Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: Do social media bots have a right to free speech?. “While the Kremlin agents who interfered in the US election likely wouldn’t be beholden to a state-level law in the United States, or deterred by it, domestic political campaigns and businesses might. For at least one constitutional scholar, that possibility raises this question: Do bots, like citizens, have that most sacred right enshrined in the First Amendment to the US Constitution, the right to free speech? Laurent Sacharoff, a law professor at the University of Arkansas, thinks the people programming bots may want US courts to answer that in the affirmative.”
Techdirt: ‘Fake News’ Results In Real Jail Time For Ohio Woman. “It appears fake news is a crime in the United States — at least in Ohio. Jacob Sullum at Reason reports an Ohio woman has just been jailed for repeating an unfounded rumor about a gun being found on school grounds.” The discussion in the comments is fairly heated but worth a read.
New York Times: Inside Facebook’s Secret Rulebook for Global Political Speech. “In a glass conference room at its California headquarters, Facebook is taking on the bonfires of hate and misinformation it has helped fuel across the world, one post at a time. The social network has drawn criticism for undermining democracy and for provoking bloodshed in societies small and large. But for Facebook, it’s also a business problem.”
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.”
Mashable: Gab goes offline after being dumped by hosting provider. “Gab has gone offline. The self-described ‘free speech social media platform’ is taking time off the internet, after landing under the spotlight when it was discovered the suspect involved in Pittsburgh’s synagogue shooting was a poster and user on the site.”
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.”
Wired: Free Speech Is Not The Same As Free Reach . “…the conversation we should be having—how can we fix the algorithms?—is instead being co-opted and twisted by politicians and pundits howling about censorship and miscasting content moderation as the demise of free speech online. It would be good to remind them that free speech does not mean free reach. There is no right to algorithmic amplification. In fact, that’s the very problem that needs fixing.”