Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz described YouTube and Facebook as “partisan political tools” which should not be viewed as platforms as defined by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
“YouTube is no longer a platform, and Twitter is no longer a platform,” said Dershowitz on his podcast the Dershow. “It’s a partisan political tool that can be used for purposes that were unintended by Section 230, and section 230 must be amended, or at least interpreted not to apply to platforms that censor.”
Dershowitz highlighted YouTube’s and Twitter’s arbitrary and inconsistent applications of their own nebulous terms of service regarding veracity and incitement.
“You have to ask yourself, why do [YouTube and Twitter] allow other things to go on, blatant lies, falsehoods defamations, bigotry of every kind, on [their platforms]?” asked Dershowitz. “Doesn’t that send a mixed message?”
WATCH (relevant portion begins at 14:02):
Dershowitz said YouTube’s and Twitter’s censorship, ostensibly on the grounds of a maintaining informational accuracy, suggests that the technology companies are vetting all content across their platforms.
“That’s not the business that these platforms are in,” said Dershowitz of social media companies’ censorship and curation of content.
Dershowitz remarked. “Now, does that pose a danger to our Constitution? No. They’re not bound by the First Amendment. they are private more, or less. They are really so powerful that the question arises, what is the line between private and public when it comes to massive social media and communications?”
Dershowitz warned of the threat to free speech and expression posed by increasingly aggressive political censorship of information across the Internet.
“They certainly do pose a danger to the culture of the First Amendment, to the marketplace of ideas, to the freedom of Americans to pick and choose,” Dershowitz concluded.