any way stifling them. They have a perfect right to stand on a soapbox and make a speech. But it’s up to them to supply their own soapbox. They don’t have a right to use mine.

You misspelled something there. “big tech” is not how you spell “National Football League”.

I am in complete agreement that the government cannot force others to do that which they are prohibited from doing. Of course, being a conservative rag, the WSJ rapidly descends into rank stupidity when they assert that allowing a company to restrict speech, protecting their right to restrict speech on their property, is the same as forcing them to do it. It isn’t, never has been, and never will be.

In fact, my right to restrict the “speech” that is transmitted over my personal (or corporate) property is fundamental to the concept that I have free speech to begin with. It is fundamental to the idea that the 1A applies to the government and not the people. We are the free ones here, and the government is the party that has to stay out of our business.

Modnote: I gave this thread a chance. There is no real debate here. So I’ll shut it down.

So, the Op-ed piece was dishonest in several places, and this is obviously not a “first amendment” issue. But I think what people are inarticulately trying to say is twitter, etc. shutting off Trump and his supporters is a freedom of expression issue, and people confuse “the first amendment” with “freedom of expression”.

And due to the oligopoly power of a few large tech firms, there is a freedom of expression risk here.

Now, as someone pointed out, no one complains when all the big tech firms ban child pornography, and the promoters thereof. And it should be pretty non-controversial to ban incitements to violence, too. Unfortunately, elements of the US political right have been so embedded in violence and racism for the last several years that suddenly clamping down on that feels like a violation.

A year or two ago my son commented that one of the big tech firms had no trouble banning Nazis and their ilk in Germany, and did it mostly with algorithms. But they couldn’t use those algorithms in the US because they flagged too many Republican politicians. That’s… kind of problematic, don’t you think?

I’m honestly not sure what the best government action is in this case. Not because there’s a first amendment issue, but because I think there may well be a monopoly issue. And I am not a fan of a completely unfettered monopolistic marketplace.

But right now we are in the midst of a crisis where armed mobs are trying to install a fascist dictator, and willing to destroy US government property, and probably happy to kill US elected representatives, to do it. I don’t want to make some legalistic argument that’s blind to that reality. I think the chief problem with Twitter, et al, shutting off the president’s calls to violent coup are that they are too little, too late.