Social media platforms accused of politically biased, selective enforcement policies will be allowed to continue discriminating against conservatives, according to a Wednesday court ruling from the Ninth Circuit court of appeals – which has been heavily criticized for anti-Trump rulings on immigration and other matters.
The court rejected an argument by conservative radio talk show host Dennis Prager, who claimed that his conservative PragerU videos were receiving unfair treatment by the Silicon Valley behemoth – determining that YouTube, which is owned by Google, is not a state actor subject to First Amendment constraints.
A California federal judge first dismissed the 2017 complaint in March 2018 on the grounds that YouTube isn’t a public forum and can regulate content as they see fit, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
On Wednesday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision and rejected PragerU’s contention that the site has become a digital-era public forum and its power to moderate content is a threat to fair dissemination of conservative viewpoints on public issues.
“Using private property as a forum for public discourse is nothing new,” writes Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown. “Long before the internet, people posted announcements on neighborhood bulletin boards, debated weighty issues in coffee houses, and shouted each other down in community theaters.”
While those methods seem “quaint” compared to the 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube each day, the underlying issues don’t change.
“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,” writes McKeown, adding that both the First Amendment and Supreme Court precedent present “insurmountable barriers” to PragerU’s argument. -Hollywood Reporter
“Just last year, the Court held that ‘merely hosting speech by others is not a traditional, exclusive public function and does …
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