By: DSU student Ben Stephens
In response to the recent opinion piece discussing the concern over social media platforms and their lack of equal treatment toward the views of its readers, no mistakes were legally made.
This is because the constitution only applies to how the government must interact with individuals — not private entities. The constitution and the rights provided therein must be upheld in terms of how the government treats citizens, employees, companies and so on. This right also extends to how the government must allow private companies, including both news outlets and social media groups, to say anything that falls underneath the First Amendment boundaries of free speech.
This gives social media platforms such as Twitter the right to “de-platform” anyone who they feel violates their own guidelines due to the fact that they have no legal obligation to provide the use of their services to any individual or group.
Thus, social media platforms can in no way be held to that standard. The same goes for Facebook. This may lead to the appearance of leaning toward one political viewpoint over the other — which may, in fact, be biased — yet still entirely legal.
So, I completely agree that any individual who incites violence or criminal activities through social media should be held criminally liable regardless of their political party; however, the actions of former President Donald Trump were significantly more severe in terms of the violent response, when compared to that of the opposition.
So, it is easy to see why social media platforms took to more extreme bans against the former president in contrast to politicians attempting to incite harassment.