Approved – NV
Facebook has invoked its free speech right as a publisher, insisting its ability to smear users as extremists is protected, but its legal immunity thus far has rested on a law which protects platforms, not publishers. Which is it?
Facebook has declared it has the right, as a publisher, to exercise its own free speech and bar conservative political performance artist Laura Loomer from its platform. Even calling her a dangerous extremist is allowed under the First Amendment, because it’s merely an opinion, Facebook claims in its motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Loomer.
Defining itself as a publisher opens Facebook up to lawsuits for defamation and other liability for the content users publish, something they were previously immunized against. All the lies, personal attacks, and smears launched by users going forward can now be laid at Facebook’s feet. That’s a Pandora’s box they might not want to open, legal analyst and radio host Lionel told RT.
Platforms like Twitter, Google, and – until now, apparently – Facebook are protected from the legal consequences of their users’ speech by section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Facebook even makes reference to section 230 later in its motion, suggesting that it is trying to have its cake and eat it too.