July 9, 2021

Trump vs. Big Tech

“Former President Donald Trump has filed suit against three of the country’s biggest tech companies, claiming he and other conservatives have been wrongfully censored… Trump announced the action against Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube, along with the companies’ Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey and Sundar Pichai, at a press conference Wednesday in New Jersey, where he demanded that his accounts be reinstated.” AP News

Here’s our recent coverage of Trump’s Facebook suspension. The Flip Side

Both sides agree that the lawsuits are unlikely to succeed:

Regarding Trump’s claim that the tech firms are effectively acting on behalf of the government and thus bound by the First Amendment, “It wasn’t long ago that the Supremes opined on when and whether a private entity in the communications industry might operate as a state actor for purposes of the First Amendment. None other than Brett Kavanaugh, in his first year on the Court, wrote the majority opinion in Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck, a 2019 case about a private company operating public-access television for New York City. Was the company a state actor under those circumstances? It was not, said Kavanaugh, speaking for the Court’s conservative majority…

The Court looks skeptically at attempts to convert private entities into state actors. And it’s hard to imagine them making a sharp break from the logic above with respect to an industry worth many hundreds of billions of dollars. If social media is to be overhauled, Congress is the proper venue.”
Allahpundit, Hot Air

“Like it or not, private companies can do whatever they want when it comes to making rules and tossing off incorrigible miscreants. Like, of course, Mr. Trump, who appears to have a comprehension issue when it comes to reading our Constitution. ‘Congress shall make no law,’ the First Amendment says, ‘abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.’ Congress, not Facebook. Congress, not Twitter. Congress, not YouTube. In fact, a government forcing these platforms to host people they don’t want to host is a violation of their First Amendment rights…

“A better route of attack for him and others bellyaching about their being made irrelevant by our digital overlords is to perhaps pass the wide range of bipartisan legislation slowly coalescing in Congress to deal with a wide range of issues such as monopoly power and the lack of resources for regulators who have to monitor powerful corporations.”
Kara Swisher, New York Times

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