Government should force Google, Twitter, Facebook to allow free speech

Our Constitution protects our right of free speech from interference by the federal, state, and local governments.  But we have no such protection against interference by private multinational companies such as the social media giants Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

It is time for Congress to act to regulate social media to allow free speech consistent with the First Amendment.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment also applies to state and local government units such cities, school districts, and others under the 14th Amendment, which incorporates all of the First, Second, Fourth, and Eighth, and most of the Fifth and Sixth, Amendments of the Bill of Rights.

James Madison, who wrote most of our Constitution, did not believe we needed a Bill of Rights because the federal government was to be a government of limited powers.  Fortunately, Thomas Jefferson and others, along with states that demanded further limitation on the powers of the federal government, persuaded Madison on a Bill of Rights.

There is a historical progression to protect the right of free speech by the adoption of the Bill of Rights, and then the application of it to the states and local government units by the 14th Amendment.

The next step to protect free speech is requiring private companies in the social media business not to discriminate against those posting, blogging, or commenting on social media.

Censorship on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and others where these companies "moderate" posts made by their users has resulted in the removal of political statements, usually of conservative statements.

This censorship has been covered in detail by Tucker Carlson, of Fox, on his top-rated nightly show.

One solution to is to amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in "public accommodations" based on race, religion, national origin, sex, or color, to add discrimination based on political and other views.   Title II, which deals with public accommodations such as hotels and restaurants, can be amended to include discrimination by social media companies based on political statements.

Today, the "public accommodations" should include social media because social media have become the marketplace of ideas, but they are controlled by several large, powerful companies, such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook, that have power over the content.

Or Congress can pass a law to deal specifically with social media by requiring social media to allow unrestricted comments and posting.  Let the people decide what they want to read.

This would be more effective than removing the ban on most lawsuits against social media for content.  It is expensive for private citizens to bring lawsuits.

The purpose of such legislation is to ban social media companies from censoring views, opinions, articles, and other postings so that the First Amendment applies to social media.

This will be viewed as further expansion of the powers of the federal government because it is an expansion.  But the powers of the giant social media companies to dominate the culture and the marketplace for the exchange of ideas are enormous, and private citizens have no power to counteract them.  How else to restrain the censorship by the giant, multinational social media companies?  Democrats use the powers of the federal government to advance their agenda.  Conservatives should use the power of the federal government to advance their agenda, especially when dealing with free speech.

For example, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook removed on July 27, 2020 a video that had 17 million views of doctors discussing the effects of the coronavirus and the medical response.  Facebook said: "We've removed this video for sharing false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19."

Evidently, Facebook knows more about medicine than doctors who are treating patients with the China virus.  The net effect of this is that social media can control the content of news and political views.

Information should be put before the public for the public to decide.  Medical experts often disagree on the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of illnesses and diseases.

The marketplace for ideas should be open to all, with no restrictions for news, articles, and views, except for the current restrictions on the First Amendment rights for violence and pornography.

As a conservative, I am opposed in general to further government regulation, but who else can force Google, Facebook, and Twitter to allow us to express all opinions, views, and news?

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