In a recent ruling, Facebook’s oversight board temporarily upheld an earlier decision by the social media company to suspend former President Donald Trump’s account in the wake of a riot on Capitol Hill.
The decision was celebrated by many partisans on the left, but one author recently argued that the move could lead to a challenge in the nation’s highest court.
“Exactly what Marked Zuckerberg wanted”
Vivek Ramaswamy, who wrote the book Woke Inc., told Fox News that the board’s ruling that calls for a review in six months was nothing more than window dressing for Facebook’s inappropriate response.
“I think that this self-criticism was just a veneer, it’s a smokescreen designed to create this air of legitimacy around their decision when in fact they did exactly what Mark Zuckerberg wanted to,” Ramaswamy said on Monday.
He went on to encourage Trump to take the matter to “the real U.S. Supreme Court” for a ruling on the matter.
Laying out what he called a “potentially groundbreaking legal theory,” Ramaswamy argued that Facebook should not be treated equally to other private entities under the Constitution.
“They’re effectively doing the bidding of Democrats in Congress who have threatened them with regulation and reprisal if they don’t go out and censor content that they as Democrats don’t want to see and they give them Section 230 immunity and go out and do it,” he added.
“Threw down the gauntlet”
Section 230 is a provision of the 1996 Communication Decency Act, which shields social media companies from liability for what their uses post as long as the companies operate as public forums and not publishers.
“So, that’s a combination of a stick and a carrot that turns this private action into really state-like action that’s governed by the First Amendment,” Ramaswamy asserted.
He noted that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas “threw down the gauntlet and said that he was interested in hearing the case,” going on to insist that Trump should initiate the process.
In an opinion issued last month, Thomas wrote that he and his colleagues “will soon have no choice but to address how our legal doctrines apply to highly concentrated, privately owned information infrastructure such as digital platforms.”
The justice also described “the concentrated control of so much speech in the hands of a few private parties” as an “unprecedented” development in U.S. history.