Florida to Supreme Court: Let us regulate social networks as common carriers
Politicians really should not have special exemptions or privileges when it comes to free speech issues. Eg: they have exceptions to use robo-calls, text spam, etc.
Realistically, we probably need to define when an organization is a media influencer vs. a niche communications platform. I do think Facebook/Twitter/Etc. need to be held to a different level of accountability on things like this than say Tomshardware, or HN.
That doesn't mean regulating them like common carries is good or workable, but we need to start by recognizing that there are first amendment claims on both sides now.
One are transportation companies (including companies that transport electronic communication). The key differentiator between those and social media are that the content is private. So while they have to carry anything, the content of what they are carrying is from one party to another, and the carrier may not even know what it is. So that model shouldn't apply to social media.
The other type are broadcasters, like TV and Radio. But the way those are regulated, they don't have to show anyone's content all the time. They get to choose what content is shown, but also be liable for the content being shown.
But then there are cable companies. Which carry multiple broadcast channels. And they are not liable for the content on the channels they carry, nor do they have to carry all channels. What they do have to do however is set aside some of their capacity for public access. This is how social media should be regulated.
They can choose what channels (broadcasters) they want to carry, and the broadcaster is liable for content. Funny enough, this is already how social media works! The only change would be every social media being forced to add a section that is unmoderated for "public access" in which they would not be liable for the content.
I imagine that would go about as well as you'd expect. It would be filled with child porn, hate messages, and the occasional unpopular political opinion.
1 - Become a political candidate (even if a write-in for some bottom-end office in a tiny municipality) 2 - Register with social networks as a Florida-protected candidate 3 - Spend all your time spewing hate at people you don't like. Maybe automate that, to get both far more spewing and far more free time.
How can social media be a common carrier when it cannot be accessed through a common carrier?
It feels like we're fighting to have our one sentence displayed among the ads, while giving up the ability to create our own webpages and platforms.
I'm somewhat amazed at how poorly the people in favor of this understand what appeal these social networks was to let them grow large in the first place.
Isn't it obvious that it wasn't by letting everyone post anything? We've had that all along. No need to force social networks to do what has already always been an option (go ahead and start that personal blog and post all your thoughts on it).
But of course, that's not what the politicians mean. They use the words "common carrier" to make it sound like they aren't doing what they are actually doing: attempting to force social media companies to be megaphones for the political messages of the politicians.
De facto state media. The very opposite of free speech and the first amendment.
It would be laughable if the Supreme Court was principled.
Basically, once a social network surpasses say, 20M users, it becomes a defacto political entity, with the power to move elections. Given this immense power, the government should regulate accordingly.
Instead of passing detailed regulations though, I am of the opinion that if a company passes 200B USD in enterprise value, that Congress should get the right to appoint 50% of the board of directors. This way, the company's responsibilities match its defacto political power to sway elections.
Basically, make Facebook into an Amtrak or USPS. If Facebook does not like this idea, then they can split the company into pieces.
Additional benefit: this functions also as anti-trust regulation. Amazon would be subject to this as well.