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Tags: social media | ban | shadow ban

It's Time to Enforce Free Speech on Social Media

It's Time to Enforce Free Speech on Social Media

Michael Dorstewitz By Friday, 17 May 2019 12:11 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Although the First Amendment only prohibits the government from denying Americans freedom of speech, for a number of reasons that guarantee should extend to social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube as well.

These platforms have been discriminating — primarily against conservatives — for at least a year. It began by shadow banning accounts, then removing “offensive” posts, followed by temporarily suspending access, and finally permanently shutting down any account they deem offensive.

Social media’s discriminatory practices have resulted in the loss of income in many cases, and silenced conservative political voices.

Refusal of Service

The legal ordeals of Jack Phillips, the owner of Lakewood, Colorado’s Masterpiece Cakeshop, are legendary. He refused to participate in a same-sex wedding when asked to prepare a wedding cake for the event because it violated his religious beliefs.

After finally winning his case in the U.S. Supreme Court, he was tested again — this time for refusing to participate in a “gender transition” ceremony, making one wonder if Phillips ran the only bakery in all of Colorado.

Facebook, Twitter, and the rest, however, pretty much are the only game in town that offers a worldwide public megaphone, but their actions are far more egregious. They welcome you into the fold, make you a part of the family, and then slam the door in your face without warning.

Take the case of conservative activist Tanya Grimsley, who set up her own popular social media pages, including Allen West Republic, Great American Republic, Great American Army, as well as a personal one in her own name.

Last October, after 10 years with no complaints, without a hint of scandal, Twitter bounced her from its platform. Eleven days later Facebook did the same. She tells Newsmax in a telephone interview that repeated requests from her and others acting on her behalf to appeal their decision or just get an explanation went unanswered.

Apparently Twitter and Facebook’ didn’t care for Grimsley’s respectful, profanity-absent but conservative voice.

Income Loss

The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the ability to pursue one’s profession or “common calling” is a fundamental right protected under the Privileges and Immunities Clause.

Websites make money from advertisers who pay according to the traffic the sites generate. The greater the traffic, the higher the income.

Grimsley had approximately 1 million followers on her Allen West Republic page alone, and when Twitter and Facebook bounced her from the platforms, income plummeted.

That was her part-time job. Her full-time position was as social media manager for Liberty Alliance LLC., which manages multiple conservative accounts.

When Facebook bounced Grimsley, it also deleted several heavy-hitting Liberty Alliance accounts, and although Grimsley didn’t set them up, she managed them. Accordingly, in order to keep its remaining accounts afloat, Liberty Alliance had to release Grimsley form her position, and her comfortable salary disappeared with it.

Silencing Political Speech

Of all types of speech subject to protection, political speech earns a special place.

The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that political speech, being the most protected form of speech under the First Amendment, warrants the greatest degree of scrutiny against the laws that regulate it.

Political speech is important because it forms opinions, requires us to think, and ultimately sets public policy that affects everyone.

Fighting Back

A documentary film, “You Can’t Watch This,” was released Wednesday, chronicling the plight of the now-silenced conservative voices who have been booted from social media.

Recently de-platformed Jewish American activist/gonzo journalist Laura Loomer emphasized the need for conservatives to not take it lying down.

“If we don't fight back and if we don't do something soon I’m worried that we may fall, we may lose what makes this country great and that is the fact that we have free speech,” Loomer says in the film’s trailer.

The White House is getting involved also.

“The Trump Administration is fighting for free speech online,” it tweeted. “No matter your views, if you suspect political bias has caused you to be censored or silenced online, we want to hear about it!”

It then directs you to a page where it says, “too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear ‘violations’ of user policies.”

Sone of those once-powerful voices have had enough and hung up their spurs.

Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, better known as “Joe the Plummer,” lost three Facebook accounts at about the same time as did Grimsley. After that he pulled out of politics and social media altogether — as did Grimsley, who still has one goal.

“I just want to get on long enough to get my pictures and videos of my 13-year-old child, because you got him from the time he was three,” she tells Newsmax. “All of my memories are there.”

And America wants its freedom back.

Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports - Click Here.

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Although the First Amendment only prohibits the government from denying Americans freedom of speech, for a number of reasons that guarantee should extend to social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube as well.
social media, ban, shadow ban
Friday, 17 May 2019 12:11 PM
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