Social Media Platforms Must Uphold Free Speech

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Earl Yarington started this petition to Congressman Ted Lieu and

As an artist and a college professor, I have seen the public's ability to speak and communicate freely severely compromised. Media and for-profit social media giants such as Medium, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest are free to discriminate against any art or speech that they determine violates their vague "community standards." Often, users lose years of work when their accounts are suddenly banned. Many get no explanation and are treated very rudely.

Social media platforms are public speech platforms, regardless if they are privately or publicly owned. They benefit, often, by the free labor of artists and users to make billions, yet artists and users have no First Amendment protections, and their work is often exploited and plagiarized. At least we should have freedom of expression!

We need legislation that binds for-profit social media giants to provide artists and users from the United States First Amendment Protections because without these giants and the First Amendment, our voices are not free. I have no large platform for my work unless I am rich. Our tongues are cut out. Even our forefather Benjamin Franklin was a staunch supporter of open and free media. He believed that all citizens should have open access to information. He created libraries in the United States after all.

I often have had my artistic work banned or censured, the latest by Medium. Independent websites cannot compete with these giants, and they are also privately owned and have no obligation to uphold free speech. We need legislation that holds for-profit social media giants accountable in granting First Amendment protections to all United States citizens, especially artists.

If things remain as they are, the U.S. is moving toward a totalitarian and fundamentalist mindset, and people will lose the ability to be critical thinkers and active free citizens. Tolerance means having tolerance for others, listening to them, and countering them with a respectful and well thought out argument.  When we hate a population, we often silence them and then write hateful fictions in their place and sell it as truth. That's what censorship does. That is how propaganda works. Please help me to keep America free.

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At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!