Social Media Online (Not) Freedom of Speech

Online freedom of speech is a hot topic these days. “Censorship” is a common cry after a post or video is removed from a “public” web forum. Without getting into the merits of whether the latest conspiracy theory, controversial video or hate group should have the right to express a view, the short answer is that, freedom of speech laws generally apply to governmental actions and not private contractual or other private interactions. So just as you can ask someone to leave your front yard, so can the online forum decide what they want to see on their websites and forums. It’s a relatively new area of law and will develop, but for now that is the starting position.