Online Account Terminations/Content Removals and the Benefits of Internet Services Enforcing Their House Rules

1 Journal of Free Speech Law 191 (2021)

Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper

36 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2021

See all articles by Eric Goldman

Eric Goldman

Santa Clara University - School of Law

Jess Miers

Santa Clara University - School of Law

Date Written: August 2021

Abstract

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

Goldman, Eric and Miers, Jess, Online Account Terminations/Content Removals and the Benefits of Internet Services Enforcing Their House Rules (August 2021). 1 Journal of Free Speech Law 191 (2021), Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3911509

Eric Goldman (Contact Author)

Santa Clara University - School of Law ( email )

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
United States
408-554-4369 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ericgoldman.org

Jess Miers

Santa Clara University - School of Law ( email )

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
United States

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