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Social Media and the First Amendment

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Agayek, Jun 20, 2017.

  1. Invictus

    Invictus Fourth Champion

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    Except me. I was great since the beginning. Oz loved me. And my English was perfect. And to be fair to Pro, he didn't go sperging around for no reason.
     
  2. The Pro

    The Pro Seventh Year

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    That actually has a surprising amount of insight. *makes mental note not to derail thread further*
     
  3. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Here's a relevant case. On behalf of several users, the Knight Institute alleges that
    https://academeblog.org/2018/01/19/knight-first-amendment-institute-v-trump/

    Trump contends that the 1st Amendment does allow him to block users, and (surprise) that even if it doesn't, the court can't tell him what to do. It's filed in the Southern District of New York, first hearing is Thursday.
     
  4. Darth_Revan

    Darth_Revan Secret Squirrel Prestige DLP Supporter

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    It'll be thrown out, I'm assuming. Free Speech doesn't protect your right to speak freely at a particular person. The plaintiff is free to speak whatever they want, and POTUS is free to deliberately ignore them.
     
  5. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    You read the motivation? Apart from classifying Trump's Twitter account as an official government outlet by his own (or Spicer's) admission they now are unable to access (blocking also blocks you ability to read, not just to respond), the way I understand it your 1st Amendment applies to the effect that persons may not be hindered in expressing their opinion or removed due to a particular opinion in e.g. town hall settings. The question now is whether this Twitter account -- the direct threads that are started by a tweet of the president, not Twitter as a whole -- is something similar ... which is a question that can rightly be asked IMO, since Trump uses it for the expressive purpose to directly engage with the people at large -- much like a town hall setting.

    Edit: Here's another take on it:
    There's no real precedent, so I would, whether it's this or a different lawsuit, expect we'll eventually see one at the Surpreme Court.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. EsperJones

    EsperJones Death Eater

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    That said, if the argument is about the 'town hall' status of Trump's account specifically, there is no way the precedent set would apply in general to social media, right?
     
  7. Agayek

    Agayek The Chosen One

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    For the average user, no, but as I understand it, it would apply to the accounts of politicians and government officials.

    Edit:
    That said, considering that all you have to do to see the tweets from a user that's blocked you is log out, it's far from guaranteed the Court will rule that way in the first place.
     
  8. Darth_Revan

    Darth_Revan Secret Squirrel Prestige DLP Supporter

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    The First Amendment only protects your right to speak and not be silenced by the government. You don't have a right to see other people's speech, or to force them to see your speech. If Trump, i.e. the government in this instances, wants to ignore you, I don't see how that resolves into a 1A infringement.
     
  9. Arthellion

    Arthellion Auror

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    The Supreme Court recognizing trumps twitter account as an official government outlet of information scares the crap out of me
     
  10. Agayek

    Agayek The Chosen One

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    Eh. The argument here is that Trump blocking someone is analogous to Trump singling out a person so they can't hear the State of the Union address.

    To the best of my knowledge, it's not a First Amendment thing either way, but there may well be some kind of legal issues to it. It's at least seemingly credible from my layman's perspective, and probably worth at least a judge somewhere taking a look at. I wouldn't think it would get to the Supreme Court without there being much deeper legalities involved than I'm aware of though.
     
  11. Darth_Revan

    Darth_Revan Secret Squirrel Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Perhaps, but there's no constitutional provision that I can think of which protects your right to access other people's speech, even if they're a government official.
     
  12. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Presumably because everything I said above.

    Yes. Apart from solving this by law beforehand, which would be desirable -- a right to internet access and a right to access quintessential social media platforms, if that was the outcome of a discussion we definitely need to have -- I don't see the general precedent coming for quite a few more years. It gets interesting when things such as Town Halls aren't held IRL anymore and just online, virtually, or when government services can only be accessed online, or when TV stations leave airwaves and distribute over the internet exclusively.

    When that happens, we either need new laws, or lawsuits will force them into being; until then, as long as enough of everyday life happens offline, they won't. It's not terribly far off, though -- the first generation to live online is just coming of age.
     
  13. Arthellion

    Arthellion Auror

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    Scary thought.

    There are now people eligible to vote to weren’t born in the 90s
     
  14. BTT

    BTT Death Eater

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    Why in the fuck is that scary?
     
  15. Arthellion

    Arthellion Auror

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    Because it means I’m getting fricking old.

    Also just the way that generation has grown up is drastically different. Cellphones, the internet, etc are part of everyday life.

    Not necessarily a negative, but I’d point out that having such an upbringing does give a very different mindset.

    Scary because it’s very different, but not necessarily negative.
     
  16. Agayek

    Agayek The Chosen One

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    Isn't there a legal right to public statements from government officials? I would imagine there being something that was passed decades ago with the intent of "You can't bar the negroes from attending a public speech" sort of thing that would potentially be applicable to this case.

    Like I said, I don't think it's a First Amendment thing either way, but I'd be kinda surprised if there's zero legal grounds for the idea.
     
  17. Chengar Qordath

    Chengar Qordath The Final Pony Prestige

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    Yeah, I'd imagine there's some sort of legal precedent when it comes to removing people the president or his advisers consider rude, disruptive, or offensive from town hall meetings.