Georgetown Law tech law and policy experts converged together on Friday, January 29, 2021, to discuss wide-ranged topics relating to technology, speech, and regulations in a democratic society. David Vladeck, Erin Carroll, Hillary Brill, and Anupam Chander were the representative speakers on this discussion streamed live over Facebook.
The discussion began with revisiting the tragic siege of the United States capitol that took place on January 6, 2021. Before the siege, on many different platforms (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) President Donald Trump continued to post disputes about the presidential election, specifically mentioning voter fraud. With there being no evidence to verify these disputes, Trump’s campaign for president for a second term was over. Yet it took a violent storming of our nation’s capital to make the world realize that the words on social media and the internet do, in fact, have an effect and insight riots and violence. Any different social media platforms suspended or banned Donald Trump’s account from their sites including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Thus began the great deplatforming.
Why this deplatforming is legal for big tech companies like Google and Apple is because these companies are not in affiliation with the government. This means that the First Amendment is not valid if not stated in their terms of service. If the said company feels that their terms of services have been broken by an individual or feels that said individual is a threat to others, companies have the right to deplatform them. When first signing up on the platforms, every user must agree to the companies terms of services, many just seem to not read them beforehand.