If you’re a media platform you take all comers, with narrow exceptions, and you get certain legal exemptions under federal law. If you’re a publisher, you can discriminate against or promote any viewpoint you want, but you don’t get the exemptions platforms get. Perhaps Twitter, YouTube and the like started as platforms, but they are clearly not platforms anymore, they are publishers, discriminating against and for various viewpoints. There’s nothing at all remarkable about President Trump’s executive order, he’s applying the law in the way that comports with this reality. Somebody did some smart lawyering for Trump, the executive order is a nice piece of work. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
Update (2045ET): The full text of the executive order has been published (the final order is essentially identical to a ‘draft’ copy leaked to the press last night):
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By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Free speech is the bedrock of American democracy. Our Founding Fathers protected this sacred right with the First Amendment to the Constitution.
The freedom to express and debate ideas is the foundation for all of our rights as a free people.
In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand pick the speech that Americans may access and convey on the internet. This practice is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic.
When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power. They cease functioning as passive bulletin boards, and ought to be viewed and treated as content creators.
The growth of online platforms in recent years raises important questions about applying the ideals of the First Amendment to modern communications technology. Today, many Americans follow the news, stay in touch with friends and family, and share their views on current events through social media and other online platforms. As a result, these platforms function in many ways as a 21st century equivalent of the public square.