Barack: 1st Amendment Doesn’t Apply to Facebook and Twitter

Barack: 1st Amendment Doesn’t Apply to Facebook and Twitter

April 22, 2022

In a speech on Thursday at Stanford University, former President Barack Obama called for more regulation of social media content, in order to reduce internet “disinformation.”

“The First Amendment is a check on the power of the state. It doesn’t apply to private companies like Facebook and Twitter,” he said, calling for more “value judgements” on content moderation and censorship on social media. “While content moderation can limit the distribution of clearly dangerous content, it doesn’t go far enough.”

“[O]ver time we lose our capacity to distinguish between fact, opinion, and wholesale fiction. Or maybe we just stop caring,” he continued. “People like Putin and Steve Bannon for that matter understand it’s not necessary for people to believe disinformation in order to weaken democratic institutions. You just have to flood the public square with enough raw sewage.”

Notice how smoothly he put Russian authoritarian Putin and conservative former presidential advisor Bannon in the same basket.

The radical leftist Obama then laid out a set of principles about how content should be moderated, either by tech companies themselves or by a government entity:

Whether it strengthens or weakens the prospects for a healthy inclusive democracy.

Whether it encourages robust debate and respect for our differences.

Whether it reinforces rule of law and self-governance.

Whether it helps us make collective decisions based on the best available information.

Whether it recognizes the rights and freedoms and dignity of all of our citizens.

The questions are, as they always are with “regulation” of speech: Who gets to decide what information conforms to these criteria? Who gets to decide what is fact and what is opinion?

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