Sorry Shitnerds, Twitter (And Other Social Media) Is Not A “Public Forum”

25 Jan

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First sentence in, I’ll acknowledge that yes Twitter is public, in a sense.
Second sentence in, I’m going to point out this has nothing to do with my premise.
Doesn’t matter, however, because all of you dipshits have already forgotten me saying that three sentences in. Anyway, you can’t throw a rock on Twitter without beaning some creepy entitled fuck undulating up into a stranger’s mentions to assert that “Twitter is a public forum/platform“.

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Let’s see, there’s a Gadsden flag, an anime avatar, a generic knight… all this needs is a Gamergate hashtag and…

publicforum3YAHTZEE

Anyway, we were talking about “public forums”. First of all, a “public forum” as a concept only has meaning in relation to the First Amendment in the United States Bill Of Rights, which surprise surprise isn’t international law. A judge in Canada declaring that “Twitter is a public forum” in a court transcript means jack shit. He could have declared Twitter a “First Amendment Naked Pool Party” and it would have carried the same weight legally because Canada is not the United States. Trust me, I’ve googled a few boring as fuck law school PDFs and I know I my shit here.

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The concept of public platforms was established in US Federal Law to allow political demonstration, rather than to bolster the sad fragile egos of sneering manchildren surrounded by cumstained anime figurines that wanna yell insults at women and minorities about video game politics. As defined by US Constitutional law, there are three types of public forum:

  1. A closed public forum, like a jail or military base. Typically not open to public expression, but political and religious views are still protected to an extent.
  2. A limited public forum, like a meeting or organization hall or public theater. Much more freedom of public expression, but you can’t exactly yell “FIRE” in the middle of it.
  3. A traditional, open public forum. These sorts of locations are set aside by communities or the government expressly for the purpose of public expression. These are places like parks and street corners.

The thing about actual “open forums” is they aren’t private or corporate owned, because that would defeat the purpose. Twitter is very much a corporate-owned entity, signing on requires agreeing to Terms Of Service, and content is moderated to accommodate that (or at least is ideally). It could even be argued that Twitter fits more the definition of a “limited public forum” but that isn’t the way these dweebs contextualize it.

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