Sex Offender Sues Twitter
Although the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that States cannot restrict a registered sex offender’s access to social media (Packingham v. North Carolina, 582 U.S. ___ (2017)), nothing has stopped social media companies, such as Facebook, from restricting sex offenders from their platforms. A lawsuit filed last week may change that!
Jared Taylor is the founder of the Virginia-based New Century Foundation – a white supremacist organization that was banned from Twitter because of new rules aimed at reducing abusive content. Although we don’t agree with the viewpoints of the Plaintiff, this lawsuit is certainly one in which we hope the Plaintiff prevails.
Taylor is suing California-based Twitter in California Superior Court, alleging that Twitter’s policy of banning him and his organization from their social media platform is unconstitutional and violates Twitter’s own founding principle; to “[g]ive everyone the power to create and share ideas instantly, without barriers.”
The issue in the suit is, “whether Twitter can arbitrarily and discriminatorily ban a speaker from its platform due to nothing more than the controversial nature of the speaker’s viewpoint, political beliefs, and perceived political affiliations.” The issue is very similar to Facebook’s practice of deleting the profiles of registered sex offenders and their policy of banning sex offenders (and their opinions) from it’s platform.
Facebook discriminating against sex offenders?
The suit does not question these social media platform’s rights to block hateful, offensive, abusive, obscene or speech intended to incite. It question’s it’s right to arbitrarily deprive anyone they “don’t like” to speak on it’s “town square”. For a long time we’ve considered a challenge against Facebook’s Terms of Service which ban anyone who is a “registered sex offenders” from their platform. We’ve never moved forward because, candidly, we didn’t think we had the financial resources to go up against one of the top 10 tech companies in the US. This suit may give us some hope!
You can read the complaint below: