In a decision that could have far-reaching consequences, a judge in California refused to dismiss a lawsuit against Twitter, ruling that the social media company’s policy that it has the right to ban users “at any time, for any reason or for no reason” may constitute an “unconscionable contract.” The judge also ruled that Twitter may be sued on the basis of misleading advertising, since it frequently states that it does not ban accounts over viewpoint or political affiliation, but frequently does.
The case involves a Twitter user who was banned for defending white supremacy, but his attorneys say it’s not about whether his particular views are right or wrong. The big news is that this is the first time a court has rejected a social media company’s claim that it has a First Amendment right to censor users’ speech based on their viewpoints or affiliations.
That’s the reason why so many on the left hate the First Amendment: it even protects speech that anyone of good conscience would find repugnant. The Founders believed in a free marketplace of ideas where all views could be heard, trusting that people would be smart enough to embrace good ideas and reject bad ones. The judge ruled, in effect, that social media companies can’t claim a First Amendment right to censor other people’s First Amendment rights. The proper solution to tweets that Twitter finds objectionable (on the basis of viewpoint rather than obscene or threatening content – and Twitter is notorious for finding conservative speech objectionable while giving leftist speech a pass) is more tweets refuting them. That’s something that I can assure you there will never be a shortage of.
I’m sure this will be appealed. Let’s keep fingers crossed that judges higher up the judicial chain understand and respect the First Amendment as much as this judge does.