Free Speech? In Social Media?


It raises the question: Are social media platforms like Twitter subject to the First Amendment? Is there a right to free speech on social media owned by private corporations?
The Knight First Amendment Institute thinks so.

Brianna Wu, Candidate for District 8 in Massachusetts (District 8) has begged Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO to take care of Russian Bots that were attacking her campaign.

Ms. Wu, a former Republican and Trent Lott (R -MS) staffer has herself threatened to regulate the tech industry if elected.

Ms. Wu also has “backhannel” access to tech companies and exults in her ability to have people suspended.

Do you have the right to talk to a candidate for Congress for Twitter? Apparently not if Brianna Wu reports you.

Brianna Wu attempted to delete her tweets in December 2016, prior to announcing her run or Congress.

The blending of corporate and goverment is classic Fascism.

According to Merrian Webster, fascism is:

a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

James B Whisker, doctor of philosophy and professor of political science at West Virginia University (retired), writes in Italian Fascism: An Interpretation that,

From 1925 until 1938 the first fascist state operated. Its primary theoretician was Alfredo Rocco.[6] As he conceived it, the state was to be a strong, modern nation-state, accepting both the ideas of capitalism in the socio-economic sphere and a syndicalist state which brought about a forced union of labor and capital. Rocco encouraged the tendency of the fascist-sponsored capitalism to form monopolies and cartels because he believed that this increased productivity and thus encouraged the growth of state powers.

It is clear that social media sites need oversight and regulation. However politicians able to blend backchannel access and public threats of regulation bring issues of goverment overreach into question.

Calls to breakup the tech and social media monopolies are growing.

Matthew Stoller, fellow at the Open Markets Program at New America, writes in Business Insider,

These stories are embarrassing, yes. But there’s something deeper going on here. Silicon Valley, an international treasure that birthed the technology of our age, is being destroyed.
Monopolies are now so powerful that they dictate the roll-out of new technology, and the only things left to invest in are the scraps that fall off the table.
The great business historian Alfred Chandler, in his book on the electronic century, called antitrust regulators the “Gods” of creation. Antitrust was originally understood as a uniquely American “charter of economic liberty”.
But there hasn’t been a Sherman Act Section 2 anti-monopolization case for 15 years. And the anti-merger Clayton Act is not being enforced. Neither Bush, nor Obama, nor Trump (so far), has seen fit to stop the monopolists from buying their way into dominance and blocking innovation.
Take Google.

Take Google. Brianna Wu is “very wary” about breaking Google up.

Brianna Wu has backchannel access to Google.

Is Brianna Wu a facsist?

It’s unclear, however she seems quite willing to abuse her authority to have people suspended from Twitter. It’s difficult to believe that she is standing up for the First Amendment while exulting in her ability to have people suspended from Twitter for tweeting her.

While Ms Wu has taken a public position against doxing online, she heself has doxed a twitter consumer. This at best, is hypocrisy and violates Twitter’s safety rules.

A politician that ignores Twitter safety rules, while having backchannel access to tech corporations, while threatening to regulate them, is a very scary individual from a Civil Liberties perspective.

Brianna Wu on “partisanship.”

Ms. Wu refers to incumbent Democrat Steven Lynch, whom she is running against, a “Republican.” This makes it difficult to believe she has any particular allegiance to civil rights OR truth.

At best she represents the worst abuses of power possible within our legal framework. The corruption of goverment intruding in business with threats and coercion.

Is doxing a crime? It is if you are Brianna Wu being doxed? But not if you are Briianna Wu doing the doxing?


On the left, Patreon has become a way for name-and-shamers to earn a bit of cash.

Brianna Wu has a patreon, and actively solicits funds for her campaign on twitter.

This raises issues with potential mixing/comingling of funds as Brianna Wu’s patreon platform seems more geared to her online activism against internet harassment.

This social media platform has been leveraged by Ms. Wu into major press coverage AND a run for Congress in MA D8, a district she cherry picked to run against the incumbent, Steven Lynch (D — MS).

It’s clear that politicians social media accounts need to also be regulated for true statements made during their campaigns. In the same way that Congress regulates TV ads for politicians.

For instance, Brianna Wu has openly lied about the FBI invesitgation into the gamergate controversy.

The FBI did investigate, and it received press coverage. No charges were brought. The FBI report is available on the FBI Vault, and available for download.

Brianna Wu responded at the time the FBI report was released, indicating she had been contacted by the press.


Social media corporations, that Americans now rely on for news, need to be regulated in a way that protects Free Speech and prevents them from wielding monopoly power.


(h/t) Ev Williams, Twitter Public Policy, Google B2B Team