Foes of the social media companies and their censors are using pretzel logic to try to justify the imposition of the First Amendment on them. However, ties to the government don’t make a private company part of the government, and the First Amendment applies to the federal government and no other entity. From Michael S. Rozoff at lewrockwell.com:
Ann Coulter says
“We need to apply the First Amendment to social media companies like Twitter, Facebook, and Google, because it is a public square, and there is precedent for that and it’s gotta be done…”
I present arguments against her suggestion. I realize fully that these companies have important connections to government including contracts, data sharing and products being developed that further the surveillance state. My argument against Coulter’s suggestion is pertinent to speech, which was her concern, not these other links.
Coulter is speaking out of emotion, confusion, needless desperation and ignorance. The First Amendment restricts Congress. It cannot be “applied” to speech on social media company platforms or to these companies themselves. They are not government. They are private associations. A corporation is a nexus of contracts accomplished by private persons. Her suggestion is impractical, unconstitutional and anti-freedom.
Coulter is actually calling for the government to enforce diversity of speech within these companies. Her diversity agenda is directed to speech, not other matters like hiring; but it’s no different in kind than the government controls that leftists demand when they advocate diversity or extend the idea of non-discrimination into areas where it doesn’t belong.
What Coulter wants is actually not free speech but its opposite, which is “fair” access to speech on social media platforms or “equal opportunity” to speak on these platforms. She wants non-discrimination by these media among those proffering speech. This is not free speech as exercised by the companies. A media platform or site or operation would not be allowed to shape a social communications product adhering to a given non-diverse or exclusive viewpoint. Coulter’s suggestion rules out companies devoted on political matters to particular audiences. There could not be companies devoted to conspiracy theories, fascist ideas, communist ideas, conservative ideas, progressive ideas, socialist ideas, etc. Diversity in speech enforced by government is not free speech at all, whether based upon the First Amendment or any other amendment or provision.
To continue reading: Ann Coulter is Wrong on Controlling Facebook, Twitter and Google