Jared Taylor Wins a Round for Free Speech

Published: 2018-06-18

Last December, Twitter purged numerous far-right, white-nationalist, and Holocaust-revisionist accounts as part of its updated "terms of service." In February Jared Taylor, founder of the publication American Renaissance, sued Twitter for banning his account, claiming the censorship “violated civil rights and contract law.” Rather than discuss the matter, Twitter came out nasty, claiming Taylor's suit violated its rights to free speech and was trying to intimidate the internet giant: this under California’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) law. Fortunately, California Judge Harold Kahn rejected Twitter's claim of being frightened by Mr. Taylor and found that Taylor was fighting "a classic public-interest lawsuit." Taylor's suit will proceed.

Jared Taylor

A very important case.

We have been taught from childhood that the First Amendment has made America the "Land of Free Speech," but  the First Amendment protects Americans only from governmental censorship, not purges by the huge corporations. The dream of greater freedom for discussion and debate is evaporating  as internet access has been concentrated in the hands of a few huge corporations; Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Amazon, E-Bay. No more do these giants talk of free speech; now the buzzword is "community standards" and the goal is to ban anything "controversial," starting with unpopular political or historical beliefs.

Taylor sued Twitter based on its earlier free speech promises and Judge Kahn seemed sympathetic to the idea that Twitter had misled the public by saying its platform was open to everyone.  Twitter at one point in the past described itself as the “free-speech wing of the free-speech party.” But breach of contract aside, our rights to internet access hang by a very thin thread. In this case it is a clause of the California Constitution, Article I, Section 2, which reads: "Every person may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of this right. A law may not restrain or abridge liberty of speech or press." 

In the case Robins v. Pruneyard Shopping Center, the Court held that public sidewalks at a shopping center were a valid locus for free speech, ranging from union pickets to voter-registration drives. Taylor v. Twitter would extend that theory to the Internet.

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Author(s): David Merlin
Title: Jared Taylor Wins a Round for Free Speech
Published: 2018-06-18
First posted on CODOH: June 18, 2018, 10:15 p.m.
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