Can our posts on social networks be protected? – The Sun of Mexico

Currently the companies owners of the platforms can (and do) remove, promote or limit the distribution of any posting in accordance with the corporate policies. But all that could change soon.

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The Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear five cases that together provide the court the opportunity to reexamine the nature of content moderation: the rules that govern discussions on platforms social networks as Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) and the constitutional limitations imposed by the government to affect the speech on the platforms.

The moderation of content, whether done manually by employees of the company or automatically through the software and algorithms of a platformaffects what viewers can see on a digital media page.

Promoted posts get a larger audience and higher engagement; those who have been deprioritized or eliminated will obviously receive less attention. The policies of content moderation reflect decisions of the digital platforms on the relative value of published messages.

As a lawyer, professor and author of a book On the limits of the First Amendment, I believe that the constitutional challenges presented by these cases will give the court the opportunity to advise the government, corporations, and users of technologies interactive what are their rights and responsibilities, as technologies communications continue to evolve.

They are public forums

At the end of October 2023, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two related cases in which both groups of plaintiffs argued that the elected officials who use their accounts social networksexclusively or partially, to promote their policies and policies cannot constitutionally prevent voters from posting comments on the pages of officials.

In one of those cases, O’Connor-Radcliff v. Garniertwo school board members from the Poway Unified School District in California blocked a group of parents, who frequently posted repetitive and critical comments on their accounts. Facebook and Twitter of board members to view the accounts of board members.

In the other case, Lindke v. freedthe city manager of Port Huron, Michigan, apparently angered by critical comments on a posted photo, blocked a constituent from viewing or posting on the Facebook of the administrator.

The courts have long maintained that public spaces, such as parks and sidewalks, are public forums that they must remain open to conversations and free debates and solid, subject only to neutral rules unrelated to the content of the speech expressed.

The electors silenced in the current cases insisted that in a world where much of the public debate takes place in social networks interactive, digital spaces used by government representatives to communicate with their electors They are also public forums and should be subject to the same First Amendment rules. like their physical counterparts.

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If the Supreme Court rules that public forums can be both physical and virtual, officials of the government They will not be able to arbitrarily block users from viewing and responding to their content or delete comments from constituents with whom they disagree. On the other hand, if the Supreme Court rejects the plaintiffs’ argument, the only recourse for frustrated voters will be to create competitive spaces in the social networks where they can criticize and argue at will.

The court’s decision in this case could have far-reaching effects on the form and methods of the government’s efforts to influence the information that guides the debates and public decisions.

* Professor Emerita of Communication and Rhetorical Studies, Syracuse University.

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