Headline RoundupFebruary 26th, 2024

Should Social Media Companies Be Allowed to Censor Political Speech?

Summary from the AllSides News Team

The future of online speech is being scrutinized by the Supreme Court as it hears two landmark cases.

For Context: These lawsuits arose out of Florida and Texas laws enacted in 2021, which restrict tech companies' ability to censor political content they find objectionable. Advocates argue they shield the First Amendment rights of users, particularly conservatives, from what they consider to be left-leaning tech companies' bias. The tech industry argues these laws infringe upon their editorial discretion and thus their First Amendment rights. A key part of this debate is whether online platforms should be treated and regulated like newspapers, which have editorial discretion, or like the communications infrastructure provided by telephone companies.

From the Left: A writer in the Los Angeles Times (Lean Left bias) argued that if these laws are upheld, it would significantly worsen the internet and social media. The writer deemed the argument that social media platforms disproportionately censor conservative content to be “a widely promoted but unfounded perception” and concluded that these platforms “have a 1st Amendment right to decide what speech to convey.”

From the Right: The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board (Lean Right bias) argued that Republicans are “rightly frustrated by censorship that often tilts against conservatives,” but sided against the legal argument, writing, “the solution to business censorship of conservatives isn’t government censorship of business.” The board concluded, “it never turns out well for conservatives, or anyone else, when the supposed remedy is giving government more power to control speech.” This summary was developed with the help of AllSides' AI technology.

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