Lincoln Memorial University Law Review Archive

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The intersection of censorship, free speech, and big tech is area of growing concern and interest. Every year, millions of users turn to social media platforms for myriad reasons, whether it be for the latest headline news, to pick up a recipe for dinner, or to share thoughts, feelings, or opinions. Yet despite the prevalence and importance of both Big Tech and social media platforms within our daily lives, there is very little anyone can do when their voice is silenced in the digital world. This Article focuses on one method claimants have attempted to use in order to find judicial redress for their stifled speech, the state action doctrine, and then explains why it is ultimately an inadequate methodology that is. The first part of this Article focuses on the historical applications of the state action doctrine and attempts to explain the judicial limitations the Court has imposed on it. The second part of this Article looks at modern cases that have attempted to use the state action doctrine as a means of redressing perceived harms inflicted by Big Tech along with how the same judicial constraints found in traditional cases prevent its modern application. The third part of this article suggests an administrative remedy along with a revival and modern application of the fairness doctrine. Alternatively, in the absence of direct congressional action, this Article finally suggests the creation of a private cause of action similar to that found in the Fair Debt Collections Practice Act.

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