Governments are required to prohibit a broad and ambiguous category of speech while businesses are instructed to “respect” a putative right to be free of “hate speech,” a demand that could support banning a wide range of speech. The U.S. legislature and courts do not recognize such required prohibitions, but their reticence does not obligate social media companies incorporated in the United States.
Parler’s adoption of community standards prompted frustration and gloating from the site’s respective fans and skeptics, but the platform is simply advancing along a seemingly inevitable content moderation curve.
Like Obama before him, President Trump may have a pen, but he cannot rewrite statues at will. As drafted, his order’s reasoning is at odds with congressional intent, a quarter century of judicial interpretation, and any reasonable reading of the statute’s plain language.
The application of burgeoning AI technology in unprecedented times shows us how valuable it is. Yet as we reap greater benefits from AI during the COVID-19 pandemic, the persistent quandary over definitions, rights, and protections remains.
Congress should conduct vigorous oversight over how these unlawful searches occurred—and remove the exemption that spares FBI from having to tally their searches for Americans in this enormous database.