Prager University’s lawsuit against Google and YouTube uses their own statements to allege that the Big Tech Giant either used false to deceive its users, or violated the First Amendment by censoring American citizens in a public forum.
Prager University famously launched its lawsuit against Google and YouTube in 2017, after several of Prager’s videos were removed or placed in a “limited state”, a decision many believe was made because the conservative videos were critical of Islam.
In the latest court documents, Prager University cites an exchange between Texas Senator Ted Cruz and YouTube’s Global Head of Public Policy and Government Relations, Juniper Downs, from January of 2018.
In Congress, Cruz asked representatives from Facebook, Google, and Twitter whether they considered their platforms to be “public forums”, and while those representing Facebook and Twitter deftly handled the question while refusing to specifically refer to the platforms as public forums, Downs affirmed that Google and YouTube are a public forum, and specifically told Cruz he was was “correct” in his understanding of what this means.
The lawsuit uses this exchange to question whether Google is engaging in “state action” by censoring political speech on YouTube. If so, the private company would likely be in violation of the First Amendment, as restriction of speech and interpretation of the First Amendment are privileges left exclusively to the federal government.
While many critics believe Google and the other Big Tech Giants should be immune from censorship criticisms as private businesses, the legal team behind Prager University used Google’s own words and claims to create an image of a company stifling the First Amendment.
If this were not enough, the lawsuit also alleges that if Google and YouTube are not a public forum, then the company must be engaged in false advertising, as it lured in content creators with promises of neutrality:
Appellant has also alleged facts that Appellees are engaged in false advertising by inducing the public audience to use YouTube based on false promises of content neutrality and by falsely branding Appellant’s speech as offensive and inappropriate. Appellees unlawfully restrict and falsely brand Appellant’s speech based on animus and discriminatory reasons and for the purely anti-competitive purpose of boosting the audience reach and profitability of Appellees’ own content on YouTube at the expense of Appellant.
The lawsuit continues to paint a poor picture of YouTube, stating that the platform’s only defense against accusations of violating the First Amendment is that their former statements pledging to be a neutral public forum “simply do not matter because YouTube is both privately owned and too big to be held accountable under the First Amendment.”
Should the case proceed to oral arguments, Google and Prager University will find themselves before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Parler CEO John Matze Forced to Flee Home Under Deluge of Left-Wing Terror Threats
Matze is suing Amazon for deplatforming Parler.
Parler CEO John Matze has been forced to flee his home and go into hiding after receiving an onslaught of left-wing death threats. Parler, a free speech social media platform, has been temporarily shut down in an extensive deplatforming campaign. Amazon promptly cut Parler’s access to its Web Services after the US Capitol riot earlier this month, cherry-picking examples of content that violate Parler’s terms of service and claiming the platform is being used for violent purposes.
Matze made the frank admission in a court filing for Parler’s lawsuit against Amazon, requesting that the court keep any disclosures about his personal life and location secret. Parler is currently suing Amazon in federal court for its immediate revocation of Parler’s hosting agreement, arguing that Amazon agreed to provide 30 days notice before any potential termination of Parler’s hosting, pursuant to the party’s original agreement.
Matze reveals that he’s been forced to leave his home and go into hiding with his family, citing Amazon Web Services’ “vilification” of his company.
Employees of Amazon have allegedly been threatened and harassed as well for shutting down Parler. The court filing in favor of redaction references these threats in requesting the court provide redaction of personal information to both sides.
“Both sides of this dispute have shown that their employees have suffered real harassment and threats—including, on both sides, death threats—owing to the charged nature of this litigation.
Parler therefore agrees with AWS that safety and security concerns justify the limited sealings requested here,” Parler requests in the Amazon lawsuit.
Parler’s administrators are still seeking to return the free speech social media platform to full operation, although it could take weeks to bring it back online. They may have learned a lesson about the futility of contracting hosting services with a Big Tech monopoly such as Amazon.
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