A California Supreme Court Judge rejected Twitter’s request to dismiss a lawsuit brought on by Jared Taylor for banning his and American Renaissance’s Twitter accounts. Press Release:
Judge Kahn recognized Taylor’s claim under California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL) that Twitter could be, in effect, guilty of false advertising by holding itself out as a public forum for free speech while reserving the right to ban the expression of ideas with which it disagrees. Judge Kahn also recognized Taylor’s claim under the UCL that Twitter’s terms of service—according to which it claims the right to ban any user any time for any reason—may well be “unconscionable,” and a violation of the law.
In oral argument, Judge Kahn asked: “Twitter can discriminate on the basis of religion, or gender, or sexual preference, or physical disability, or mental disability?” Counsel for Twitter conceded that it claimed that right—even though it would never exercise it. Judge Kahn denied that Twitter has such a right.
This is the first time censorship by a social media platform—an increasingly widespread practice seen by many as discrimination against conservative viewpoints—has been found actionable under state or federal law. This finding could have far-reaching consequences for other internet platforms that have become essential vehicles for the expression of ideas but that silence voices with which they disagree.
This lawsuit has larger free speech implications as well that extend far beyond this one case. Social media giants like Twitter and Facebook have time and again silenced those exhibiting wrongthink, better known as conservatives or any other person or group spreading ideas and information that do not fit the official narrative. After the momentous 11/8/16 they’ve clamped down with much more ferocity against dissenting ideas. This is a first step that couldn’t come soon enough. Here’s hoping for the best in the upcoming lawsuit.