Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts


Society has a love-hate relationship with social media. Thanks to social media platforms, the world is more connected than ever before. But with the ever-growing dominance of social media there have come a mass of challenges. What is okay to post? What isn't? And who or what should be regulating those standards? Platforms are now constantly criticized for their content regulation policies, sometimes because they are viewed as too harsh and other times because they are characterized as too lax. And naturally, the First Amendment quickly enters the conversation. Should social media platforms be subject to the First Amendment? Can—or should—users be able to assert their First Amendment rights against these platforms? This article dives into the legal and policy implications surrounding the application of the First Amendment to social media platforms. Because the state action doctrine generally serves as a bar to enforcing constitutional restrictions on private actors, this Article examines these First Amendment questions in light of the state action doctrine, and more particularly its public function exception. This Article considers whether social media platforms fit within the public function exception and whether such an applicable is tenable and proper as a matter of law and public policy.

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