American University Law Review Forum
In his Article Facebook’s Speech Code and Policies: How They Suppress Speech and Distort Democratic Deliberation, Professor Joseph Thai argues that Facebook skewed public debate with a policy that exempted politicians from its content-based rules. This Response updates the reader on Facebook’s retreat from this policy and identifies some preliminary lessons from it. Between May 2020 and January 2021, Facebook moved away from its “light touch” regulation of politicians’ speech by employing strategies like labeling and down-ranking—and, eventually, removal of content. After the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Facebook de-platformed President Trump altogether, putting a final end to the “hands off” policy and ushering in a new era in which, apparently, Facebook will more openly regulate politicians’ speech using curation strategies. The Response concludes that down-ranking is the next major front in the regulation of politicians’ speech.
Sarah C. Haan, Facebook and Politicians’ Speech, 70 Am. U. L. Rev. F. 203 (2021).