My "Treating Social Media Platforms Like Common Carriers?"


Still more from the free speech and social media platforms symposium in the first issue of our Journal of Free Speech Law; you can read the whole article here, but here's the abstract:

The rise of massively influential social media platforms—and their growing willingness to exclude certain material that can be central to political debates—raises, more powerfully than ever, the concerns about economic power being leveraged into political power. There is a plausible (though far from open-and-shut) argument that these concerns can justify requiring the platforms not to discriminate based on viewpoint in choosing what material they host, much as telephone companies and package delivery services are barred from such viewpoint discrimination. PruneYard Shopping Center v. Robins, Turner Broadcasting System v. FCC, and Rums­feld v. FAIR suggest such common-carrier-like mandates would be constitutional. On the other hand, platforms do have the First Amendment right to choose what to affirmatively and selectively recommend to their users.