We The People is a non profit organization with a focus on the United States Constitution. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It is the contract between the government and its people. It sets forth a Democracy, in which citizens are guaranteed certain civil rights. Citizens can pursue a life of liberty and happiness, as long as this pursuit does not infringe on the rights of others.
As the population grows and competition for resources expands, managing infringement becomes a major challenge for law makers and those responsible for judging and executing it. Nowhere is this more apparent than when it comes to business.
In the United States, businesses can organize under the legal shelter of the corporation. Corporations are considered separate legal entities. They are treated like individual people by the law. But, are these “people” considered citizens, and are they subject to the Constitution in the same way? This has been the subject of much conflict and debate.
Are corporations obligated to respect our Civil Rights? Should corporations be placed in a position to act as Civil Rights Watch Dogs? These are questions that when answered, will shape our future.
There was what could have been a landmark case, in which Facebook was sued by certain Civil Liberties Groups because it allowed advertisements that allegedly discriminated against African Americans.
You can read more about it here: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/03/facebook-inc-does-have-to-respect-civil-rights-legislation-after-all/585286/
Facebook’s defense would have been Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.[Section 230 says that “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” This federal law preempts any state laws to the contrary: “[n]o cause of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed under any State or local law that is inconsistent with this section.” The courts have repeatedly rejected attempts to limit the reach of Section 230 to “traditional” Internet service providers, instead treating many diverse entities as “interactive computer service providers.”] Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act
This is complicated because, it puts political correctness at odds with the law. If we honor the law, Facebook would have probably won the case, if it were even allowed to continue in court.
At the time, Facebook provided an open portal for firms to advertise as they saw fit. If Facebook was simply providing an open venue, allowing their clients to advertise as they saw fit, thereby honoring their client’s First Amendment right to Free Speech, should it not have been the advertising client that the lawsuits were directed against? This is a question that will remain unanswered because, Facebook settled with the plaintiffs.
This was touted as a victory for Civil Right, but is it? Allowing such a lawsuit puts Facebook in the precarious position of being a Civil Rights Watch Dog, something it is not equipped to do fairly. So why did Facebook voluntarily take on this responsibility by settling the cases in favor of the plaintiffs? Well, filling this vacuum of power may pay dividends later on. Facebook now has the authority to supervise content, deleting, or promoting it, as it sees fit. The problem with that is, the judgment of what is fit is subject to all sorts of biases; political bias, religious bias and so on. Corporations like Facebook can orchestrate our future. Is that what Freedom of Speech is really about? We The People thinks not.
We believe Facebook should neither have the responsibility, nor the authority to control content. If something is promoted on it’s site that violates the rights of another user, then it should be handled as a civil matter between the offender and victim. It would have been interesting to see if this case would have withstood the scrutiny of the judicial system.
Where does this power of discernment end for the internet powerhouses like Facebook? What the future holds is up to us. We The People advocates Freedom of Speech on the internet.
We will educate citizens on events that compromise our freedom. Many events like this, barely see the light of day because of all the “noise” in the media. However, their ramifications are great and hit us like an invisible plague.
Our next discussion will relate to how internet scrutiny applies to the Anti Gun movement.
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