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Oh Noes! That's Censorship!

The guarantee of free speech embodied in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution applies only to the government and government agencies.

To wit: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

This means no federal, state or local government official can infringe on your free-speech rights when you are expressing your views. Despite this prohibition, government may still restrict your speech. For example, treason, inciting riot, defamation (libel and slander), false advertising, harassment and threats to individuals and government employees (i.e., Congress members, judges and the President) may be punished in both civil and criminal courts.

If Facebook, Twitter, Google, or an art site or any other private or corporate entity removes your art, graphic design or writing, you do not have a First Amendment remedy.

If someone is using social media to disparage you, attack you, or otherwise harass you, there are civil and criminal remedies. Don’t forget to take screen shots and file a complaint with the platform where the harassment occurs.

Remember kids, you have to play by the private company’s rules if you want to enjoy expressing yourself in a private or corporate situation. When you get banned or suspended it is unlikely the ACLU will file a lawsuit on your behalf.

I don’t like it when my stuff gets pulled down or when I get suspended for offending someone, but that’s the chance we take for being outspoken and provocative.

That is all. Now, back to uploading the cute kitteh pics and parody tee shirt designs.

Want to know more?

Legal Information Institute Constitution Annotated

Journal Comments