On Wednesday, legal scholar Alan Dershowitz predicted that former President Donald Trump’s class-action lawsuits against Facebook, Google, and Twitter will play a “very, very important” role in the future of free speech in the United States.
Dershowitz told Newsmax that Trump’s lawsuit is “a complicated case because, as the president pointed out, and as [lawyer] Pam Bondi pointed out, the others pointed out, these are not just ordinary private companies—they have special exemption … and therefore they partake of some kind of government action, and the courts will have to parse this issue.”
Epoch Times reports:
Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other platforms, under Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, are generally protected from liability for the content that users post. The law allows social media companies to also moderate their platforms by removing posts that violate their terms and conditions as long as they’re acting in “good faith.”
“What we don’t want is the government telling private companies what they can say and what they can do,” Dershowitz continued. “That would be wrong, but we don’t want these crazy, public, enormous, monopolistic companies to be restricting our free speech. The current situation is unacceptable, and this lawsuit, I think, will shake things up considerably, though I can’t predict in the end how it will come up.”
He concluded, “Clearly what’s happening here is prior restraint. That is, they’re telling the former president of the United States, ‘we don’t want you on our platforms, no matter what you say, we’re going to restrain you.’ So, the issue is not so much prior restraint. I think everybody will acknowledge this is prior restraint. It’s whether or not the prior restraint is subject to the First Amendment or [Trump] himself has a First Amendment right. That’s what’s so complicated about this, that’s why I call this the new censorship. The old censorship involved pure government. McCarthyism. Congress. Today we have these companies that are the new censors.”
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