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Facebook, in court filings defending itself from a lawsuit filed by activist and congressional candidate Laura Loomer, has cited its first amendment rights as a “publisher,” contradicting public claims by the company that its social media service is a platform.
The distinction between publisher and platform is central to the legal protections enjoyed by big tech companies, and is frequently cited by Republican lawmakers in their criticism of Silicon Valley’s political bias.
Section - Communications - Decency - Act - Tech
Under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, tech platforms have immunity from lawsuits arising out of their decisions to host (or not to to host) user-generated content. Unlike publishers, which are liable if their writers defame someone, a tech platform is not held liable for content created by its users.
Yet Facebook appears to be jettisoning this categorization in its court filings, saying it has a First Amendment right as a publisher not to carry Loomer’s content.
Via - Facebook - Filings - P2
Via Facebook’s legal filings (p2):
Under well-established law, neither Facebook nor any other publisher can be liable for failing to publish someone else’s message.
Statements - Senate - Hearing - Year - Facebook
This contradicts public statements made in a Senate hearing last year by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who insisted that Facebook is a platform and not a publisher.
From Breitbart News’ article at the time:
Sen - Sullivan
[Sen. Sullivan:] “So...
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