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Twitter and Facebook both banned Trump from their platforms. Here’s why that doesn’t violate the First Amendment — or any other laws

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Twitter and Facebook both banned Trump from their platforms. Here's why that doesn't violate the First Amendment — or any other laws

Photo caption: Activist Mike Merrigan holds a piñata shaped like the Twitter logo with hair to look like U.S. President Donald Trump […]. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images. Article by Tyler Sonnemaker. Business Insider – January 9, 2021.

What is the First Amendment?

The First Amendment to the US Constitution says: “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” [emphasis added].

In other words, it bans the government from infringing on free speech (with some limited exceptions). […]

What would happen if they did repeal Section 230?

Ignoring for a second that it’s legal for social media companies to be “biased” when enforcing content rules, right-wing politicians’ criticisms of Section 230 tend to ignore several key facts about who social media currently benefits — and who it would benefit if they repealed the law.

First, the evidence has consistently shown that conservatives tend to enjoy some of the widest reach and engagement on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube — or at the least, conservatives have failed to produce evidence that their views are being silenced or their reach is being throttled.

Second, if social media companies lost the legal protections offered by Section 230, they would be more, not less likely to remove questionable content from their sites, because they’d (rightfully) be fearful of getting sued. […]

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