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Supreme Court To Hear Case Regarding Big Tech Censorship

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According to CNBC's coverage, "The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that could determine whether users can challenge social media companies on free speech grounds."

The case in question is Manhattan Community Access Corp v. Halleck, No. 17-702. ScotusBlog states that this particular case can be summarized as asking whether or not, "...the private operator of a public-access television channel is a 'state actor' – that is, someone who is acting on behalf of the government — who can therefore be sued for violations of the First Amendment." To explain the implications of this case and how it applies to social media censorship, the deliberation will be over,

...whether private property can be a public forum, a place traditionally open for public speech and debate, where the protections of the First Amendment are the strongest. And that question, says the Chicago Access Corporation, a foundation that runs public-access TV channels in that city, has become an important one lately, “as courts are increasingly being asked to consider whether privately owned internet platforms like Twitter and Facebook can ever be public forums.

Recent debates and accusations of bias among social media have been made into household topics by people such as Senator Ted Cruz, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, and President Trump himself with statements like "...they are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!" Sure enough, Google quite recently had a leak showing an internal memo "The Good Censor" where it proclaimed censorship of conservative ideas as a more or less utopian initiative for a better future.

According to an analysis by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Michigan, justices on the court appointed by GOP presidents tend to side with conservative free speech cases approximately 70% of the time. 

The researchers stated that under the leadership of Chief justice John Roberts, "More than any other modern Court, the Roberts Court has trained its sights on speech promoting conservative values."

According to PEW, 85% of Republicans and 62% of Democrats believe social media companies censor speech they disagree with. A conservative Supreme Court has the potential to solve this problem.

CNBC's coverage also noted that the survey revealed "4 in 10 Americans believe that the companies favor liberal speech."

The New American cited how social media companies deny their involvement in biased censorship even as they actively indulge in such behavior:

Despite being caught red-handed, the tech titans deny they censor conservatives. So says Twitter boss Jack Dorsey.

Google, which controls 90 percent of the searches on the Internet, said likewise, and Facebook honcho Mark Zuckerberg testified likewise before the Senate's Commerce and Judiciary Committee and the European Parliament. Facebook is a “neutral public forum,” he told Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Facebook is a “platform for all ideas.”

When Zuckerberg testified before the European Parliament, British conservative Nigel Farage observed that neither the election of Donald Trump nor the passage of the referendum for Britain to leave the European Union would have been possible without social media. Yet people with “majority mainstream opinions” are “willfully discriminated against.”

“Who decides what is acceptable, who are these ... third-party fact checkers?” he asked, referring to the leftist enforcers such as the Southern Poverty Law Center that police Amazon, Facebook, and YouTube.

This will likely be a landmark case for the future of free speech, social media, and American political discourse.

 

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