Parler Shutdown In Latest Attack on Free Speech On The Internet

Recently, millions of supporters of Twitter reportedly left that company due to its continued censoring of viewpoints and the permanent banning of President Donald Trump.  Many went to the more open forum offered by Parler — making it the number one item on Apple’s App store.  Apple, Google, and other companies then moved to cut off Parler, which has now been shutdown. In so doing, these companies eliminate any alternative to their own controlled platforms. It is a major threat to free speech. Yet, the silence of academic and many free speech advocates is striking and chilling.

Apple issued a statement that “We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity.”  So Parler can operate only if Apple and Google are satisfied that it is engaging in the same controversial policies of censorship.  Parler is based on the original concept of the Internet as an open forum for free speech.

I admittedly know little about Parler, but it does not matter beyond the fact that this is an alternative forum for free speech. I am an unabashed Internet originalist. I have long opposed the calls for censorship under the pretense of creating “an honest Internet.”  We have have been discussing how writerseditorscommentators, and academics have embraced rising calls for censorship and speech controls, including President-elect Joe Biden and his key advisers. The erosion of free speech has been radically accelerated by the Big Tech and social media companies. The level of censorship and viewpoint regulation has raised questions of a new type of state media where companies advance an ideological agenda with political allies.

As I have previously written, we are witnessing the death of free speech on the Internet.  What is particularly concerning is the common evasion used by academics and reporters that this is not really a free speech issue because these are private companies. The First Amendment is designed to address government restrictions on free speech. As a private entity, Twitter is not the subject of that amendment. However, private companies can still destroy free speech through private censorship. It is called the “Little Brother problem.” President Trump can be chastised for converting a “Little Brother” into a “Big Brother” problem. However, that does alter the fundamental threat to free speech.  This is the denial of free speech, a principle that goes beyond the First Amendment. Indeed, some of us view free speech as a human right.

Consider racial or gender discrimination. It would be wrong regardless if federal law only banned such discrimination by the government. The same is true for free speech. The First Amendment is limited to government censorship, but free speech is not limited in the same way. Those of us who believe in free speech as a human right believe that it is morally wrong to deny it as either a private or governmental entity.  That does not mean that there are not differences between governmental and private actions. For example, companies may control free speech in the workplaces. They have a recognized right of free speech. However, the social media companies were created as forums for speech.  Indeed, they sought immunity on the false claim that they were not making editorial decisions or engaging viewpoint regulation.  No one is saying that these companies are breaking the law in denying free speech. We are saying that they are denying free speech as companies offering speech platforms.

If Pelosi demanded that Verizon or Sprint interrupt calls to stop people saying false or misleading things, the public would be outraged. Twitter serves the same communicative function between consenting parties; it simply allows thousands of people to participate in such digital exchanges. Those people do not sign up to exchange thoughts only to have Dorsey or some other internet overlord monitor their conversations and “protect” them from errant or harmful thoughts.

Much of our free speech today occurs on private sites like Twitter and Facebook. The Democrats want private companies to censor or label statements deemed misleading. Such a system would evade First Amendment conflict but it would have an even greater likely impact on free speech than direct government monitoring.

302 thoughts on “Parler Shutdown In Latest Attack on Free Speech On The Internet”

    1. WordPress recently shutdown The Conservative Treehouse, a blog that has been operating for at least 8 years, for unspecified violations of ‘terms of service’ which they would not explain. The Conservative Treehouse set up their own servers and is back online. This harassment is pervasive. The blogs I consult have their own domain names.

  1. Comments are deleted from your blog and people have been banned. Please explain, Jonathan. Tell us the difference between Trump being banned from Twitter and people being banned from your site?

    1. Twitter is a communications platform, rather like the phone company. Those commenting on a private blog communicate with only a narrow circle of people. A closer analogue to Twitter would be blog hosting services.

      People get banned from here for clogging up threads with extraneous verbiage and abusing other commenters. Since I’ve been here, I can recall only two people who’ve been banned, one of whom returned and uses several aliases. Even Natacha’s never been banned.

      1. I think that Parler has a good case for breach of contract and might even have a tortuous interferance claim against twitter.

        Beyond that I want government to stay out of this.

        Bid Tech will keep behaving badly and people will go elsewhere.

        Parler will survive or be replaced.

        Amazon has bought a huge amount of ill will.

    2. I have had one comment “edited” – Darrin emailed me and explained that they use a WordPress filter for language, and spam.

      Avoid words that wordpress filters and you will not likely have your comment deleted.

      Do not violate fair use – and you will not have your comment deleted.
      Do not spam and you will not have your comment deleted.

      Are you saying that something else has occured ?

      How about some evidence ?

    1. Amazon cancelled their web hosting contract with zero notice. Someone is putting the screws to other hosting services to not host Parler. They may well have a cause of action.

    1. Does Parler use a 3rd party vendor to provide data security on their platform? Is their a potential for a class action lawsuit for subscribers whose data is hacked because a vendor shutdown their services in violation of their contract with Parler?

      1. Olly, Parler, agreed to the terms and conditions which include any terms that include termination of contract due to the content that violates the other stipulations agreed upon signing up to use their service. I don’t think they have any real chance of succeeding.

        1. The contract required 30 days notice to terminate.

          Parler has DMCA compliant takedown provisions – just as Twitter and Youtube and FB.

          All that is different is the Parler does not police political speech that is not protected by the first amendment.

          Amazon notified Parler of posts it found as violations – Parler took them down within hours – Faster that Twitter.

          There were proportionately far more violative posts on Twitter – which Amazon also hosts at the same time.

          Amazon is in serious trouble here.

          It is at best 50:50 whether Parler gets its TRO.

          It is near certain they get a huge judgement against Amazon.

          Further there is going to be massive discovery here.
          Parler has alleged a conspiracy between Amazon and Twitter to take out one of Twitters competitors.

          It Parler turns up communications between Amazon and Twitter regarding disadvantaging Parler – We could be talking billion dollar judgements.

          Not to mention that regardless of the outcome, Amazon has just terrified its web service customers.

    2. They may have many – depends on their contract with Amazon.

      Further Amazon has just pretty much given SCOTUS exactly what they need to narrow section 230.

      I would further note – we heard left wing nuts tell us we could not “disenfranchise” millions of voters because they might be 100,000 fraudulent votes.

      Big Tech has just supressed the free speech of millions of people over the beleif that A few MIGHT say something offensive.

      There are TWO huge aspects to Big Tech Censorship.

      The first is that it runs afoul of the “who decides” dilema.
      The second is that Amazon is doing so premptively.

      I would further note – someone should take a careful look at S230 of the DMCA.

      It is most frequently understood as protection from defamation lawsuits.
      But it may be possible to read it as protection from breach of contract claims over the speech of users.

      I.e. I I can not sue Twitter because Someone defames me on Twitter,
      Then Amazon can not claim a breach of its contract with Parler because of the the content of Parler users.

  2. Congress has no authority over private property.

    The 5th Amendment right to private property is not qualified by the Constitution and is, therefore, absolute.

    Competition is the constitutional solution for market problems.

    Social media is not protected and does not enjoy “freedom of the press.”

    Congress has the power to legislate that social media be “taken for public use” and effect its operation as a state-regulated monopoly per the 5th Amendment.

    1. Congress has no authority over private property? You really think that?

      Do you pay Income Taxes, Social Security Taxes, Federal Excise Taxes, EPA fees for Tire Disposal……get real….every time they take a penny from you they are taking your private property…..money you have earned through the fruits of your labor.

      1. The 5th Amendment right to private property is not qualified by the Constitution and is, therefore, absolute.
        ____________________________________________________________________________________

        “[Private property is] that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual.”

        – James Madison
        ______________

        Taxation for security notwithstanding and per Article 1, Section 8, Congress has the power to tax for ONLY “…general Welfare…,” omitting and, thereby, excluding any power to tax for individual welfare, specific welfare, charity or any form of redistribution of wealth. The entire communist American welfare state is unconstitutional, including but not limited to, affirmative action, quotas, welfare, food stamps, rent control, social services, forced busing, minimum wage, utility subsidies, WIC, TANF, HAMP, HARP, TARP, Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Labor, Energy, Obamacare, Social Security, Social Security Disability, Social Security Supplemental Income, Medicare, Medicaid, “Fair Housing” laws, “Non-Discrimination” laws, etc.

        – General – All

        – Welfare – Well Proceed

        Article 1, Section 8

        The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;…
        ______________________________________________________

        The singular American failure has been and is the rancid and totally corrupt judicial branch, with emphasis on the Supreme Court.

        The penalty for these entities must be harsh, severe and exemplary.
        ______________________________________________________

        “…courts…must…declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void.”

        “…men…[will]…do…what their powers do not authorize, [and] what they forbid.”

        “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

        – Alexander Hamilton

    2. 5A:
      No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

      I do ot see an absolute right to private property there.

  3. I used to believe the judiciary ruled by the laws made in this country. This no longer seems to be the case. Many of the judges today rule on behalf of their own ideals not law. There is no hope. Tell me how this is not true – go ahead & fight for the profession to which you write about but put no skin in the game. How will you step forward to protect that which had been built & is now crumbling?

    1. Well, HELLO!!!

      The singular American failure since 1860 has been and continues to be the judicial branch, with emphasis on the Supreme Court, for which impeachment and removal should have occurred.

      The entire American welfare state is unconstitutional as Article 1, Section 8, provides Congress the power to tax for ONLY “…general Welfare…,” omitting and, thereby, excluding any power to tax for individual

      or specific welfare, charity or any other form of redistribution of wealth;

      as the 5th Amendment right to private property is not qualified by the Constitution and is, therefore, absolute, providing Congress no power to “claim or exercise dominion” over the private property of

      individuals;

      and as Congress has the power to regulate ONLY the value of money, the flow of commerce and land and naval Forces.
      _______________________________________________________________________________________________

      “…courts…must…declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void.”

      “…men…[will] do…what their powers do not authorize, [and] what [their powers] forbid.”

      “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

      – Alexander Hamilton
      ________________

      “[Private property is] “that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual.”

      – James Madison

      1. “Is, therefore, absolute, providing Congress no power to “claim or exercise dominion” over the private property of individuals”

        It is not absolute. The Fifth Amendment says property cannot be taken without due process, and, it cannot be taken without compensation.

        The issue of General Welfare is up for discussion since that is a murky term.

    2. The TOTAL failure of the courts was self evident just before this election.

      5 of the 6 key states constitutionally require secret ballots.
      Mailin voting is not and can not be secret ballots.

      These laws and executive fiats were challenged. The courts either decided wrongly or punted until after the election – hoping it would not matter.

      Secret ballots are constitutionally required in 28 states specifically because of the massive election fraud in the 19th century.

      We just invited that back.

      Regardless, if you beleive that mailin voting is such a great idea – do the work that is required to change your states constitution.

      You do not have “the rule of law” when you do not follow the law or constitution.

      You do not have the rule of law when the executive – even with the prematur of the courts ignores the law and constitution.

      Government does not exist without the trust of the people.

      Governors, and the courts have undermined that trust.

  4. Freedom of speech is either free for all or not at all.

    We cannot have filters where real freedom of speech is to exist.

    As an illustration, take abortion as an issue. A liberal person who supports a women’s right to choose can and will most likely be offended by a pro-life advocate that attacks the pro-abortion stance. Likewise, a pro-life person will most likely be offended by a pro-abortion advocate that attacks the pro-life stance.

    Both are right in their mind, but unfortunately, both are intolerant and unwilling to listen to the other’s side arguments and beliefs. A dialog is not an option. Attack, offend, and insult is the norm. The truth is that there is no right or wrong opinion, and both must be respected and allowed to be published as written or expressed by the author. The offense is the intolerance that interferes with allowing others to express their views, opinions, and feelings, regardless of the words. Hate is a human trait that will always exist. We need to accept this simple fact. Hate and malice come in all forms, with kindness, rudeness, and cruelness; nevertheless, hate and malice are profound expressions regardless of the envelope. You may or may not agree, that does not mean you or anyone can suppress the freedom of expression or have the right to do so.

    When we have social media platforms making a judgment call on what is acceptable and not, freedom of speech is no longer free. It is subject to an editorial review, subject to the human’s beliefs and state of mind behind the review, far from objective or free. In my opinion, this is the seed of censorship and control of the masses.

    The bottom line for me is that social media need to adhere to freedom of speech for all or not at all. If the social media platforms choose to filter and censor, they must clarify that any content is subject to their opinion of acceptable. Clarify in no uncertain terms that intolerance is based solely on their opinion. Social media filtering based on ever-changing standards is fascism.

    I will clarify, I am a social liberal and fiscal conservative and not a Trump supporter. I am waiting for a leader who understands that a middle ground exists and has a passion for creating equal opportunity, fiscal responsibility, and seeks prosperity for a county with talent and practically unlimited resources. I thought Obama was it, but I was entirely wrong.

    1. President Trump is perfectly capable of holding a press conference…of setting up a podium out in front of the WH and saying whatever he likes. No one is stopping him. Let him use his vast resources to create an alternative to Twitter or Parler…or any of the other services that have told him to scram.

      1. “President Trump is perfectly capable of holding a press conference…of setting up a podium out in front of the WH and saying whatever he likes. No one is stopping him.”

        He is – and he is already doing that. And I bet you have no clue whatr he has said – because he has been censored.

        If Trump announced today they found a cure for cancer – you would not hear about it until Jan 21.

        “Let him use his vast resources to create an alternative to Twitter or Parler…or any of the other services that have told him to scram.”

        It is unlikely Trump will do that. But I can assure you that it will happen. I would further note that old school liberals in the DOJ are already investigating Big Tech for anti-trust violations. These people want to break up monopolies -and Big Tech just asked for it big time.

        They have also pissed off european leaders – who have no love of Trump. The leaders of countries all over the world have just learned that if Big Tech can take down a US president – what is Chancelloer of Germany ?

        It will be interesting to see if EU politicians suddenly become champions of political free speech.

        Regardless, alternatives are certain. I expect the rise of P2P social media – because no one can take it down.
        You have just forced Republicans into bed with Crypto.

        You have won a phyric victory

      1. Prairie I won’t link to it but Crenshaw created a super macho cartoonish video of himself as some kind of super hero beating up supposed enemies of Loeffler and Perdue ahead of the run-off. We don’t need more of that fascist aesthetic after getting rid of Trump.

        1. I guess I saw a different version than you did. I didn’t see anyone getting beat up. I thought it was funny. I’m glad he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He most certainly does NOT have a ‘fascist aesthetic’.

          His interview on Joe Rogan was quite good.

        2. i saw it. In the vid he makes a HALO jump.

          Here’s the thing. Seeing as how Crenshaw was a SEAL, he most certainly HAS made HALO jumps. He’s got a right to the aesthetic that took the sight of his eye in battle

          Anyhow, the video was funny, there was nothing wrong with it. It was for fun.

          Sal Sar

    2. Mill makes clear the fundimental problem with censorship

      “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion… Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them…he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.”

      The only way you know the real strength of your own arguments or the real weakness of your opponents is if all are given the opportunity to make their best case and subject to the best criticism their is.

      Silence one party and you weaken the other.

    1. I do not think Taibbi’s article is very well written – BUT he makes a very large number of significant points – some only cursorily.

    2. Nothing happened to Tabibi, he’s still the male Camille Paglia ankle biting “liberal” who is always fighting with other liberals while praising or ignoring right wingers. His act is as old and irrelevant as Paglia’s.

      1. Paglia is a genius about many things which are far deeper than the politics of the day. Though she has some good ideas about that too.

        It’s not surprising you consider her “irrelevant”

      2. “Tabibi, he’s still the male Camille Paglia ankle biting “liberal” who is always fighting with other liberals while praising or ignoring right wingers.”

        Not true, Joe Friday.

        You must not be paying attention.

      3. Taibbi ? Greenwald ? Derschowitz, The Weinsteins, Rubin, Rowling, Martinalova,
        Haidt, Harris, Heying, Murray, Peterson, Pinker,

        On and on.

        You are losing real liberals, and moderates.
        They may not become conservatives.

        But they are increasingly your enemy.

  5. Trump once described Twitter as a “free newspaper”. He could put out whatever he wanted for free, and without holding a news conference with those pesky reporters asking him questions. Truth is, the stage was set for the Trump Insurrection via Twitter. The constant lying by Trump about stolen votes, which stirred up the disciples, including the call to arms for January 6th, was via Twitter.

    Twitter is a private company. As such, it has the right to make and enforce whatever rules it chooses, and to remove posters who don’t follow the rules. This isn’t censorship, and if further violent insurrections got organized via Twitter, after they were on notice of how their platform was being used, they could be liable. Trump has no right to require any private company to allow him to lie, stir up trouble and organize an insurrection using their platform.

        1. Hell, I got suspended for a day off of twitter for suggesting to trump that he punch himself in the face upon awakening.

          Elvis Bug

        2. But we already know that no one on the left has a clue what an actual threat of violence is.

          Further, you are wrong.

          There are plenty of actual threats of violence from those on the left all the time.

          Antifa openly advocates for a violent revolution and is all over facebook and twitter.

          Further Big tech tends to take things down that it does not like FIRST, and then try to make up a reason.

          Twitter is facing a 500M defamation lawsuit – without any S230 protection because they calimed that the Biden laptop information was hacked or russian disinformation.

          It was neither and as a result the Computer store owner received death threats had to close his business and move to another state.

          Big Tech is protected from claims based on what others say. It is NOT protected for its own claims.

          If Big Tech takes down a poster for “inviting violence” – they had better have actually incited violence – as otherwise the takedown is defamation BY Big Tech – and not protected by S230.

      1. Nor has the Ayatollah of Iran that has been calling for the death of America and Israel since 1979 and has funded terrorist attacks and deaths of citizens of both countries. The CCP also gets to promote their forced sterilization of Uighur women as liberating them. These US companies are ok with them.

    1. Well said Turley. More democrats and RINOs need to speak out immediately against this orchestrated, disgusting conduct by the tech oligarchy. This is so much worse for the country than anything Trump ever said or did,

      1. The most important response – is not that of our govenrment. It is ours.

        Quit using Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter.

        If you really can’t – reduce your use as much as possible.

        There is no chance at this point that I will ever operate a business that depends on services by Google or Amazon.

        Very small changes in consumption can have dramatic impact.

        It does not require half the country to abandon Twitter or Facebook.

        Low single digits will negatively impact sales and stock prices.
        Shareholders do not care about free speech. They do care about the bottom line.

        Again if you can not quit – reduce.

        Regardless this was an enormous mistake. It will at best give temporary respite and worse it will divide us further into warring camps.

        I have been on Parler for some time. I have an account on Gab, but Gab was just too extreme for me.

        Parler IS more extremist, more onesided.
        Gab is even more so.

        It is not good for the country to have the left and right in independent bubbles.

        Big Tech censorship will not in the long run silence the right.

        It will marginalize some and it will make them more extreme, and it will increase the likelyhood of violence.

    2. I hope your ideas & thoughts are the next to be stomped on by big tech. They won’t stop with conservatives or even moderate liberals. Their thoughts are the only ones that count. There will be no individual voices in the USA.

    3. You miss the point. Nice try. Turley isn’t saying the tech oligarchs can’t legally do what they’ve done. He’s saying what they’re doing to Parler is extremely dangerous. And he’s obviously right about that.

      1. While I will argue agains the actions of “Big Tech”.

        Fundimentally I beleive they have made an enormous mistake.

        I will not likely completely cease to use apply, amazon, …. products – atleast not right away.

        But I had already started to reduce my dependence on them.

        I would not think of using Amazon for any critical business service anymore.
        They could get PO’d at something I or one of my employees posted and take down my business.

        I will do as little business as I can with businesses I can not trust.

        BTW I would react no different if Amazon took down ActBlue

        Big Tech does not have the power to enforce political censorship over the long run.

        And all this does is increase the division in the country and empower the most extreme on each side.

        Further this is likely to drive the development of P2P services – services that can not be taken down by big tech.
        This is a technology war that big tech can not win.

    4. “This isn’t censorship, and if further violent insurrections got organized via Twitter, after they were on notice of how their platform was being used, they could be liable.”

      Does this mean that anyone whose person, business, property was harmed by groups who, in the summer of 2020, organized and/or promoted violent insurrections on Twitter has a legitimate claim for financial damages against Twitter?

    5. “Trump once described Twitter as a “free newspaper”. He could put out whatever he wanted for free, and without holding a news conference with those pesky reporters asking him questions.”
      Yup. and available Biden, Clinton. Cruz, ….

      “Truth is”
      Since when to do yoy know what Truth is?

      “the stage was set for the Trump Insurrection via Twitter.”
      No insurection so your statement is necescarily false.
      Or was the Kavanaugh protest an insurection ?

      “The constant lying by Trump about stolen votes”
      No he said the election was stolen and it is probable he is correct.
      It was definitely lawless. When government does not follow the law and constitution it is lawless.
      When government is lawless it is illegitimate.

      While there was no insurection – when government is lawless actual insurection is justified.

      “which stirred up the disciples”
      As well as the apostles and just plain people you do not like – 75M of them.

      Do you get that – you hate 75M people – and we are supposed to beleive you are tolerant ?

      “including the call to arms for January 6th, was via Twitter.”
      The first shots were fired by the capital police.

      I have heard claims others fired, but thus far seen no evidence of it.
      What we saw was that Trump supporters have better gun discipline than the capital police.

      “Twitter is a private company. “:
      Yup

      “As such, it has the right to make and enforce whatever rules it chooses, and to remove posters who don’t follow the rules.”
      So long as it is not receiving special protection from defamation from the government.

      “This isn’t censorship”
      It is censorship – just because some censorship is permissible, does not change that it is sensorship.

      “and if further violent insurrections got organized via Twitter”
      Another false claim.
      As noted the primary violence – and the only murder was committed by the capital police.

      ” after they were on notice of how their platform was being used, they could be liable.”
      Except they can not – that is the entire point of section 230. P:rovide a Neutral public platform and you are immune from legal consequences of those who speak on that platform.

      You really are ignorant of the law.

      “Trump has no right to require any private company to allow him to lie, stir up trouble and organize an insurrection using their platform.”
      Or to tell the truth. Trump does nto have any rights with respect to Twitter.
      The actual harm of censorship is to everyone else.

      “If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”

      ― John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

    1. Olly, radio and TV companies use public airwaves under the jurisdiction of the FCC and you don’t seem to have a problem with censorship there. Can you explain that? There was a “fairness doctrine” requiring equal access to the public airwaves but Reagan and the “conservatives” ended that.

      1. radio and TV companies use public airwaves under the jurisdiction of the FCC and you don’t seem to have a problem with censorship there.

        What makes you believe I don’t have a problem with censorship there? They are regulated private companies, right? Should they receive 230 protections as well? If not, why not?

      2. Radio and TV are subject to defamation lawsuits.

        Social Media is not. The DMCA provided protection from Defamation for user postings in return for conforming to the same Neutral Public Platform requirements as cover government.

        Regardless, Government can not grant SM freedom from defamation lawsuits without subjecting them to government free speach constraints.

    2. The internet today is wholly private in the US.

      While section 203 should be repealed – this was an incredible stupid act on the part of Big Tech.

      I will not host anything with Amazon or google – I am not betting any of my businesses on the possibility that Amazon or google will take them down.

      Parler will be back soon – if not there is Gab. Further this will drive the development of P2P social media.

      This will also radically alter tech politics. Republicans are going to be forced to embrace libertarain and anarcho-capitalist technology.
      This will slowly get them to understand P2P and Crytpo.

        1. Freedom includes the right of those who are defamed to recover damages.

          You do not understand Freedom.

          It is not immunity from responsibility, it is liberty from prior restraint.

          Regardless, the S230 deal was – If you are not a publisher and do not make editorial decisions over content you are not responsible for what others post. Once you start making editorial decisions regarding content you are not entitled to special protections.

          I would further note that S230 confers on Social Media the freedom from liability that government has. It essentially makes SM a government agent, and government agents are bound by the First Amendment in the way Government is.

          SM may censor as they please – so long as that censorship is entirely subject to market constraints.

          When government removes market constraints, SM becomes subject to the free speech constraints of government.

          You can not give SM power or immunity without responsibility. That would violate equal protection.

    3. Olly, good question. Yes they do. The internet that they exploit, and rule as their own,, was built by government on the taxpayer’s dime and companies like FB and Google were seeded by CIA’s venture capital firm inqtel and apple uses many many patents that were developed by government funded research.

      Hence they are basically big subsidized utilities and should be regulated accordingly

      Saloth Sar

      1. Actually they do not use infrastructure paid for publicly.

        The left likes to claim this about the Internet, but it is not true.

        Some of the DEVELOPMENT of the early software was paid for by DARPA, Most of the software was paid for by colleges and universities.
        The infrastructure however has always been private.

  6. They are no longer Democrats. A quick internet search, socialist/ communist in congress tells the story.

    1. Jake,. I get tired of saying this, but the Democrat leadership of today, is stronly supported by the major global corporations of today, and the billionaires of today

      they are no more “socialist” or “communist” than the Republicans are. In fact they are quite possibly, less so

      Every modern nation is a mixed economy. Maybe not the DPRK. or maybe even them. the meaning of “socialist” and “communist” are mostly historical designations that hold no use today

      Moreover, if you dislike what the Democrat leadership is doing, I have an ironic suggestion to make. Study the history of Asian Communist movements, and you will see what was really just nationalism versus foreigners and their big money lackeys.

      Nationalism versus foreigners and their big money lackeys, might actually be a winning strategy. You just have to look past the labels.

      Saloth Sar

  7. Problem is professor this will only escalate because there are no restraints on the blood thirsty in government and the internet oligarchs and the laws will soon be changed to go beyond free speech. Confiscation of the guns of private citizens will be of top priority under the guise of deterring anything like what happened last Wednesday. I would not be surprised if those changes start next week.

  8. The Hypocrisy of Facebook, Apple, Et Al.

    Here’s what they say: We refuse to do business with those who promote violence against the innocent.

    Here’s what they do:

    The “State Council” app is the official app of the communist Chinese government. (I.e., it’s an app for dictators.) The app is available at both the Google and Apple stores. Worse than that, both companies actively support that bloody dictatorship by conducting business in China.

    You cannot credibly claim to be against violence directed at the innocent, while openly supporting China’s violence against its own innocent citizens.

    The dictatorial butchers in Iran and Syria have Twitter and Facebook accounts.

    At some point, it becomes absurd to claim: “We’re shutting down Trump, Parler, et al. because we oppose any calls for violence against the innocent.”

    Such hypocrisy tells you two things: 1) They are not serious about their stated motivation. 2) Their stated motivation masks an ulterior motive.

  9. “ However, the social media companies were created as forums for speech.”
    I disagree; they were created to generate revenue through ad sales.
    Private companies should be free to discriminate against anyone, anywhere for whatever reason.

    1. Yep that’s why Colin Kaepernick had NO first amendment RIGHT to take a knee. It was given to him by his team owners.

    2. “Private companies should be free to discriminate against anyone, anywhere for whatever reason.”

      That is correct – they should be allowed to discriminate against blacks and gays and muslims and transfendered and women and the handicapped.

      But they should not be provided special government protection.

      If New York Times publishes a lie about someone they can be sued for defamation.

      Because the the DMCA – Google and twitter and facebook can not.

  10. What are the odds the folks over at DHS view the suppression of free speech as a positive deterrent to those inclined to violent behavior? Has Big Tech made this country more safe by removing accounts and platforms our DHS was actively monitoring? A more cynical question is what are the consequences for our national security when foreign and domestic terrorists still plot activities, but now in the dark? Consider this: H.R. 5717 (116th): Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act of 2020 did not get a vote in the last congress. Are our 2nd amendment rights being setup for violation once a terrorist event happens because it was not detected? Is our nation being setup for another foreign war?

  11. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are politicians who DAILY make FALSE and/or MISLEADING statements. DAILY LYING to the public is part of a career politician “doing what they have to do” as Nancy Pelosi herself has said.

    Then their Fake News media allies REPEAT their false statements, AS IF TRUE, over and over again and claim that it is only Trump and Republicans who are the big liars.

    This is the Big Lie.

    The Fake News Media, and Big Tech censorship largely calls out, labels, and corrects the lies from only one side of the political ideological spectrum.

    More and more people are waking up as we watch the Democrats, Big Tech, and Big Media all colluding and coordinating together in a massive silencing and censoring of their political opposition.

    It will only get worse from here as the Biden administration comes into power, unchecked by the press, unchecked by Big Tech, unchecked by weak, feckless establishment Republicans, unchecked by anyone, really, for the next two years.

    America, if you can keep her.

  12. So Turley, yelling fire in a crowded theater should be free speech, even if the theater is not on fire? Another Trump or Goebbels should be free to spread lies and misinformation to the public with no dissent, no checking of facts or truth? Have no accountability for the lie? Turley calls it a attack on free speech, some would call it an attack on democracy itself.

      1. The difference is I look up whether politicians, Republicans or Democrat’s are lying, you just accept the lie coming from the one side only. Do your homework on what is or not being said.

    1. Fire in a crowded theater? Really? Wow. Calling for peaceful protest is just like knowingly, falsely yelling fire in a crowded theater. Nice analogy.

      1. Yelling fire in a crowded theater is actually protected speech – despite myriads of claims otherwise.

        It is not incitement to violence. And if there is no actual fire the theater owner has multiple remedies – there is a tort and possibly a contract claim against the partron – for lost revenue, and the patron can be banned for life.

        No government needed.

    2. “Goebbels should be free to spread lies and misinformation to the public with no dissent, no checking of facts or truth?”

      They already have been. And now they want to silence dissent.

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