“Never-Trumpers” Amy Peikoff & Benjamin Chayes have an interesting article on the Trump Lawsuits against Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube; the application and scope of Section 230 (“while correct in principle, has, according to Justice Clarence Thomas and others, been applied in an overbroad manner”); and the government pressuring private companies to behave as state actors (fascism). Write the pair in Real Clear Politics:
“In its rebuttal to The Social Dilemma, Facebook insisted that, contrary to the documentary, it does work to remove “misinformation” and “hate speech.” In multiple hearings before legislators, Facebook and other platforms were warned that they must remove more such content — or else. And now, after revoking former President Donald Trump’s executive action concerning the legal protections for online platforms in Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, it seems the Biden Administration is calling in the favor by encouraging Facebook and other platforms to remove coronavirus “misinformation.” Yet the removal of some of this content — and the de-platforming of some who posted it — forms the basis for Mr. Trump’s lawsuits. Why? Because much of this content is, however baseless or offensive, nonetheless legal, and therefore protected by the First Amendment against censorship by state actors.”
Our politicians, unfortunately, seem to approve of this arrangement, so long as they get credit for pressuring the platforms to remove content they and their “base” find undesirable. And the tech companies seem happy to continue the charade, self-identifying as private actors operating in a free market.