NEW YORK—In the aftermath of yesterday’s siege of the U.S. Capitol, several social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube, have blocked President Trump from using his accounts.
The following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, Executive Director at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.
“The platforms should have a heavy bias in favor of leaving political leaders’ speech up. Not because platforms owe this to political leaders, but because they owe it to the public. The public needs to know what political leaders are saying, even when—and perhaps especially when—what those leaders are saying is wrong or offensive. Knowing what political leaders are saying is crucial to the public’s ability to hold those leaders accountable for their decisions.
“But there are limits to this principle. A political leader who uses his account to incite violence is causing harms that can’t be countered by speech and can’t be undone by a future election. When the platforms reasonably conclude that a political leader is engaged in this kind of activity, they’re justified in taking his posts down—and in suspending his account, at least if he persists. To take an account down in these circumstances is not an affront to free speech, as some have suggested. To the contrary, it’s the responsible exercise of a First Amendment right.”
For more information, contact: Lorraine Kenny, Communications Director, firstname.lastname@example.org.