Social media moderation and the First Amendment

Kristine Frazao of Sinclair Broadcasting interviewed me for this clip, which ran on many broadcast stations from coast to coast, and also in this associated news article:

“In America, we’ve got First Amendment that controls what a government can do and by the same token it does not control what a newspaper can do, a radio station can do or what a social media platform can do,” said Walter Olson, a Senior Fellow at the Libertarian Cato Institute’s Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies.

In other words, social media platforms are private companies, and can, therefore, choose how to label content. Still, there have been concerns raised about political bias among these independent fact-checkers, and others concerned that pushing things underground or offline may breathe new life into conspiracy theories.

“There has always been a strong argument that the way to refute bad ideas is to get them out there so people can shoot at them,” Olson said in an interview Monday. “Air them out, put some sunshine against them, it’s healthy against a virus too, and against the virus [of] a thought.”

One Comment

  • All the big internet companies are “private companies” and not subject to First Amendment restriction? Not so sure, and in any event I think the concept needs investigating and pushed back against. “Internet Giants as Quasi-Governmental Actors and the Limits of Contractual Consent,”