After the recent censorship purge of over 800 independent media outlets on Facebook, the Supreme Court is now hearing a case that could have ramifications for any future attempts at similar purges.
The United States Supreme Court has agreed to take a case that could change free speech on the Internet. Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck, No. 17-702, the case that it has agreed to take, will decide if the private operator of a public
access network is considered a state actor.
The case could affect how companies like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google and YouTube are governed. If the Court were to issue a far-reaching ruling it could subject such companies to First Amendment lawsuits and force them to allow a much
broader scope of free speech from its users.
DeeDee Halleck and Jesus Melendez claimed that they were fired from Manhattan Neighborhood Network for speaking critically of the network. And, though the case does not involve the Internet giants, it could create a ruling that expands the First
Amendment beyond the government.
The recent Fosta law in the US forces internet companies to censor anything to do with legal, adult and consensual sex work. It holds them liable for abetting sex traffickers even when they can't possibly distinguish the trafficking from the
legal sex work. The only solution is therefore to ban the use of their platforms for any personal hook ups. So indeed adult sex work websites have been duly cleansed from the US internet.
But now a woman is claiming that Facebook facilitated trafficking when of course its nigh on impossible for Facebook to detect such use of their networking systems. But of course that's no excuse under the FOSTA.
According to a new lawsuit by an unnamed woman in Houston, Texas, Facebook's morally bankrupt corporate culture for permitting a sex trafficker to force her into prostitution after beating and raping her. She claims Facebook should be held
responsible when a user on the social media platform sexually exploits another Facebook user. The lawsuit says that Facebook should have warned the woman, who was 15 years old at the time she was victimized, that its platform could be used by sex
traffickers to recruit and groom victims, including children.
The lawsuit also names Backpage.com, which according to a Reuters report , hosted pictures of the woman taken by the man who victimized her after he uploaded them to the site.
The classified advertising site Backpage has already been shut down by federal prosecutors in April of this year.