Online Account Terminations/Content Removals and the Benefits of Internet Services Enforcing Their House Rules
1 Journal of Free Speech Law 191 (2021)
36 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2021
Date Written: August 2021
This article reviews a dataset of U.S. judicial opinions involving Internet services’ user account terminations and content removals. The Internet services have prevailed in these lawsuits, which confirms their legal freedom to enforce their private editorial policies (“house rules”). Numerous regulators have proposed changing the legal status quo and restricting that editorial freedom. Instead of promoting free speech, that legal revision would counterproductively reduce the number of voices who get to speak online. As a result, laws imposing “must-carry” requirements on Internet services will exacerbate the problem they purport to solve.
Keywords: account termination, content removal, content suspension, deplatforming, demonetization, shadow banning, censorship, platforms, 47 usc 230, section 230, cda, contracts, free speech, misinformation, hate speech, content regulation, common carriers, common carriage, must-carry, discrimination
JEL Classification: d74, d81, k2, k12, k4, l43, o3,
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation