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French Friday: Free Speech & Social Media


Voices on the right, from Elon Musk to Fox News, are accusing social media companies of violating the First Amendment's protection of free speech. David French is back to talk with Skye Jethani about what speech the First Amendment does, and does not, protect. And he explains why the decision of a private citizen or company, like Twitter, to remove content or limit free speech is not unconstitutional.


They also debate what responsibility social media companies do have for the speech they allow on their platforms, as well as court cases in Texas and Florida that could dramatically change how social media functions for all Americans.


0:00 - Intro 2:15 - Free speech and social media 53:24 - Free speech and journalism 1:05:10 - Credits "Elon Musk and Tucker Carlson Don't Understand the First Amendment" by David French (The Atlantic) - https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/12/elon-musk-and-tucker-carlson-dont-understand-the-first-amendment/672352/

"The 'Twitter Files' Show It's Time to Reimagine Free Speech Online" by David French (The Dispatch)



8 Comments


Mark Norman
Mark Norman
Jan 01, 2023

The Hunter Biden thing was slightly more than the unflattering photos but only slightly. All the ‘Twitter Files’ exposed was they (Twitter) struggled to make a decision, chose to take it down, and then put it back up the very next day. They absolutely should have questioned the authenticity of a mysterious laptop from the son of a Presidential candidate that happened to appear days before an election - its fishy AF.

Do your own research, don’t defer it to the folks below - they clearly have their own agenda and an unhealthy fixation with Mr. Musk. - Before the Musk Mob trolls me (like they surely will) know that I’m a fan and own 2 Teslas, I’m no hater.


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DFH
DFH
Dec 31, 2022

Skye, you threw shade at Elon Musk for the second time this month. He decides the partisan moderation and election meddling at Twitter is bad for society, and the long knives come out. The leftist take-down campaign was entirely predictable. When he posted his famous cartoon showing himself staying put while the left moved away from him, I debated with my friends how long it would take before the media elites had most of us convinced Elon Musk had lost it or become evil.


So, my question for you is this. Have you allowed the campaign by cultural elites at the WaPo, Salon, and NYT to sway you, or as a small market media guy are you intentionally part o…


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DFH
DFH
Dec 31, 2022

Skye, why would you frame this discussion on the narrow topic of the administration asking for nasty pics to be held back? It is hard not to conclude you are purposely distracting from the most troubling actions and censorship. (And it isn't even scratching the surface on direct government requests of the platforms.)


David, comparing social media platforms to Hobby Lobby and letters to the editor which are hand-picked is a deeply flawed analysis. Twitter and Facebook have freedom of speech, but they censored the speech of others. They ARE the public square, of course, and have consistently presented themselves as such. They argued that posts to their sites are NOT their speech and were shielded from liability precisely becau…


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Randy Limbird
Randy Limbird
Dec 31, 2022

I’ve listened or read a few discussions of “free speech issues” but often they miss a major element by concentrating only on constitutional aspects. What’s rarely discussed are the moral/ethical aspects. I believe our culture does value free speech in a way that is not only embodied in our constitution but also in our intellectual heritage. We may rightfully bristle whenever ideas and opinions are unreasonably stifled. Even if we regard certain ideas as unreasonable or mean-spirited, many of us believe something is lost by excessive or oppressive censorship. While we may defend the right (especially the legal right) to censorship by private persons or non-governmental institutions, we certainly should express our outrage when it violates moral or ethical standards.…

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I agree with Mark Norman in saying 'well done for the most part gents.' Unfortunately the 'miss' I'll highlight is major enough that it skewed the whole. But, alas, let me start with the positive: Lot's of great legal insights that help lots of us understand better how complicated a matter it is. Good laying of the land coupled made all more valuable from David French's legal insights.

Amidst a good flow and good content, I was shocked to see the low level of research done into the Hunter Biden laptop issue. Somehow it has been labeled in Skye and David's minds to be a few unseemly picture that the Right wanted to use to make Biden look bad in…

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DFH
DFH
Dec 31, 2022
Replying to

Grant, it is hard not to conclude these more troubling facts were left out on purpose, to frame the issue in a way favorable to the left. Sad.

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