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Compare and Contrast Essay About Lincoln Caplan’s “Stress Test for Free Speech” and David L. Hudson, Jr.’s “in the Age of Social Media, Expand the Reach of the First Amendment

Free ideas for

At the intersection of communication and First Amendment law reside two significant questions: What is the speech we ought to protect, and why should we protect it? The 20 scholars of legal communication whose essays are gathered in this volume propose various answers to these questions, but their essays share an abiding concern with a constitutional guarantee of free speech and its symbiotic relationship with communication practices…

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The ability of a concentrated few to shape the speech environment has waxed and waned throughout history. The printing press exploded elite control over ideas, leading to revolution, conflict, and an unprecedented sustained increase in living standards (sometimes called “the Great Enrichment”)

More recently, powerful publishers and broadcasters lost their gatekeeper role in the eruption of communications facilitated by internet platforms. As a result, the average person today possesses an ability and freedom to speak to a broad audience that is unparalleled in human history. This freedom can and has been abused, and thus platforms face political and market pressure to control the speech on their services. People across the political spectrum accuse platforms of fostering hate, censoring speech, and harming journalism. Based on largely instinctual assessments that platforms face little competitive pressure on how they govern speech, some have sought to expand antitrust enforcers’ mandate beyond competition values. Many question whether and to what degree large platforms are guilty of the accused harms. We touch on this debate. But our primary method is to assume such harms are serious and examine the proposed solutions. Our conclusion: If private platform power over the speech environment is a problem, antitrust is the wrong solution. Competition can promote consumers’ free speech preferences. However, increasing the number of competitors will not help because current free speech concerns are not caused by a lack of competition. In fact, unleashing antitrust regulators to pursue non-competition-related goals would threaten free speech values. Removing key constraints on antitrust’s powerful tools—tools with a history of abusive and arbitrary use—would weaken antitrust’s ability to protect the competitive process and increase the risk that governments and others will abuse such tools to interfere with speech.

Free ideas for

Obviously, the public sphere is the center of free speech in American democracy. Intangible yet indispensable, it’s the forum where speech, building on other speech, sometimes even by assailing it, demonstrates the rewards of open debate, which the First Amendment safeguards as the foundation of public opinion and the basis for self-government. The amendment has always functioned primarily to curb the power of government. It protects individuals against government infringement of elementary rights, such as the right to petition and the freedoms of religion, assembly, and the press, as well as speech.

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