Free Speech and Facebook! (Or Twitter, or…)

Hey, wanna learn how to assert your rights to your Constitutional 1st Amendment rights of free speech on platforms you do not own or have any rights to like Facebook?  I have the answer!  Lean in close so you do not miss the secret… you ready?

You Can’t!

First, the 1st Amendment only covers the government restricting your free speech (usually about the government).  It means the government cannot go after you for saying the current President is an airhead that should not be in charge of a barrel of monkeys.

Second, not all speech is “free speech.”  Some things cross the line into violence or hate speech.  As the old saying goes, free speech does not mean you can shout Fire! in a crowded theater.

Lastly, free speech does not mean speech without repercussions.  Non-government entities, like friends, family, your employer, and a social media platform you are using for free, can take action against you for opening your dumb mouth.  And they should.

Platforms like Facebook, which you use for free, do not own, have no management of, and have zero rights to, are completely free to silence your ass if you say something they do not like, incite violence, engage in hate speech, etc.  Put simply, you do not get to decide what gets to happen in someone else’s sandbox – they do.

While you may have the right to free speech, no one has the right to demand that they be heard, especially on someone else’s platform.  If you do not like that, go do some other social media site that lies about things like “100% no fact checking!” or “100% no censorship!

And before you start crowing “but, but, but… Section 230!” here is a tip: Section 230 of the CDA requires that platforms provide some kind of moderation to eliminate illegal or otherwise restricted content.  Its title is “Protection for private blocking and screening of offensive material” not “Every dumbass gets to say whatever they want and you have to allow it“.