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
5 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2018 Last revised: 3 May 2018
Date Written: February 1, 2018
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: Suggested Citation