In the beginning, the big tech companies were a thorn in the side of the liberals and the left. They are actually throwers of fake news and offer right-wing populist and right-wing extremist content with their means – because these attract attention, make them last longer, so good for business.
Review page has changed
In the meantime, however, some social media sites have begun to filter out some complex content. After supporting the Capitol attack in Washington on January 6, 2021, former President Donald Trump was blocked from certain sites – especially importantly: Twitter.
Since then, reviews from tech companies have turned the pages. Republican politicians suddenly complain that conservative views are being deliberately suppressed. Florida and Texas have also enacted laws prohibiting the tracking of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Dictoc and Go, and, if necessary, censorship of content.
Their argument: Social media sites are basically nothing more than 21st century telephone companies. Citizens have no right to influence what they feed on their channels. They talk about the censorship of Silicon Valley, where they find a common connection with left-liberal concerns.
The state has no obligation
For their part, technology companies are not obliged to distribute content that supports racist ideology, recruiting terrorists, denying the Holocaust, creating hate speech and lies, or promoting Putin’s propaganda. The judiciary was asked for an explanation.
The relevant law in Florida was overturned by the lower court, and the law in Texas was overturned by the Supreme Court in Washington. In essence, the top judges referred to the constitutional amendment, which upheld the right to freedom of expression and defined it in more detail than most European countries.
According to the Supreme Court, this right means that social media sites – such as newspapers, radio and television stations – can decide for themselves what to publish and what not to publish. The government may not be obligated to publish specific content on any online channel, but it is much less likely to be censored.
The debate continues
However, the verdict of the “Supreme Court” was narrow with five to four votes. Interestingly, this time a liberal judge voted with three conservative colleagues who want to keep Texas law in practice.
So the debate over whether leftists and rightists want to create rules for technology companies continues. But the Supreme Court has now set a role. In favor of freedom of expression and expression.
Diplomatic Correspondent, SRF
The Diplomatic Correspondent is Assistant Editor-in-Chief at Radio SRF. Before he started working in radio, he was a foreign teacher at “St.” Galler Tagblatt ஆசிரியர், editor of the Middle East and Paris correspondent of “Zeit” and editor-in-chief of “Weltwoche”.
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