“Private corporations are private,” Stanford Law School professor Nate Persily said, laying out the fundamental rationale for concluding that social media entities are entitled to regulate their user’s speech. “They don’t have to respect the First Amendment. They, in fact, have First Amendment rights themselves.”
Still, as Persily writes in an analysis for Oxford Press, social media’s “consolidated corporate domination” of the marketplace for speech makes plenty of people uncomfortable. For that reason, he says, it’s legitimate to question whether each company’s moderation standards support or erode the goals of the First Amendment.
“The community standards of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube would all be unconstitutional if they were enacted by a government,” Persily says. The ways in which they restrict speech, whether by removing nudity or political statements, for example, go beyond what the First Amendment would allow from a government.Read More