YouTube is a private forum, so it is not subject to the freedom of speech requirement set out in the first change made today by a U.S. Court of Appeals. "Despite the ubiquity of YouTube and its role as a publicly accessible platform, it remains a private forum, not a public forum, which is subject to judicial review after the first change," the court said.
PragerU, a conservative media company, sued YouTube in October 2017, claiming that Google's own video site "illegally censored its educational videos and discriminated against their right to freedom of expression."
PragerU said YouTube reduced its viewership and earnings through "arbitrary and moody use of restriction filters for" restricted mode "and" demonization "of viewers." PragerU claimed it was targeted by YouTube for its "political identity and perspective as a nonprofit that represents conservative views on current and historical events".
However, a judge from the US District Court dismissed PragerU's lawsuit against Google and YouTube, and a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Appeals Court confirmed this dismissal today.
"PragerU's claim that YouTube censored PragerU's speech faces a tremendous threshold: YouTube is a private entity. The freedom of speech clause of the first amendment prohibits the government – not a private party – from shortening the speech," the judges wrote ,
PragerU claimed that Google's "regulation and filtering of video content on YouTube are" government measures "that need to be considered as part of the first change." While Google is obviously not a government agency, PragerU referred to an earlier decision by the Court of Appeals to support its claim that "[d] regulating a private party's speech in a particular public forum is" essentially an exclusive and traditional public function " sufficient to determine that a private party is a "state actor" in the sense of the first change. "PragerU claims YouTube is a" public forum "because YouTube invites the public to use the website for freedom of expression, and because YouTube Representatives referred to the website prior to Congress as a "public forum" for freedom of expression.
Hosting speech does not make YouTube a state actor
The judges of the appeals court were not convinced. They pointed to a Supreme Court case from last year in which the plaintiffs unsuccessfully "tested a theory similar to PragerU's approach, claiming that a private entity, through its" operation "of private property as a" public forum for Language "will become a state actor." The case concerned public channels in a cable television system.
The Supreme Court ruled in this case that "mere hosting of speeches by others is not a traditional, exclusive public function and does not turn private institutions into state actors alone, which are subject to the restrictions of the First Amendment".
"If the rule were different, all private owners and leaseholders who open their property for speech would be subject to the First Amendment restrictions and lose the ability to exercise what they consider to be reasonable editorial discretion within this open forum," he said the colonel The court decision last year continued.
The decision against PragerU's request for the first change was ultimately an "uncomplicated" matter. Today's decision by the Court of Appeals states:
The jury also rejected PragerU's claim that YouTube was guilty of false advertising under the Lanham Act.
"YouTube’s statements about content moderation policies do not constitute" commercial advertising or sales promotion "as required by the Lanham Act," the decision said. "YouTube’s labeling of the applicant’s certain videos for restricted mode was not part of any advertising or promotion or misrepresentation of the videos." The judges also found that "YouTube & 's boast about its commitment to freedom of expression is an opinion that is not subject to the Lanham Act."