TriggerFinger


Private companies are not exempt from the law


PJMediaThere are no easy answers to this problem. As the law currently stands, Twitter, Facebook, et. al are private companies and can legally ban or suppress any speech they want. While many on the conservative side think federal regulations are the answer, we ought to think long and hard about the consequences of such regulations. More often than not, when the government gets involved, things get infinitely more complicated and more expensive — and, ultimately, less free.

People keep saying this. It's not true.

Twitter, I believe, is publicly owned. It's accountable to its shareholders and has fiduciary duties. Is it wise for a publicly owned company to piss off half its potential users? No.

Under the Communications Decency Act, Twitter has a "safe harbor" from prosecution for the content of its users only insofar as it does not exercise editorial authority over that content. That is, if Twitter is a public platform where users can post anything they want, Twitter will not be blamed for it... unless Twitter starts to decide what can and cannot be posted on its service. The moment they start to make those decisions, Twitter becomes a publisher and thus responsible for everything posted on its service.

In effect, despite being a private entity not itself bound by the First Amendment, Twitter is nonetheless bound by existing regulations.

This entry was published Wed Apr 24 06:47:31 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2019-04-03 22:55:43.0. [Tweet]

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