24 junio, 2021

«Blocking Trump´s social media accounts has raised a debate about Freedom of Speech»: CETYS LAw school professor

ALBERTO AZCARATE VARELA
THE BAJA POST/NEWSROOM

The definitive blocking of the personal Twitter account of the President of the United States of America (USA), Donald Trump, as well as the indefinite closure of his profile on Facebook and Instagram, as a result of his expressions before and after the events of assault and outrage of insurrection that occurred in the US Capitol, raises important questions about the role of social media companies and the regulation of online communications.

It’s uncharted territory, but it’s increasingly necessary to address it, said Terry Cárdenas, Professor at the CETYS University Campus Mexicali School of Law, after the events of a group of Republican supporters allegedly incited by the president himself, inside what´s perhaps the most important government building in the US.

In its First Amendment, the Constitution of the United States of America prohibits its government from censoring freedom of expression, as well as participating in discriminatory acts based on the content of expressions without exception, and guarantees the right of citizens to assemble and demonstrate peacefully.

«However, recent events create the question of how far reaching the scope of these laws, and, especially if this right has limitations,» said the teacher, noting that although the right under the first guarantee amends the right to freedom of expression and prohibits the state limit it, it doesn’t establish a ban on individuals to manage expressions that are broadcast through social networking platforms.

She adds, although freedom of expression enjoys broad protection of US laws, there are exceptions to this law, expressions that incite violence, illegal actions, bellicose words, hostile audience, obscenity and defamatory.

«Analyzing the facts and allegations President Trump for violation of the First Amendment against the measures taken by the directors of the major social platforms worldwide Internet, you can’t directly be considered a violation of his freedom of expression they agree with the First Amendment, because those who limited space to spread their expressions were private companies, acting as such, and not on orders from the authorities. »

In this case, it’s important to note that while these social networks are free to use and for all citizens, they aren’t a public network run by the government but they are managed by individuals who set the standards and methods of use.

“It’s possible that these actions violate the values embedded in the First Amendment, but legally they are not. It’s clear what’s provided in this part of the Constitution, which limits only government actors and a private company such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are not the government.

In fact, these individuals can make use of their right under the First Amendment so that the government doesn’t require them to associate with a speech they don’t want”, the expert concluded.

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