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Pamela Geller, Breitbart News: DoJ Responds to Our Social Media Lawsuit

34

Our lawsuit proceeds to finally hold the social media giants accountable for rampant free speech violations.

“Pamela Geller: Left Press Lashes Out Against Our Free Speech Lawsuit,” Breitbart News, October 16, 2016:

Leftist publications and pundits are rubbing their hooves in glee at the Department of Justice’s response to our recent lawsuit challenging Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides immunity from lawsuits to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, thereby permitting these social media giants to engage in government-sanctioned censorship and discriminatory business practices free from legal challenge.

In order for us to sue Facebook (which is our intent), we need to knock out this federal immunity statute, which prevents us from suing Facebook, first. Our lawsuit is therefore against the federal government.  We knock out the immunity, and then we can sue Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

In response, the Justice Department simply tried to dodge the issue, saying we were suing the wrong entity. Our lawyers are preparing a full-throated response, but meanwhile, the left is crowing: this little hit piece about our case is filled with hyperbole and nonsense. The government filed a very predictable motion that, unsurprisingly, raises two issues: our standing to sue and state action. To have standing to sue, one must show an injury in fact that is fairly traceable to the action one is challenging, and that can be redressed by the court. The government concedes in its motion that we have shown that.

However, the government is arguing that the injury is from the social media giants and thus not fairly traceable to them, and therefore the injury is also not redressable by the court. But “fairly traceable” does not require a direct injury from the entity one is suing. If the action we are challenging materially increased the probability of injury, we have met that standard. And we clearly have: as everyone knows, the only reason why social media can discriminate against us the way they do is because of the immunity granted by the federal government.

The second argument that the Justice Department makes in its response to us is related in many ways to the first. The DoJ argues that there is no constitutional violation because the harm caused (the censorship) was by a private actor (social media). That is generally true, but the Supreme Court has declared that the government is responsible when it enacts laws that change the legal relationship between two groups, including the selective withdrawal from one group of legal protections against private acts, regardless of whether the private acts can be attributed to the government — and that is precisely the situation here.

The challenged congressional statute—which, by definition, is an Act of “Congress” – alters the legal relations between us as Plaintiffs on the one hand and Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube on the other, such that these media giants are permitted to censor, with impunity, our speech based on its content and viewpoint. Consequently, state action lies in the enactment of this federal statute, regardless of whether the private acts are attributable to the government. And the resulting injury is “fairly traceable” to the challenged statute and “redressable” by the relief requested. In sum, the government’s motion should be denied.

Our response to the government challenge notes:

Through the use of Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, anyone person with access to the Internet can become a town crier with a voice that resonates farther than it could from any soapbox, and the same individual can become a pamphleteer. In sum, the Internet, particularly through social media, has become the new marketplace of ideas.

Today, the impact of the Internet as a medium of worldwide human communication cannot be overstated. Social media, particularly including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, are exceedingly important for worldwide human communication and thus provide important forums for that communication. Denying a person or organization access to these important social media forums based on the content and viewpoint of the person’s or organization’s speech on matters of public concern, as in this case, is an effective way of silencing or censoring speech and depriving the person or organization of political influence and business opportunities.

Businesses that provide Internet services in California, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, are subject to § 51 of the California Civil Code, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of political affiliation, religious affiliation, or political or religious beliefs, including speech expressing those beliefs. Facebook’s, Twitter’s, and YouTube’s discrimination against Plaintiffs as set forth in the Complaint violates § 51 of the California Civil Code, but for § 230 of the CDA.

By way of Section 230, the government is empowering this type of discrimination and censorship. By its own terms, this statute permits Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube “to restrict access to or availability of material that [they] consider to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable.” But this statute does not provide any kind of objective standard for determining which speech is “objectionable.”

Consequently, Section 230, according to our response:

  • is a content- and viewpoint-based restriction on speech;
  • is vague and overbroad and lacks any objective criteria for suppressing speech;
  • permits Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to engage in government-sanctioned discrimination and censorship of free speech;
  • permits Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to engage in government-sanctioned discrimination that would otherwise violate California Civil Code § 51;
  • permits Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to engage in government-sanctioned censorship of speech that would otherwise violate Article I, section 2 of the California Constitution;
  • confers broad powers of censorship, in the form of a “heckler’s veto,” upon Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube officials, who can censor constitutionally protected speech and engage in discriminatory business practices with impunity by virtue of this power conferred by the federal government;
  • grants Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and their officers, agents, and employees unbridled discretion to censor Plaintiffs’ speech such that their decisions to limit Plaintiffs’ speech are not constrained by objective criteria, but may rest on ambiguous and subjective reasons; and
  • permits Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to restrict Plaintiffs’ speech based on its content and viewpoint.

Can we guarantee that the judge will agree with us? No plaintiff can ever do that, and certainly not in the types of cases we bring. If the district court judge dismisses our case, will we pursue this further, including possibly to the Supreme Court? Yes. This issue is too important. With this power of censorship, social media could seriously influence this presidential campaign, and indeed, is already doing so.

For years I have documented the outrageous bias of Facebook’s speech policies. Notoriously one-sided, those who oppose jihad terror, support Israel and stand against the most brutal and extreme ideology on the face of the earth (sharia) have been systematically blocked and banned. Just last June, Facebook took down my page and blocked me after a devout Muslim opened fire on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Facebook said they took down my page because of their rule against “hateful, obscene, or threatening” content.

But it is not hateful, obscene, or threatening to oppose jihad terror such as we saw in Orlando and in so many other places. Truth is not hateful or obscene. What is hateful, obscene and threatening is that Facebook is moving to silence everyone who speaks honestly about the motivating ideology behind such attacks. To get at Facebook and the other social media giants, we have to challenge the government statute first.

The left needs to handicap and shut down the opposition, because its positions do not stand up to refutation and cogent analysis. That’s why the “liberals” are working hard to shut down free speech. Liberal, indeed. But we will continue to fight them every step of the way.

Pamela Geller Lawsuit Document by Breitbart News on Scribd

Pamela Geller is the President of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), publisher of PamelaGeller.com and author of The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America and Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance. Follow her on Twitter here. Like her on Facebook here.

 

 

  • puhiawa

    Censorship is always by or through a third party in America. That is how it HAS to work. It is still censorship.

  • lostlegends

    Go get ’em, Pam. Good luck.

    • IzlamIsTyranny

      Ditto! Swing hard for the bleachers!

  • Mahou Shoujo

    Eventually Facebook and other censors will be forced to admit to being liars and bigots, then they will have to make amends to those offended. this is going to take some smart lawyers to prove, but it will assure they will be remembered and revered long after the oppressors and democrats who tried to do this are forgotten as the rubbish they are.

  • Craig

    You see the hand of the big government socialists at work, just as in any other socialist country, the few and rich make the rules, all the others are slaves with no rights or recourse.

    • Completely agree. Majority are slaves with incredible low salary and pretty bad conditions of work and nurture. The worst thing is no possible to go abroad. People are in a cage, without the right to breathe fresh air – it’s awful!

  • The idea that social media enjoys government-granted immunity from lawsuits is false on its face. One can still sue if there is evidence that social media networks knowingly allowed libelous claims to be spread, thus causing harm. One is free to start his or her own social media website.

    @bunnibobbi:disqus – who defines who is offended? The courts don’t exist to provide relief for butt hurt.

    • Mahou Shoujo

      The court exists to pass judgement on those who violate the laws, there are laws against slander, censorship, and discrimination. It will require a court case in their instance to deceive the degree of guilt and punishment of those causing offence. There is no law against putting bacon on a door knob, but some but hurt muslims are offended. The government agrees, the precedent is set for but hurt lawsuits.

      • The courts exist to uphold the Constitution first. Geller would need to show that the law in question exceeds Constitutional authority. The only way for that to happen is if there is an antitrust exemption or actual harm caused from libel or slander. Otherwise, no case. This case should be tossed.

        • Mahou Shoujo

          Go back to your “law for dummies” book and re -read it.

    • Robert Batchelor

      The lawsuit is about censorship.

      • Only government is enjoined from censoring unless there is a strong national interest to censor.

        • Robert Batchelor

          Hmmm! Maybe you need to go back and read the article again. You seem to be getting lost in the weeds.

          • The law in question isn’t granting any exemption, contrary to what Geller believes. There is no government-granted monopoly or concession here to invalidate Section 230. Prior case law on the matter has usually been with the content providers.

          • Robert Batchelor

            Got it! How it will be decided is another story. Never know how the court will fall even where there is a history of ruling one particular way.

  • kookooracharabioso

    So glad you decided to do this. We all need to watch this closely. They are now utilities and must be impartial.

  • Mr Paul Middleton

    Clearly their ‘granted immunity’ ought not to have been instituted in the first place as it’s unconstitutional. Even still, it’s time to remove that arbitrary immunity and restore the primacy of the Constitution because we all know they betray themselves as bigots for the Left. But as Trump says, the DoJ acts as though the Constitution is secondary to their whims at best, and irrelevant, at worst. This will only deteriorate further under Killary, who is about as undemocratic as it’s possible to get (vis a vis Pam’s article ‘those who want to limit immigration are [not American]’). !!

  • Drew the Infidel

    To allow Fakebook, Twitter, and YouTube to force their own interpretations of the First Amendment down the throats of others is itself unconstitutional, simply by definition. As I have said many times before, here and elsewhere, those in the media and politics who seek to criticize Pamela for expressing her opinions need to be reminded that the constitutional liberties that allow her to do so are the very same liberties that allow the media and political debate to even exist in the first place.

    • Facebook, Twitter, and Alphabet Inc. (owner of YouTube) are not government. Only government (except for national security interests such as state secrets) is enjoined from censorship.

      • Drew the Infidel

        They point out, as noted above, that the realtionship between Pamela and other users like her has changed from the simplistic explanation you offer due to the nature and conduct of their businesses. They have put themselves in a less defensible position than, say, the cleaner who does your clothes and ruins a garment or the local newspaper who feeds you left wing junk you know is not true.

      • IzlamIsTyranny

        Maybe they should be nationalized muslum. Much like what you muslum rats did to to the oil industries built by western democracies in your various muslum sh!ttystans.

  • GandalfsTrouserpress

    Thank you for taking up this important fight on behalf of everyone’s freedom and the future of democratic and civilised values. Best Wishes.

  • dba_deplorable_trader

    Who wrote and passed section 230? Which administration?

    • neil barron

      Good ?’s

    • redblade7

      Section 230 was a rider to the Communications Decency Act, which intended to outlaw Internet porn and was ruled unconstitutional. The immunity prevents service providers for being responsible for the crimes of the people who contribute content. It is what made YouTube what it is. Imagine PamelaGeller.com being responsible for a bunch of Muslim death threats? Trying to repeal Section 230 will be the end of Web 2.0.

  • AR154U☑ᵀʳᵘᵐᵖ DEPLORABLE 2016
  • When the American government colludes with Internet globalist giants Facebook Twitter and YouTube in acts of censorship to manipulate public opinion we are no longer living in a free society. Freedom begins with freedom of speech. Transforming America from a free sovereign nation to a globalist entity requires an “unaware compliant public” and censorship because globalism does not benefit the American people. Globalism only benefits the elite ruling class of multi-national conglomerates, profiteers like George Soros, and political puppets like Hillary Clinton who are paid millions of dollars to promote the globalist agenda. Globalism is America’s future with Hillary. Americans must decide in November if they want to surrender their sovereignty for Hillary’s globalist one-world government or remain a sovereign nation in Donald Trump’s America.

  • MSMediacritic

    Here is a list of groups that facebook claimed do *NOT* violate community standards when I reported them:
    https://www.facebook.com/hatej
    https://www.facebook.com/I-hat
    https://www.facebook.com/I-Hat
    https://www.facebook.com/rya.d… (I hate jews)
    https://www.facebook.com/profi… (I hate jews)
    https://www.facebook.com/group… (we hate Roman Catholic Church)
    https://www.facebook.com/StopC….
    https://www.facebook.com/truth… (Jewish Ritual Murder)
    and …. (not making this up, this was the real name of the group): Jesus F**ing Christ. Slut Mary’s B***d. (Since removed, but not when I reported it)

    But Pamela said mean things so that’s hate speech and can be censored.

  • Gina

    You are a true American heroine and freedom fighter…so admired north of the border!

    • Jack

      PAMELA,
      Gina is 100% Right and I would add a brave, strong Daughter of Israel. There are not Thanks to exclaim that could reach out Thanks for your work.

  • Jack

    Pamela, the very month of the twin attack at the Charlie Magazine and Kosher Market in Paris, and after the solidarity march of World Leaders that Obama did not attend, Obama called a meeting of Media Industry Giants, including Social Media Founders, Religious Leaders, ADL, SWC, CAIR and several other Muslim Groups. After the conference ADLs pet project was to establish Anti-hate Groups in every State with concern for the Muslim Community that there shouldn’t be a backlash. Thus far it is my impression that only Groups who give factual knowledge about Jihad and the underlying Islamic basis for the action and thinking; are cited by the ADL or just mentioned as Hate Groups whereas the numerous Muslim Groups who espouse the Hate of the infidel specifically Jews masked as Anti-Israel Speech get a pass or rap on the hands. The writing was on the Wall when Chancellor Alleged Ex-Stasi Officer Merkel asked Zuckerberg, boy genius without a sense of history, to censor negative migrant news and negative news about the Turkish Prime Minister and herself

  • ermom

    Keep it up, Pam.

  • Xwingfighter1138

    Soon the “Department of Institutional Favoritism” will be exorcised and replaced with people who care about the law. I expect thousands of lawsuits to be filed in February 2017 once Justice has been restored to America.
    We came close to a 5-4 Liberal majority on the Supreme Court; what a disaster that would have been. Words would no longer have had any meaning, all judgements would be made to benefit “Favored Classes” of people without regard to law.

  • redblade7

    I hope you’re not intending to *repeal* CDA 230. That would make sites responsible for the comments and content on their site. Imagine Pamela Geller and Breitbart being shut down by a bunch of death threats from SJWs and terrorists!

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