Of Course the First Amendment Protects Google and Facebook (and It’s Not a Close Question)

Knight First Amendment Institute’s Emerging Threats Series, February 2018

Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper, No. 2018-08

5 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2018 Last revised: 3 May 2018

See all articles by Eric Goldman

Eric Goldman

Santa Clara University - School of Law

Date Written: February 1, 2018

Abstract

It has become trendy in some circles to strategize how to negate Constitutional protection for Internet giants like Google and Facebook so that they can be more heavily regulated. As part of the Knight First Amendment Institute’s Emerging Threats series, Heather Whitney published a paper in this genre, Search Engines, Social Media, and the Editorial Analogy, questioning whether Google and Facebook were properly analogized to newspapers for First Amendment purposes.

This short essay responds to Ms. Whitney's paper with two main points. First, the newspaper analogy isn't necessary to determine that Google and Facebook engage in speech and press activities. Second, stripping First Amendment from Google and Facebook would end badly for all of us.

Keywords: First Amendment, Free Speech, Google, Facebook, Search Engine, Newsfeed, Newspapers, Censorship

JEL Classification: K2, K21, K42, L4

Suggested Citation

Goldman, Eric, Of Course the First Amendment Protects Google and Facebook (and It’s Not a Close Question) (February 1, 2018). Knight First Amendment Institute’s Emerging Threats Series, February 2018, Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper, No. 2018-08, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3133496 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3133496

Eric Goldman (Contact Author)

Santa Clara University - School of Law ( email )

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