Should Twitter Protect Free Speech Rights?

business_ethics_highlights_2In the blog posting below, the author argues that Twitter was wrong to ban “conservative Breitbart editor and provocateur” Milo Yiannopoulos. He argues that while Twitter is (obviously) not a government, it is a public forum of a kind that warrants protection of free speech. It’s a great question: at what point does an internet service become so powerful and pervasive that it takes on some of the obligations of a government?

LINK: On Ghostbusters, Leslie Jones, and the duty of Twitter (by Jerry Coyne for Why Evolution is True)

. . . Twitter is private, but it’s become so big that it is in effect our public social media platform. And no one person can police it all. Further, when I ban someone on my site, I don’t block them for everyone, for they can always spew their invective elsewhere. If you’re blocked on Twitter, you can’t address anything to anybody on the entire site. It’s not a private blog but, in effect, a public forum with millions of followers….

What do you think?

SEE ALSO, from the Business Ethics Blog:“Will Facebook’s IPO Bring New Public Responsibilities?”

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One comment

  1. Alan Buchbach

    Twitter might be considered a ‘state actor’ for its role as a public forum. Even in the case of private actors, free speech is protected in public areas (consider Pruneyard v. Robins).

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