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Is Social Media Stifling Free Speech? DOJ Investigates

By George Khoury, Esq. on September 06, 2018 6:25 PM

Based on what that one relative you wish never made a social media account posts, not to mention all that "fake news," it's clear that people are pretty much free to post whatever they want on the various social media platforms.

And while most, if not all, of the major social platforms have instituted both policy and technical changes to ensure a repeat of the 2016 election doesn't occur, the United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the DOJ is concerned that social media is "intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas."

Department of Social Media Justice

Reportedly, Sessions will be meeting with other government attorneys to look into whether social media platforms are intentionally stifling conservative voices and viewpoints. Legally, what this means is baffling legal tech experts left and right.

This hot-take was announced after high ranking execs from Facebook and Twitter testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding many online privacy, data mining, and security issues that have recently been made priority issues as a result of the election and other scandals.

Likely missing from the DOJ's potential case against any social media entity found to be suppressing speech, and aptly noted by the legal scholars over at TechCrunch, the First Amendment doesn't regulate private companies, it regulates government conduct.

As noted in the Washington Post, social media has cracked down hard on fake accounts, hate speech, and misinformation campaigns since 2016. But perhaps the most visible take down involves the recent removal of Alex Jones from Twitter and other social platforms. Also recently, last month, Twitter did a massive sweep to remove bots and fake accounts, adding up to over 70 million users.

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