His frequent communications on the channels, typically dozens a day on his private Twitter feed @realdonaldtrump, had been thought-about official communications of the presidency.

Many on the appropriate — even these crucial of Trump’s rhetoric — renewed their assaults on “big tech,” accusing corporations of censoring conservatives and echoing Donald Trump, Jr.’s tweeted sentiment that “free-speech now not exists in America.

Trump, who along with other conservatives, has long railed against the social media giants for allegedly being biased against conservatives, blasted Twitter in a statement released by the White House Friday. He said the company has gone further and further in banning free speech and suspended his account in an effort to silence him.

So is this a matter of free speech or something else?

Erwin Chemerinsky, a constitutional law professor and Dean of Berkley Law, said the First Amendment does not apply to the issue of suspending Trump’s accounts because it is meant to protect people from being silenced by the government.

“A personal firm, regardless of how massive, doesn’t need to adjust to the First Amendment. Facebook and Twitter can droop who they need and there’s no First Amendment concern,” he told ABC News.

Katie Fallow, a senior staff attorney at Columbia Universitys Knight First Amendment Institute, said that although there would be no First Amendment claim against Twitter for banning President Trump, the issue of freedom of speech does factor into the debate in several ways.

Civil rights groups sound alarm over unchecked power of big tech

The debate over big tech’s increasingly powerful role in public discourse has been debated and criticized by both the left and the right, with both sides arguing that platforms like Twitter and Facebook have too much power to shape debates and censor speech in an increasingly digital world.

Various civil rights groups, including the NAACP, have criticized Twitter and Facebook for allowing the presidents conspiracy theories and false claims to go unchecked for years.

Arisha Hatch, vice president of the progressive advocacy nonprofit Color of Change, applauded Twitters decision to ban Trump, but told ABC News on Monday that it was long overdue and showed that Trump was treated in more privileged ways.

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union, which had been critical of Trumps rhetoric on social media, sounded the alarm after he was banned by Twitter, saying that while we understand the desire to permanently suspend him, the unchecked power companies like Facebook and Twitter have should concern everyone.

Trump and other prominent figures can turn to press teams or media outlets to communicate with the public, ACLU senior legislative counsel Kate Ruane said, but many Black, Brown and LGBTQ activists who have been censored do not have that luxury.

Hatch echoed these concerns and said that while suspending Trump was the right call, big tech companies have way too much power and should be subject to deeper government regulation.

How social media companies are protected under federal law

According to Fallow, the Trump presidency has posed new questions and challenges for social media platforms, free speech advocates and lawmakers, who are trying to navigate an unprecedented environment.

Some people have called for (applying) antitrust law to the social media platforms on the idea that there’s essentially a monopoly on the speech environment, but those are untested legal waters, she said.

Antitrust laws apply to other big companies and in a new world dominated by social media, lawmakers on both sides have argued that anti-trust laws need to be overhauled to rein in big tech.

Top Democratic congressional lawmakers released a report in October about the dominance Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, stating, To put it simply, companies that once were scrappy, underdog startups that challenged the status quo have become the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons.

Meanwhile, social media companies are protected under federal law by Section 230 — a provision of the 1996 Communications and Decency Act, which shields platforms from being held liable in court for the speech of users, unlike traditional media companies

Trump and many of his allies have called for a repeal of Section 230 to curb the power of social media companies, but Fallow points out that a repeal would ironically hurt their own cause, especially if Trump does follow through by starting his own social media platform.

For instance, with Section 230 in place, Trump-friendly platforms like Parler — which is increasingly being used by Trump and his supporters after the president was suspended from Twitter — are shielded from liability over the speech of its users so they dont have to regulate it.

Parler, a conservative-friendly social network that has also been increasingly used by far-right and white nationalist individuals, was booted by various platforms, including Google, Amazon and Apple over concerns that users are inciting further violence following the siege on the U.S. Capitol and that Parler was not policing the content.

According to experts, platforms like Parler helped create echo chambers for violence and extremist views and also provided a platform for some of the coordination of last week’s attack.

But social media companies also have legal grounds for making a First Amendment argument in defense of their policies, including the decision to suspend Trumps account — or anyone elses.

Private companies, together with tech corporations, have a First Amendment and property proper to find out who and what sort of speech they host on their platforms — a view that has been upheld by the Supreme Court, Fallows stated, notably by conservative judges who dominated in favor of the companies.

But the identical safety didn’t apply to Trumps personal Twitter account when he blocked a number of customers as a result of it was thought-about a public political discussion board to which First Amendment protections utilized.

The president misplaced a authorized battle when the Supreme Court dominated in July 2019 that it was unconstitutional for him to dam critics on social media.

The Court acknowledged that when a public official makes use of a social media account to host speech it features as a sort of public discussion board, Fallow, one of the lead attorneys within the case difficult Trump, stated.

When he blocked folks from his account, it means they might now not reply to him, they usually may now not take part within the dialogue.