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Navigating the Crossroads of Social Media and Free Speech: Insights from Michael van der Veen

February 27, 2024

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

In an age where digital platforms have become central to our communication, the intersection of social media and free speech has emerged as a pivotal legal battleground. Recently, Michael van der Veen, a distinguished attorney at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim, was featured on Channel 69 News, addressing this very issue. With the U.S. Supreme Court set to make a decision that could redefine First Amendment rights online, it's a topic of significant relevance to all.

The Core Issue

At the heart of the debate is a fundamental question: Can social media companies lawfully censor users and content? The U.S. Constitution's First Amendment explicitly restricts Congress from inhibiting free speech, but it does not mention private companies. This distinction is crucial, as highlighted by Michael van der Veen. The Supreme Court's forthcoming decision in two cases will address whether states can regulate the editorial decisions of these private companies, especially concerning content removal and user access.

The Cases in Question

The cases from Texas and Florida exemplify the current controversy. Texas is focused on the state's ability to influence companies' editorial decisions, while Florida deals with the power to prevent companies from barring political figures, a situation stemming from the high-profile banning of Donald Trump from Twitter.

Implications of the Supreme Court Decision

According to van der Veen, the outcome of this decision will have far-reaching consequences. A ruling in favor of government regulation could lead to platforms without content control, resulting in the proliferation of disinformation, including debunked medical and election claims. Conversely, it could impact the efficiency and organization of information on these platforms, potentially making social media less user-friendly and more cumbersome.


As we await the Supreme Court's decision in June, it is clear that the outcomes will have a profound impact on the digital landscape and our understanding of free speech in the 21st century. At van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim, we remain committed to providing insightful legal perspectives on these pivotal issues, ensuring that our clients and readers are well-informed about the evolving legal landscape.


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