Social Media Platform Censorship
In the broad sweep of human history, as newly communications technologies were developed, those technologies have been controlled by “gatekeepers” who controlled access to those technologies. Although Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century was revolutionary, and ultimately led to dramatic societal changes, Gutenberg’s invention was not widely accessible. Printing presses were expensive, and owned and operated by wealthy individuals, who had the power to decide who could use their technologies to mass communicate. Many of the technologies that followed, including radio, television, satellite and cable, were correspondingly expensive, or required the owner to obtain one of a limited number of governmental licenses, and therefore were also owned and operated by wealthy individuals or corporations who could control their use. Without access to new technologies, ordinary people were forced to communicate in much more primitive ways (e.g., orally or through handwritten documents), and found it difficult to “mass communicate.”
1 See R.L. Weaver, From Gutenberg to the Internet: Free Speech, Advancing Technology and the Implications for democracy, pp. 21-60, Carolina Academic Press, 2nd ed., 2019.
2 Id., at 12-20.
3 Id., at 21-38.
4 See id.
5 Id., at 42-43.
6 Id., at 44-45.
7 Id., at 45-46.
8 Id., at 45.
9 See Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, 395 U.S. 367 (1969).
10 See id., at 42-46.
11 Id., at 21-38 & 51-60.
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