President Trump banned from social media platforms: local attorney says it's not a violation of free speech

Posted at 5:47 AM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-15 12:54:39-05

In the days following the riots at The Capitol we’ve seen President Donald Trump permanently banned from Twitter and Snapchat, indefinitely from Facebook and Instagram, and suspended from YouTube.

Senior Member of the Criminal Defense Bar in Kern County and attorney, Kyle Humphrey said online hosts can operate by their own set of rules. Free speech and censorship laws, he explained, apply to the government, not private entities, and social platforms are privately owned.

“Remember when you open your computer and click ‘accept?’ He may have not read it, [and] most of us don’t, but he accepted their terms of use,” Humphrey said. “As somebody who is using their service, if he violates it, they can say ‘no, you’re done.’”

After what Congress calls, Trump's “incitement of insurrection,” they revisited the idea of amending Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act further.

Section 230 states in part, “no provider, or user, of an interactive service shall be treated as a publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Therefore, they’re not legally liable for Trump or anyone’s words online. Even so, “not every corporation is soulless, and on some level to keep 230 functioning, and keep the internet as free as can be, they have to self-police. They have to have a moral compass,” Humphrey said.

Humphrey pointed to former U.S. representative Beto O'Rourke’s suggestion over a year ago to make monitoring of hate speech online as part of their, “privilege to operate.”

“Anything that would attack or take away the rights of another group, they need to get that off the internet,” Humphrey said. “And they have to an extent done that, but over the last four years, we’ve seen a blossoming of people’s willingness, of individuals, to put really terrible things out there.”