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Is Parler Protected Under the Right of Freedom of Assembly?

AndrewLozovyi on Deposit Photos

In the wake of the Capitol Hill riot on Wednesday, social media platforms suspended all of President Donald Trump’s accounts permanently. Amidst Twitter’s claims of the president inciting violence among rioters, the platform was one of the first to ban him from its service. Hopping onto the banning train, Amazon, Apple and Google removed networking service Parler across their platforms Sunday evening. Parler is a social networking service popular among conservatives and has been a place for supporters of Trump, some of whom claimed to have attended the Capitol riots.

Does banning Parler mean it violates the freedom of assembly?

Quick answer: no. Unfortunately, for conservatives and other pro-Trump users of the online network, it does not impede on any of the First Amendment rights, including the freedom of assembly. Why? It is quite simple. One of the companies reported dozens of posts that violated its terms of use and posed a risk to public safety by encouraging violence. Even as a place for like-minded individuals to congregate and share their thoughts, this is more of an issue of censorship. By agreeing to the service’s terms, Parler agrees to follow their rules, but when broken, the service can ban them. Some may argue it’s an issue of censoring primarily conservative thought, however that is not always the case. Helen Lee Bouygues from Reboot Foundation said in this Millennial Minute debate, there is a lack of evidence to support that theory.

So, why is Parler still filing lawsuits?

There is no true merit behind any of Parler’s claims against these tech companies. Yes, they are still suing for violating a breach of contract, but they cannot sue for anything under the First Amendment. Time will tell whether Parler actually succeeds in resurrecting their network through their countless lawsuits.

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