President Biden is now openly calling for more social media censorship, saying, “I make a special appeal to social media companies and media outlets — please deal with the misinformation and disinformation that’s on your shows. It has to stop.”
As a reminder, I recently linked to a commentary at Instapundit that outlined a legal pathway to suing Big Tech companies for violating conservative users’ freedom of speech. These companies claim that they’re not subject to First Amendment protections because they aren’t government entities. However, we’ve already heard reports of White House staffers meeting with these companies to help formulate guidelines for who gets censored.
In addition, as the linked article points out, Biden is also in violation of a 1973 SCOTUS ruling that the government “may not induce, encourage or promote private persons to accomplish what it is constitutionally forbidden to accomplish.”
As we’ve seen many times, the definition of “misinformation” and “disinformation” is often “things that the powers that be don’t want anyone saying, but that later turn out to be true” (see “Hunter Biden’s laptop,” to cite just one of many examples.) There is a legal case to be made that if these companies are colluding with government authorities to determine who gets censored, then they’re acting as de facto government agents. If so, then they are bound by First Amendment protections. If so, then “Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of lawsuits!”
And if the White House wants to claim it hasn’t been telling these companies who to censor, someone should inform the President not to go on TV and tell them who to censor.