Washington Post: Trump’s assault on Twitter is an attack on the First Amendment

Washington Post: Trump’s assault on Twitter is an attack on the First Amendment. “President Trump’s ongoing assault against Twitter may represent the most egregious violation of the First Amendment by a president since Richard M. Nixon went to war against this newspaper almost half a century ago. Given the stakes, reaction has been strangely muted. Perhaps Americans have become accustomed to the president’s tweets and don’t believe he would do violence to his primary communications platform. Perhaps people are weary of the ceaseless controversies around social media. Regardless, the seriousness of what’s happening and the threat it represents to one of our country’s most basic principles must be confronted.”

Knight First Amendment Institute: Knight Institute Sues President for Continuing to Block Twitter Critics

Knight First Amendment Institute: Knight Institute Sues President for Continuing to Block Twitter Critics. “The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University today filed a lawsuit against President Trump and his staff for continuing to block critics from the @realDonaldTrump Twitter account. The legal action was filed on behalf of five individuals who remain blocked two years after a federal court held—in an earlier case brought by the Knight Institute—that the president’s Twitter account is a public forum and the president violated the First Amendment by blocking people on the basis of viewpoint.”

Reuters: Google defeats conservative nonprofit’s YouTube censorship appeal

Reuters: Google defeats conservative nonprofit’s YouTube censorship appeal. “Google persuaded a federal appeals court on Wednesday to reject claims that YouTube illegally censors conservative content. In a 3-0 decision that could apply to platforms such as Facebook FB.O, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle found that YouTube was not a public forum subject to First Amendment scrutiny by judges.”

Techdirt: Puerto Rico’s Justice Department Demanded Info From Facebook About Journalists Who Livestreamed Protests

Techdirt: Puerto Rico’s Justice Department Demanded Info From Facebook About Journalists Who Livestreamed Protests. “While the DOJ and FBI have dealt with some limited repercussions due to their targeting of First Amendment activities (which includes targeting Muslims because they’re Muslims), it really hasn’t promised to stop doing this. Nor has it been told to stop doing this. Instead, the DOJ has simply made it slightly more difficult for investigators to violate people’s rights. The Intercept has done some investigating of its own and discovered the FBI actively engaged in First Amendment violations for years during its partnership with Puerto Rican law enforcement agencies.”

Des Moines Register: Iowa Libertarians sue Sen. Claire Celsi for blocking constituents on Twitter

Des Moines Register: Iowa Libertarians sue Sen. Claire Celsi for blocking constituents on Twitter. “The lawsuit alleges Celsi, a Democrat who represents portions of Des Moines, West Des Moines and Warren County in the Iowa Senate, violated the free speech clause of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment and the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment ‘because the comment section of her Twitter account is a designated public forum within which the state may not discriminate against speakers based on their viewpoint.'”

Ars Technica: Trump’s Twitter blocks violate First Amendment rights, appeals court affirms

Ars Technica: Trump’s Twitter blocks violate First Amendment rights, appeals court affirms. “It’s one thing for most of us to block Twitter users who annoy us, but it’s a violation of those users’ First Amendment rights for the president to do so, a federal appeals court confirmed. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Tuesday issued an opinion supporting an earlier federal court ruling that as long as Donald Trump is a public official, he cannot block people (which prevents them from reading his feed or responding to his comments) he disagrees with on Twitter.”

Techdirt: Supreme Court Signals Loud And Clear That Social Media Sites Are Not Public Forums That Have To Allow All Speech

Techdirt: Supreme Court Signals Loud And Clear That Social Media Sites Are Not Public Forums That Have To Allow All Speech. “Last fall I wrote about the Supreme Court agreeing to hear a case that some argued would allow the Supreme Court to declare that social media sites were public forums thereby limiting their ability to block or ban certain users.”

Michigan Radio: In trouble at school for social media posts? Now you can get legal help online

Michigan Radio: In trouble at school for social media posts? Now you can get legal help online. “Over the last eight years, [Nancy] Costello says she and her law students have responded to these cases by creating some 200 legal memos, ranging from copyright law (what if a student wants to use a Beyonce song in their class presentation?) to student journalism to libel suits. Yet the student questions kept coming. ‘I thought, this is just a microcosm of the rest of the country,’ Costello says. ‘So we decided to launch this national website.’ It’s called the McLellan Online Free Speech Library.”

Court: Politicians who block citizens on social media violate 1st Amendment (Ars Technica)

Ars Technica: Court: Politicians who block citizens on social media violate 1st Amendment. “A federal appeals court in Virginia ruled unanimously Monday that a county official who blocked a citizen from accessing her official Facebook page is in violation of the First Amendment.”

Route Fifty: A California Court Finds Social Media Posts Aren’t a First Amendment Right

Route Fifty: A California Court Finds Social Media Posts Aren’t a First Amendment Right. “Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Packingham v. North Carolina that social media platforms are the new ‘public square,’ and access to them is protected by the First Amendment, which guarantees free speech. But that doesn’t necessarily mean there are no limitations on how social media can be used when an ex-convict is on probation. For example, a California state appeals court just found in AA v. The People that a ‘narrowly tailored’ limit on social media use for a juvenile on probation—in this case for a felony offense—was legal for rehabilitation purposes and to protect a crime victim.”

Quartz: US courts are figuring out if the government can block you on Facebook

Quartz: US courts are figuring out if the government can block you on Facebook. “In the last two years, there’s been a cascade of lawsuits in the US against public officials who have blocked people on social media and deleted critical comments. The list starts with the highest one in the country, president Donald Trump, and goes all the way down to a county board chair. As officials use social platforms more and more to communicate with their constituents, bypassing traditional media channels, the question of how they treat these avenues is becoming increasingly important.”

Brookings Institute: Regulating free speech on social media is dangerous and futile

Brookings Institute: Regulating free speech on social media is dangerous and futile. “The calls for regulating social media and technology companies are politically motivated. Conservatives who support these policies argue that their freedom of speech is being undermined by social media companies who censor their voice. Conservatives who celebrate constitutional originalism should remember that the First Amendment protects against censorship by government. Social media companies are all private businesses with discretion over the content they wish to promote, and any effort by government to influence what social media platforms promote risks violating the First Amendment.”

Columbia Journalism Review: Press protections might safeguard Google’s algorithms, even from Trump

Columbia Journalism Review: Press protections might safeguard Google’s algorithms, even from Trump. “Regulating algorithms might seem like entirely new legal territory, since Google and its cousins are only two decades old. But a newspaper case from 1974 has quite a bit to say about whether the government can control, under the First Amendment, companies’ algorithms and how they produce and organize information.”

Daily Collegian: Lawsuit settled over Maryland governor’s Facebook page

Daily Collegian: Lawsuit settled over Maryland governor’s Facebook page. “Maryland’s governor must be more permissive of social media commenters who disagree with him under a settlement to resolve a lawsuit that accused him of censoring constituents by blocking them on Facebook, the American Civil Liberties Union said Monday. The settlement includes a $65,000 payment to the four plaintiffs and a revised social media policy for Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s social media accounts.”

The Guardian: Google and Facebook don’t qualify for first amendment protections

The Guardian: Google and Facebook don’t qualify for first amendment protections. “…are these companies’ practices of privileging certain information really analogous to what newspaper editors do, and therefore similarly protected by the first amendment? The answer is no. Making decisions about what and how information is conveyed does not automatically make one an editor entitled to first amendment protection. That is what the supreme court decided, for example, in Rumsfeld v Forum of Academic and Institutional Rights (Fair), when a group of law schools argued that it could bar military recruiters from recruitment fairs for its students. “