Big Tech Bans Trump

If you’re going to scream about the 1st Amendment, you should read it first. Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Google, and Apple are private companies owned by private citizens. They, not the government, are protected by the 1st Amendment.

One other important note on the 1st Amendment. It doesn’t apply to you, your friends, the company you work for, or anyone else. It is silent on what consequences you may face for speaking your mind. It simply states that the government cannot restrict your words or put you in jail for them unless your words include any of the following: incitement, (defined by the Supreme Court as “advocacy of the use of force”); incitement to suicide, false statements of fact, obscenity, child pornography, “fighting words,” threatening the President of the United States, false advertising or factually false claims made by commercial enterprises, and plagiarism.

Said differently, in America you are always free to say almost anything you like. But before you speak, you should consider the potential consequences. If your words fall into one of the exceptional categories above, the consequences will be legal. But remember, the 1st Amendment does not apply to private companies. If you’re an “at will” employee (and even if you have an employment agreement), you can still be instantly fired if (based upon something you said, or did, or posted on social media) if your company decides that you are no longer a “good fit.”

The 1st Amendment is not complex. It is a precious part of a document that describes the very soul of our constitutional republic. What is complex is what has happened to objective truth in the age of social media.

I’m going to discuss this on Tuesday, January 12, at 11 a.m. ET with Facebook’s VP Global Business Group, Carolyn Everson, at the Shelly Palmer Innovation Series Summit. Get your calendar invite here.

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Shelly Palmer is Fox 5 New York's On-air Tech Expert (WNYW-TV) and the host of Fox Television's monthly show Shelly Palmer Digital Living. He also hosts United Stations Radio Network's, ...

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