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9th Circuit rules for Facebook and against conservative group

Facebook and Google are private firms and can censor what they like, says the court.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Prager University, a conservative online program, lost a case at the federal appeals level on Wednesday. Prager contended that Facebook, YouTube, Google, Twitter, and others regularly censored and demonetized its content. In a unanimous decision the court ruled since the firms are private, First Amendment rights are not at play and thus their actions are acceptable in the legal sense.

While this may make some conservatives unhappy, as most can tell tales of censorship at the hands of online services, this also is a ruling that upholds the sanctity of the free market and private property.

The way to win this fight is not to sue but to increase the public and financial pressure on those firms with the market tools available or to design and implement competing services.

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If the Left sued to get Prager University, also a private concern, to get their content included in Prager’s program conservatives would be justifiably outraged. The same holds true when the shoe is on the other foot.

The court opinion said, “Despite YouTube’s ubiquity and its role as a public-facing platform, it remains a private forum, not a public forum subject to judicial scrutiny under the First Amendment.” The three-judge panel upheld a lower court ruling to dismiss the case.

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While this ruling will not quell conservative activism against the named tech giants, it may prompt a stark reappraisal on how to best influence them to be more accepting of conservative ideas and sources.

Conservative media giants such a Fox, Sinclair, and Salem are certainly outlets those on the Right can turn to for unfiltered content and comment.

And even the Left-leaning titans like Facebook and Twitter will respond to market pressure both in the presentation and dissemination of the conservative message.

In fact, it is very possible you are reading these words right now on one of those platforms. Thus while they have certainly been unfair to conservatives at times, they have rarely engaged in outright massive censorship.

Yet.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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