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Is removing Parler a First Amendment violation?

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Parler / Pxhere

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Tech companies including Apple, Google and Amazon have taken action to remove the social media site Parler from its platforms, after Wednesday's riots at the U.S. Capitol.

"People have this view that the First Amendment protects all of our rights to speak freely and that no one can interfere with them," Colorado lawyer Steven Zansberg said.

While the actions taken against the social media site have raised concerns among many regarding long term effects on freedom of speech, Zansberg, who specializes in Constitutional law, said it's not a First Amendment violation.

"Any of those entities are private entities, not the government and the First Amendment applies only to the government. So, there really isn't any First Amendment free speech issue."

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs Political Science Professor Joshua Dunn agreed.


"Apple, Google are private corporations and have the authority to restrict who is going to be on their platforms and use their resources and services," Dunn said.

The decision to drop the social media site, created by two University of Denver graduates, is based on the grounds that Parler allows posts that incite violence.


The University of Denver issued a statement in response Monday, condemning, "any and all calls to violence, insurrection, or sedition."

The statement goes on to say, "We are grounded in the tenets of free speech and First Amendment rights, but those rights end when they incite the populace to violence or to harm others. Those we condemn unconditionally."

"Even though this isn't a First Amendment question, there's the broader question about what kind of free speech culture do we have," Dunn said.

Both legal experts also pointed to recent discussions among lawmakers about section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

"That provides immunity for intermediaries on the internet for liability for making decisions about what to put on their websites or what third parties post on their websites and removing third parties posting on their websites," Zansberg said, "But, that’s a matter of statute not constitutional law."

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Jen Moynihan

Jen Moynihan is a weekend anchor and reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Jen here.

Comments

9 Comments

  1. People will go where there is freedom.
    They are already leaving Twitter and other apps and they will feel it in the bottom line soon enough. AOL and MySpace need some company.
    No users, no money no more App.
    Those are the consequences.

  2. Thank you to all social media companies who have made the wise decision to disallow such things as violence, hate, inciting people to attack the Capitol, etc from their platforms.

    1. Hey LoisLane! Greets!!
      I totally agree with your comment-
      also, these are privately owned platforms and
      they have every right to dictate standards which Parler has disobeyed.

    2. The problem with your comment is that these platforms are not doing that. They are still allowing inciteful post, like from Iranian officials and other pro-violence groups, while banning comments from other groups. It is the disparate treatment that people are upset about.

    3. First, violence is never the answer. Never.
      Second. Looking back they have determined that social media platforms help coordinate the protests and riots in many cities around the country and they didn’t shut them down. They assisted in the CHOP zone. So why don’t they have a standard and apply it to all users? Why was BLM pages and accounts not suspended or locked out when people were being killed in Portland. Many politicians took to social media to support it. More people died or were killed in the CHOP zone than in the capitol riot.
      Why is it they now want to stop violence but did nothing? This has been a trend for awhile. How about Ferguson ,MO?
      I am not supporting any movement but calling out the inconsistencies that are very apparent.
      So many people hold the “other side” more accountable than they do themselves. That is wrong.

    4. That includes BLM, ANTIFA a other bad actors like, well, actors in Hollywood and the hateful things they said about The President?
      Im sure you are for shutting down ALL speech that is deemed hateful no matter what side. Correct?

  3. Looks like history does repeat itself. Dictators like Hilter and Mau censored information that the public was allowed to read.

  4. This should scare everyone. Big tech in cahoots with the state. You people agreeing with this are thick, if you think this won’t come full circle. This will screw everyone in the end you useful idiots.

  5. In itself, no, it’s not a first amendment violation because it’s a private company. However, when you take into consideration the government subsidies they get, their blatant hypocrisy in only silencing one side, and now their taking steps to actively destroy competition like parler (aka antitrust issues), yes, it is more than just a company banning people for policy violations and I think crosses the line into first amendment territory.

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