Experts: Removal Of Conspiracy Theories, Bans Don’t Violate 1st Amendment


Tuesday, January 12th 2021, 6:22 pm
By: William Blanchette


Some people are grateful Facebook and Twitter shut down the President’s accounts, while others are upset with the move, wondering if the social media companies violated the first amendment.

Some media law experts said banning content by these social media groups is not against free speech.

Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and others have been removing content that they believe is disinformation regarding the election.

Associate Professor at OSU Joey Senat said there's no first Amendment violation as Facebook removes content mentioning "stop the steal" and Twitter removes more than 70,000 accounts that spread what it calls a QAnon conspiracy theory.

Senat, who teaches Media Law, said these private companies have every right to ban content.

"It's no different than if the Oklahoman deciding who its reporters will be, who is going to write an opinion piece," Senat said.

Senat believes in the age of tech, society looks at these companies to be socially responsible for what they allow.

"When they see disinformation, partially calls of violence that would undermine our democratic system, then I think those are legitimate reasons for them to censor points of view," Senat said.

Senat said moving content that pushes the belief the election was stolen while allowing other controversial content to remains is not a valid comparison.

Senat not only hopes things settle down after inauguration day, but hopes people remember what the First Amendment means.