Social media platforms have become influential in shaping public discourse. These digital platforms have established new modes of communication that enable individuals from different ethnic, political, and racial backgrounds to come together and discuss contentious issues in online public forums. Yet, as these platforms continue to grow, their unfettered control over online speech increases. Legal scholars and Supreme Court Justices have examined these platforms’ control over speech, putting forth various legal theories to combat censorial practices, but have not agreed upon a solution.
To provide a legal framework for legal scholars and courts to consider, this Note will look deeper into the issue of censorship on social media, adopting a focused lens. Specifically, it will explore the feasibility of imposing common carrier responsibilities on one of the leading social media platforms, Twitter. It will assess the functionalities of the platform and how these mechanisms contribute to the indiscriminate regulation of user speech. Additionally, it will historically examine the common carrier doctrine, scrutinizing alternative common carrier theories that arose from the doctrine while advocating, adopting, and applying Eugene Volokh’s compelled hosting doctrine to Twitter. This Note concludes by assessing privatized regulation through an analysis of Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter.
Marquis C. Stepteau,
Releasing the Caged Bird: A Case for Twitter as a Common Carrier,
U.C. Irvine L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.uci.edu/ucilr/vol13/iss4/13