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PragerU: Social media can no longer act both as a publisher and as a public forum

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Liberty will be in jeopardy if the dominant social media organs can have it both ways, censoring speech while pretending to be public forums.

A new 5-min video from PragerU perfectly encapsulates the issue of censorship of the dominant social media organs. Presenter Eric George goes through the background of the PragerU v. YouTube lawsuit and the controversy over whether these corporate giants are publisher or public forums.

 

This case is the critical point because these behemoths wield tremendous power and have the best of both worlds. They started out acting as public forums where they acted as conduits – enjoying the legal protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. They are now acting as publishers deciding on what content is acceptable such as PragerU videos, while still being under the protection of being a ‘public forum’. From the transcript:

Here’s why this is so important:

A few years ago, the social media giants—Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter—started to behave not like public forums, but like publishers.

They stopped following Section 230, which specifically requires that these websites promote “a true diversity of political discourse,” and began to judge content by their own political and social criteria.

In other words, the social media giants want it both ways: They want the protections of a public forum and the editorial control of a publisher.

We’re fine if they’re a publisher. And we’re fine if they’re a public forum.

They just can’t be both.

If we win our legal action, YouTube will have to return to the way things were when they started. That’s freedom.

But if we lose, YouTube gets to act as a publisher while pretending to be a public forum. That would mean much less freedom.

And then, eventually, no freedom. Because the most powerful internet sites on earth will determine what you see—and what you don’t.

[Emphasis Added]


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