TechFreedom Coalition Letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions

September 25, 2018   •  By IFS Staff   •    •  

TechFreedom Coalition Letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions

We write to express our concern over your plans to convene a meeting of state attorneys general later this month “to discuss a growing concern that [operators of popular social media services and search engines] may be hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms.” The First Amendment bars the government from attempting to “correct” the first alleged problem, political bias, including through the antitrust laws, and sharply limits how the antitrust laws can be used against anticompetitive behavior beyond editorial bias. Essentially, antitrust law can prescribe anticompetitive economic conduct but “cannot be used to require a speaker to include certain material in its speech product.”

Given these limitations, it is unclear what lawful action could result from your planned meeting. Indeed, we fear that the effect of your inquiry will be to accomplish through intimidation what the First Amendment bars: interference with editorial judgment.

[The Institute for Free Speech signed this letter.]

IFS Staff

IFS Staff