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The Case Against Technofascism: When Big Tech Companies Censor Speech

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Social media platforms censor in two primary ways. First, the platforms “remove[] posts that violate [their] terms of service or community standards.” NetChoice, LLC v. Att’y Gen. Fla., 34 F.4th 1196, 1204 (11th Cir. 2022). Second, the platforms can also “arrange[] available content by choosing how to prioritize and display posts— effectively selecting which users’ speech the viewer will see, and in what order.”

Social media platforms have often removed a variety of users’ posts for controversial reasons. Some of these posts involved disfavored scientific and medical information or discussions. Other posts involved disfavored political viewpoints or plans to protest. Social media platforms have also often removed users’ accounts for similar controversial reasons of expressing disfavored political or scientific views.

Concern about this viewpoint-based censorship is heightened in light of substantial evidence showing that the federal government has repeatedly attempted to direct what content social media platforms censor.

The Rutherford Institute is calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to protect free speech forums on social media from attempts by big tech companies to block, ban, remove, deplatform, demonetize, de-boost, restrict, deny equal access or visibility to, or otherwise discriminate against viewpoints of which they might disapprove.

In an amicus brief filed in NetChoice v. Paxton and Moody v. NetChoice, Rutherford Institute attorneys argue that laws should be allowed to treat social media platforms as free speech forums and secure them from viewpoint-based censorship by big tech companies to promote freedom of speech for all Americans. The joint cases arose in response to laws in Texas and Florida that forbid censorship by Big Tech companies such as Facebook, Google, TikTok and YouTube.

“Technofascism is the modern-day equivalent of book burning, which does away with controversial ideas and the people who espouse them,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. “Once you allow government agencies and corporations to determine what viewpoints are ‘legitimate,’ you’re already moving fast down a slippery slope that ends with the censorship of all viewpoints altogether other than that of the government and its corporate allies.”

NetChoice v. Paxton and Moody v. NetChoice

Article posted with permission from John Whitehead

John Whitehead

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. He is the author of A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State and The Change Manifesto.
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