Appeals Court Unanimously Rules YouTube Can Censor Conservative Content and is Not Bound by First Amendment

A screengrab taken on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 of a YouTube playlist featuring PragerU videos on the Ten Commandments. Some of the videos were restricted for possible mature content. | Screengrab/YouTube.com

A three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has unanimously ruled that YouTube can censor conservative content, as it is not compelled by the First Amendment to allow all viewpoints.

The popular conservative YouTube channel PragerU filed a lawsuit against YouTube and Google, accusing the entities of wrongfully censoring their videos.

However, in a decision released Wednesday, the Ninth Circuit panel affirmed a lower court ruling dismissing Prager’s lawsuit against the video-sharing website.

Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown authored the panel’s opinion, arguing that despite its large-scale use and viewership, YouTube remains a private forum rather than a public forum.

“Despite YouTube’s ubiquity and its role as a publicfacing platform, it remains a private forum, not a public forum subject to judicial scrutiny under the First Amendment,” wrote McKeown.

“PragerU runs headfirst into two insurmountable barriers—the First Amendment and Supreme Court precedent. Just last year, the Court held that ‘merely hosting speech by others is not a traditional, exclusive public function and does not alone transform private entities into state actors subject to First Amendment constraints.’”

PragerU CEO Marissa Streit said in a statement released in response to the panel’s decision that they will continue to resist having their content restricted.

“As we feared, the Ninth Circuit got this one wrong, and the important issue of online censorship did not get a fair shake in court,” Streit said.

“Sadly, it appears as if even the Ninth Circuit is afraid of Goliath — Google. We’re not done fighting for free speech and we will keep pushing forward.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski