Freedom of Speech in Question: Big tech companies drop conservative app

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The website of the social media platform Parler is displayed in Berlin, Jan. 10, 2021. The platform’s logo is on a screen in the background. The conservative-friendly social network Parler was booted off the internet Monday, Jan. 11, over ties to last week’s siege on the U.S. Capitol, but not before hackers made off with an archive of its posts, including any that might have helped organize or document the riot. (Christophe Gateau/dpa via AP)

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The app called “Parler” is having trouble finding a new server to host after it was banned by three of the biggest tech companies in the world: Google, Apple, and Amazon.

Parler has a significant user base of Donald Trump supporters, conservatives, and right-wing extremists. Many users are outraged and say it is a violation of their first amendment rights.

So it begs the question: Is it a violation of our First Amendment rights?

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution does protect the freedom of speech in public places. However, private businesses have the right to make up their own terms of use.

Jean Maneke who is a local attorney explained where you can freely exercise First Amendment Rights.

“It doesn’t mean you can pick any vehicle to use for your speech,” said Maneke. “Certainly, anyone who wants to make a statement, can type it out, write it out, stand on a public street corner, and make it. However, they can’t walk into a private business. It doesn’t guarantee your right to statement published in any private business.”

The chair of the Communications Department Department at Drury Jonathan Groves said private businesses do not interfere with the First Amendment because they are not government-owned.

“Facebook, Google, Amazon, they’re private businesses and they can do whatever they want, ” said Groves. ” If you’re going through a restaurant you can’t just start screaming and throwing food all over the place. You have to abide by the rules of the restaurant or they will kick you out.”

To clarify, if the government tries to censor anything you want to say that is a violation of the First Amendment.

However, tech companies are considered private businesses and can choose to drop an app if they desire.

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