A protected right? Free speech and social media


President Trump was banned from Facebook and permanently banned from Twitter. For certain inciting language. We also watched his Amazon suspended the right wing social media platform parlor from its sight lawsuit ensued. It's pending. People are crying. First amendment has been violated. What are your rights are their First Amendment rights when it comes to Social Media and consortium media banned people for reasons that it feels are appropriate. Joining us to talk about this is very interesting is she was Eric Goldman. Who is a professor of LOT Santa Clara University School of Law in the Silicon Valley, his co director of the high tech Law Institute, and he is gonna explain it all to us. Hi, Professor Goldman. Thank you for joining me. My pleasure. Thanks for having me. I'm gonna start by asking you Is there a first Amendment right that a person has to use Twitter. The short answer is no. The First Amendment only applies to state actors entities of the government. Since Twitter is a private actor, private publisher. It's not covered by obligations that the government is So in and I just I wanna explain it this way. If I am saying things that are harmful or offensive, and I say to Twitter what you have to publish them, it doesn't create a First Amendment problem for Twitter. Meaning Twitter can't be forced to publish things that it doesn't believe are appropriate. Is that a fair way to look at? Yeah, that's 100% correct. In fact, if you look at the First Amendment guarantees the right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press, And so when Twitter is choosing to publish their party content, it's acting is a function of the press. So the First Amendment applies under that freedom of the press obligation Now, people there's something about it that Is driving everyone crazy because in this country, we believe we can say anything at any time. And who is it? Who are our Amazon? And who is Facebook? And who is Twitter to tell us what we should be hearing and not hearing. Explain to our listeners. Is this fair and I guess there's two questions. Is it fair? And what are the legalities of that? And what are the What are the ramifications of that? Yeah, it's the same question that we have with your own radio station that everyone's listen to. Right now. That's radio stations are obligated to provide air time to any listener who wants to call in. He just him screaming in terms of who calls in and then if someone's out of control, saying things that are inappropriate, you're going to cut the mic off and none of that. Whatever assume is a violation, their First Amendment rights, they would say. That we expect this radio station Tonto cater to its audience. So the entire premise of um WGN making sure that the broadcast continents fit for its listeners. It's identical to the thought process that we applied to places like Twitter or Amazon that they're going to publish what they think it's fit for their audience. I'm going to give out our phone numbers. I'm better. Some people have some questions for our professor here. 3129817 200 Let me play doubles advocate here and you look at the statistics on where people get news and this is so different than it used to be. When I was a kid. We was all the newspapers and and news on television, And now much of it is done on social media Getting news from The Internet and and things that are published online. How fair is it to have certain people be in charge of deciding what's harmful, inoffensive and what's not, and a lot of people are saying, you know, I hear all this horrible racist stuff that we, you know, on Twitter, but yet we are president can't be on Twitter. And what did he say? And what How is it that that was worse than what somebody else said? How is this fair? And how should we deal with this from a legal perspective going forward? Well, I think that people have very different views about what's fair. So I find that when we start shifting the evaluation metric there, um I think that we're probably not going to end up agreeing that a zoo community But just you went back to talking about how things were when you were kids. I don't know how far apart we are in aged, But when I was a kid in the mid 19 seventies, there was one local newspaper, and there were three television stations that could reach a community, right? WGN was one of them on and in those days, um even in when there was such Linda channels to reach a community there was a Supreme Court case called Miami Herald versus Tonio with the Supreme Court said You can't force that newspaper the only one that's catering to that local market to publish content that they don't want to publish that violates our freedom of the press. And so, it's said. That's true, even though that paper might have a local monopoly, even though there's only that one. We still don't think that that's permissible under the First Amendment. We're making incursion on their free speech rights. So you see why the conversation about fairness is so difficult because I want the right deal. Say whatever I want whenever I want. You said that earlier, um but but the reality is that we have to look at all the different competing interests when we think about Uh, who gets the right to say What toe Which audiences? Okay, so again, I'm just gonna go over this, because is there any obligation on the part of Twitter? Let's say to be fair, meaning if I said the same thing you said, and they cut me off and they didn't cut you off. Do I have a right to sue? Do I have a right to somehow have a legal argument that I'm not being treated fairly and I deserve to be treated fairly. It's a really great question, and I think it really gets at the heart of the challenges or bedeviling services like Facebook or Twitter. They really aspire to treat like cases equally. That if the Jackson birds, we say, said, by people in the same circumstance that they would apply the same rules to those that's an overwhelming challenge. It's actually not possible with the volume and scale that services like that engage in. It's simply not possible them toe always treat like cases equally, despite their best efforts, despite their intent. Um, but the reality is that because they're deciding what's safe for their audience, even if they make an arbitrary decision, one of which a content that was okay on day one from person A first would be a day two is cut off. That's their prerogative, and that's actually quite legally protected and their several layers legal protection. Provide Twitter Facebook, the ability to make those classifications sessions decisions, even though they're not going to get him all

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