Does this also mean that Facebook can no longer just delete content that they disagree with?
In what may prove to be a significant precedent, a US appeals court has ruled that Facebook represents a public forum and the First Amendment on freedom of expression applies. That means, in America at least, public officials using social media are legally obliged to make their accounts accessible to citizens, and are …
"It would be nice if FB would be upfront about censoring conservatives"
I upvoted you because _IF_ FB is a _PUBLIC_ forum, how could their disagreement with your conversation result in silencing you without explaining the reason to anyone who asked for it? Permitting that in a public forum is a hush tactic that is almost certainly illegal in some way, as records should be kept for inquiry, at least in a real public forum. Apparently FB is a public...forum.
I think this particular "public forum" is only happy to be one when it suits the bottom line. Facebook is corrupt dude, Mark Zuckerberg deserves life in prison.
But what constitutes hate speech depends on which side of the issue you are on. I hate fascists, for example, would cause no stir. Post that you hate LBTGQs and you will be banned.
Also, people interpreted support for one thing as being hate for the other. If someone were to say, I love white cars, someone will immediately claim you are posting hate for black cars. But is that true? Does preference for one thing mean hatred for the other? I personally believe you can prefer one thing and be completely apathetic about other similar objects; hate is not simply the lack of love, but incorporates a degree of ill will and a wish for harm.
Then, finally, there are groups who believe you disagree with what you do, then you are espousing hate. The ‘hate the sin, but love the sinner’ concept is completely beyond their comprehension.
And if you think Conservatives are primarily the ‘haters’, then you are just espousing your own hatred (using your opinion of what passes for hate). They have OPINIONS that differ from you. I seriously doubt that you have seen more examples of ill will or wishing harm on others by Conservatives than any other group.
Allowing Facebook to monitor and control information then could be seen to set the precedent that while Public Officials may not control free speech, corporate entities working in the interest of those political entities can. Giving them a legal work around necessary to control free speech even if by proxy.
It depends on what is an "announcement" of government policy. It all seems very subjective. I guess we'll have to let a judge decide, which will then lead to having higher judges decide on THAT decision.
I'm wondering when we allowed the judiciary to make all our laws for us. Wasn't that supposed to be the job of elected officials?
I've always wondered about the disconnect between the demands of strict constitutionalists and their understanding of the constitution.
(A poll (a while ago) had something like 25%+ of Americans agreeing Trump could restrict what newspapers print, meaning they were against the first amendment...!?)
MAAA - Make America Autocratic Again
"A" poll? And only 25% "agree" that Trump should nationalize the media under his rule? Pathetic. Any push-poller worth his salt can easily arrange a poll that shows at least 40% calling for Trump to be put to death, just for being too orange!
It is to laugh.
Co-equal, but with different responsibilities. Courts are to rule, yes or no, on the Constitutionality of laws, not “this law does not meet Constitutional requirements, so we’re going to change it to this,” or worse, “we’re going to change what the wording of the Constitution means.”
If a law doesn’t pass muster, then it should be nullified and left to the legislature to make appropriate changes. Moreover, if there is a huge grey area of what is permissible, they need to leave the decisions to the lawmakers as well.
Reminds me of reading that back in the immediate aftermath of Watergate and the revalation that Nixon had been taping everything in the Oval office that lawyers for the state and Nixon had to sit down and listen to all the tapes and argue on an almost word-by-word basis whether bit was state business and thus to be archived or personal and be cut.
Similarly, when the BBC did a documentary on IRA members in the H-Blocks during the time where IRA/Sinh Fein representatives couldn't be broadcast (but could have their statements lip synced by an "actor") that the producers took the documentary to the BBC lawyers with a sense of trepidation that they would be told it couldn't be broadcast with out dubbing everyone ... only to be told that the lawyer's legal opinion was almost all recordings of prisoners were from the acting in a personal capactity and thus could be broadcast apart from one small section where one of them was acting as a spokesman for the others (and thus was "representing the IRA") and complaining to the Prison Caterers over the quality of the sausages that had been sered for lunch!
If choosing a conservative judge is "stacking," would choosing a liberal one be "unstacking?"
BTW, the usual definition of the word "stack" in reference to courts is to add MORE seats to the court, the way FDR tried to do, not filling existing vacancies the way Trump and every other president has done.
Please don't try to redefine perfectly good words, okay? It confuses the issue for no good reason.
"BTW, the usual definition of the word "stack""
No, it isn't. The idiom "stack the deck" comes from cards, of course, and means making arrangements for unfair practice. It says nothing about adding additional "cards". Any mechanism which unfairly influences the outcome is "stacking".
"It says nothing about adding additional "cards".
Politics aside here... Do you mean adding cards to the deck isn't "stacking"? As it most certainly is. "Ace up your sleeve" doesn't imply origin of the Ace, but it does imply a mutation of the shared stack, thus stacking.
So he wasn't able to be blocked as he was a US citizen, and the people suing Trump for him blocking them on Twitter say he can't because they are also US citizens.
Now forgive me as I'm on good flu medication, but doesn't that mean that in order to stop this occurring and in the public's best interests a US person needs to provide details of citizenship to social media so politicians don't accidentally block them? Or at least that's how it could be interpreted.
Not really, you could be someone with a green card or visa and live/work in that area so engagement with local auhorities would still be seen as able to engage with them. Realistically public forum is just that, the public, so you don't really even need to live in that area etc either.
The easy answer is to not use social media certain ways. Maybe don't allow comments, have all questions through a different webpage where they can define their T&C's themselves? Or do what others do, if it's swearing or abusive or libelous you can still remove their posts, just not ban them.
"The easy answer is to not use social media certain ways. "
Perhaps public officials could just accept that they need two accounts, cannot block or censor free speech on the job-related one, and therefore ought to be careful what they say (and provoke) on that account.
Then, and harking back to dozens of El Reg articles from the last 20 years, perhaps *employers* could just chill and accept that what goes on in a *private* social media account is *not* a reason to sack someone.
An interesting question: would the government have the right to block Russian trolls from posting? If so, where and how would you draw the lines of who could or could not post? If not, are we just inviting more intrusion and interference in our political process by foreign governments?
would the government have the right to block Russian trolls from posting?
Assuming you're talking about the US Federal government, and by "the right" you mean whether such action is likely to withstand scrutiny by SCOTUS, then probably no. The First Amendment's prohibition on prior restrictions on the press does not apply only to publications by citizens.
With the States I think it's less clear. Common wisdom is that the Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment, applies to the States only due to the Fourteenth Amendment. And the Fourteenth does refer explicitly to citizenship: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens...". The second clause, requiring due process, applies to "any person", but doesn't appear to cover freedom of expression.
That leaves the third clause, the famous "equal protection" one. That applies to "any person". But does it mean that all rights of citizens are automatically conferred on non-citizens? Historically it has not been interpreted that way, of course; otherwise there'd be no advantage to holding citizenship.
There are also questions of jurisdiction. The equal-protection clause applies to "any person within [the state's] jurisdiction", and typically Russian trolls aren't physically in any of the US states. And how exactly would a state go about banning some activity on a website anyway? Does the site need to be controlled by a party resident in the state? Or with a "physical presence", the rule used for assessing sales tax for Internet sales?
IANAL and all that.
If not, are we just inviting more intrusion and interference in our political process by foreign governments?
Irrelevant. I don't think you're going to find a bottle big enough for that genii. Foreign governments interfere with one another; that's a thing that has never not been true, for as long as governments have existed.
A recently elected congresswomen called out the representatives and senators who hold dual American and Israeli citizenships as having divided loyalties causing cry's of anti-Semitic speech. This isn't the forum for arguing if it is or isn't. My question is can an elected official block it as hate speech., Or for that matter would Facebook just block it and the subject would never be debated.
Irrelevant to the existing case, which is about government officials using a particular feature of a social-media platform for what can be seen as official statements, and whether such officials can block readers or respondents.
In the Facebook case, Randall had a Facebook page she treated as an official government forum. The court ruled she cannot block someone from that page, because it serves as such a forum.
In the Twitter case, the courts have ruled that Trump is using his Twitter account as an official channel of public communication, and so he is not allowed to block people from it. Same reasoning: when acting as a public official, your right to restrict access to your public communications is limited.
Your example says nothing about where the communication is taking place, and in particular whether it might reasonably be considered an official channel. More importantly, in this context, you're not asking about whether the official making the statement is trying to block access to the channel. And that's what these cases are about.
Finally, in the US, an official acting as such has very limited scope to suppress any expression, regardless of who might consider it "hate speech". SCOTUS has (unfortunately) given the FCC considerable leeway in constraining expression in certain media in certain circumstances,1 but that doesn't apply to social media.
In short: No.
On the other hand, nothing prevents Facebook or other soc-med companies from blocking or removing anything they (don't) want. Freedom of the press is for those who own the presses. They're not obliged to reproduce anyone's expression.
1Based on a medieval dread of communications which can "penetrate walls". Seriously, that decision was just short of calling radio witchcraft. A pathetic display of the fear of change.
> "A recently elected congresswomen called out the representatives and senators who hold dual American and Israeli citizenships..."
Wow, so merely being Jewish means one is a citizen of Israel? So why can't all Jews worldwide vote in Israeli elections? That's messed up!
What a stupid idea. If the municipal authority was able to deny people access to Facebook or from mentioning their name in a derogatory sense AT ALL, there might be an argument.
Spamming a moderated page is something else. It'd be primarily used for announcements, and while they might allow feedback in general, that can always be temporary. They can set it to no-comments if they wish.
If they're going to enforce something to say members of the public are able to say anything wherever they like, if you go and spraypaint the town hall with graffiti, you can't be arrested for that either? Freedom of expression is an important right, but saying no to spam and abuse is not curtailing someone's right to blather on their own platform/feed/whatever.
Would be nice to see this extended to the UK. I am currently blocked by my local MP because I dared to ask 2 questions. 1. How much, as a percentage of nights per year does he spend in his actual constituency and 2. Does he include private dinner parties with business associates in his list of MP surgeries? I knew the answers to both as I had been told them in private but wanted a public record. According to his website he did enough MP surgeries to do one every 3 days but of these only on a month were actually open to the public! Marcus Fysh - if you're wondering.
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