WHDH Channel 7 News, January 2021
President Trump blasted the social media companies for cutting him off from his millions of followers after the deadly riot at the US Capitol building. While some questioned the ban on the grounds of violating his First Amendment rights to free speech, Claudia Haupt, Associate Professor of Law and Political Science at Northeastern University said that is not the case.
Haupt said the president’s rights would only have been violated if the state had limited his expression. “Now what we have here is private companies enforcing their own terms of service so, in this relationship, the First Amendment does not apply,” she explained.
Haupt said that for social media companies the ban was a business decision. “They basically want to maintain a speech environment on their platforms that appeals to their users,” she said. “Nobody wants to be in a speech environment that is saturated with hate and abuse.”