“FIVE FREEDOMS” – BULLETIN BOARD: Don’t let Congress kick Organic Consumers Association off social media!
On May 27, the entire Democratic leadership of the House Energy & Commerce Committee sent letters to Google, Facebook and Twitter asking these social media companies to de-platform more than a dozen organic and natural health experts and websites, including the Organic Consumers Association, accusing us―without evidence―of spreading vaccine disinformation.
When the social media companies deplatform someone, people usually shrug and say that it’s their free speech right to decide who can use their services.
What few people know is that social media is regulated by the Communications Decency Act and Section 230 of that law lays out the rights and responsibilities of their platforms.
On the plus side, social media channels can’t be held liable for their users’ speech:
“No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”
So, there’s no reason for social media platforms to censor their users.
But, the same Section 230 expressly gives them the right to “restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.”
Social media platforms are allowed to censor anything they or their users consider “objectionable.” That’s a very low bar!
But, Congress doesn’t have Section 230 protections and it can’t force social media sites to deplatform their users.
The House Un-American Activities—er, I mean, Energy & Commerce—Committee has gone too far.
When Congress tells social media companies to deplatform their users, that’s a violation of our First Amendment right to freedom of speech, plain and simple.
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