Protecting Free Speech and Due Process Values on Dominant Social Media Platforms

April 1, 2022

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In recent years, dominant social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have been increasingly perceived as engaging in discrimination against conservative and right-wing viewpoints – especially by conservatives themselves. Such concerns were exacerbated by Twitter and Facebook’s deplatforming of then-President Trump in response to the president’s tweets and posts leading up to and during the January 6th insurrection. Trump’s deplatforming, coupled with the recent actions taken by the platforms in removing Covid- and election-related misinformation, led to cries of censorship by conservative and increased calls for regulation of the platforms. Supreme Court Justice Thomas took up this charge (in an opinion relating to a different controversy involving Trump’s Twitter practices) and suggested a regulatory path forward for lawmakers seeking to hold the platforms liable for alleged viewpoint discrimination against and censorship of conservative voices. Justice Thomas’s suggested playbook for regulation was adopted by several state and federal lawmakers, who have proposed a host of legislative measures designed to address these concerns.

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