Ben Sperry on Misinformation
Ben Sperry provides another perspective in a paper soon to be published in the Gonzaga Law Review. “The thesis of this paper is that the First Amendment forecloses government agents’ ability to regulate misinformation online, but it protects the ability of private actors — ie. the social-media companies themselves — to regulate misinformation on their platforms as they see fit.”
The Sperry paper concludes that in the US, regulating misinformation cannot be government mandated. Government could “invest in telling their own version of the facts”, but it has “no authority to mandate or pressure social-media companies into regulating misinformation.”
So, if government can’t mandate how misinformation is handled, by what rights can social media companies edit or block content? The author discusses why the “state-action doctrine” protects private intermediaries. According to Sperry, the social media platforms are positioned best to make decisions about the benefits and harms of speech through their moderation policies.