"The Free Marketplace of Ideas"

May 24, 2018

You might have heard that a federal judge ruled it unconstitutional for President Trump to block trolls from his Twitter account. It might seem like judicial activist overreach on first glance, but the judge had a solid legal reason for the ruling.

The Twitter account had been Trump’s personal account before he ran, but after he became President, some of the functions of it were taken over by White House staff, which would arguably make it a “public forum” under which the First Amendment right to free speech applies. In other words, all readers would have the right to post there. Trump could mute them so he wouldn’t have to read what they post, but he couldn’t block them so others couldn’t see it (even though, trust me, he must get some stuff nobody in his right mind or with a sense of decency would want to see.)

Trump’s attorneys are considering an appeal, but it’s not likely to succeed. Part of being on social media is accepting that trolls will be trolls and ignoring them. If his attorneys really want to keep busy, though, might I humbly suggest that they take up the left’s crusade that Trump’s page is a public forum where differing political views can’t be censored and extend that idea to all social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, which have become notorious for censoring conservative political views.

As far as I’m concerned, let the left, the right and everyone in between post their thoughts freely on the Internet, debate issues without some algorithm monitoring and censoring certain views, and see whose ideas prove most persuasive. I even have a suggested name for this new social media open forum: “The Free Marketplace of Ideas.” I know it’s not as catchy as “Snapchat,” but I like it.

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