Patriots for Freedom 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, subject to the Constitution in the same way, or should they be looked at in a higher light, like Civil Rights Watchdogs? This has been the subject of much conflict and debate.
Questions like this may take a while to answer, but will inevitably 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/
At the time, Facebook provided an open portal for firms to advertise as they saw fit. Typically, advertisers direct campaigns toward specific target markets. Advertisements are designed to appeal to the target market.
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 situation is complicated because, it puts political correctness at odds with the law. At first glance, it looks like the principles of Equality and Freedom of Speech are colliding. When we look closer, we realize that it is the misguided lawsuits that created this controversy. If we honor the law, Facebook would have probably won, if these cases had even been allowed to continue in court.
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 justification 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? Patriots for Freedom thinks not.
We believe Facebook should neither have the responsibility, nor the authority, to control content beyond that which violates criminal statute. 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 internet powerhouses like Facebook? What the future holds is up to us. Patriots for Freedom advocates Freedom of Speech on the internet.
We 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.
Patriots for Freedom needs your support. Donate Now!