Sooner rather than later, the American judicial system is going to have to take up the issues of online free speech…namely, how free can it be?
Over the course of the Trump presidency, social media giants have been increasingly turning to censorship in order to mitigate the American conservative ideology. In the case of Google in particular, one executive was even captured on hidden camera admitting that their efforts were in hopes of “preventing another Trump situation” in upcoming elections.
These corporations believe that their designation as private companies supersedes the right to free speech that Americans have possessed since the birth of our nation. Unfortunately, legal challenges to this assertion have been few and far between, and ultimately unsuccessful.
One federal judge has taken up the argument for free speech online, however, but it comes in a particularly anti-Trump decision.
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A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that President Trump is not allowed to block people on Twitter over statements he does not like, affirming a lower court’s decision that declared the president’s account a “public forum.”
In a Tuesday decision, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals noted that because Trump uses Twitter to communicate with the public about his administration, and his account is open to the public for people to comment on his posts, it warrants constitutional free speech protection under the First Amendment.
“We do conclude,” the opinion said, “that the First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise‐open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees.”
So the President isn’t allowed to “block” his critics, but Twitter is allowed to de-platform prominent conservatives without warning or notice.
Apparently, free speech isn’t for everyone anymore.
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