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by Elizabeth Nolan Brown
By definition, Twitter can’t violate the First Amendment rights of the president, members of Congress, or anyone else. First Amendment violations are things the government does to the people, not the other way around. There is nothing in the Constitution prohibiting Twitter from restricting speech on its platform, and it is certainly not “censorship” (which has denoted government suppression of information since the office of censor was created in Ancient Rome to impose public morality).
This shouldn’t need repeating as often as it does these days. But President Donald Trump and those who support him have been working hard to recast censorship as something private companies can do to the most powerful man in the country (see Trump’s executive order on Twitter) while arguing that government should be allowed to restrict these companies’ freedom of speech, conscience, and association.