The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rule in favor of video-sharing platform YouTube. Interestingly, the Ninth Circuit is the largest of the thirteen courts of appeals.
However, the appeals court decided that YouTube isn’t under the First Amendment. Thus, the site may dictate its terms on how it hosts content.
Moreover, its ubiquity and its role as a public-facing platform don’t make it less of a private forum. Consequently, it is not subjected to judicial scrutiny under the First Amendment.
In 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court said that hosting speech by others doesn’t transform the platform into a public forum.
Nevertheless, Prager University argued that due to YouTube’s role in public discourse, it should be considered an entity under the First Amendment. However, the appeals court rejected this argument.
According to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, it is not possible to compare YouTube with most private entities, such as company towns. It is important to keep in mind that that video-sharing platform doesn’t hold municipal functions, nor is it a public forum.
The non-profit group presented another argument. Prager University emphasized the company’s statements regarding free expression. The court also rejected this argument because its status as a private entity isn’t decided on its own.
YouTube and first amendment
CEO Susan Wojcicki claimed that the company is trying to be more transparent. The platform announced its first “creator liaison.”
The platform partnered with a YouTube veteran to mediate between creators and administrators.
Matt Koval works for the video-sharing platform since 2012. He is a former YouTube creator who began uploading videos in 2008.
Koval will act as an advocate for creators and the issues they raise when working with YouTube.
According to Koval, the main goal is to help creators understand YouTube.
This move was long overdue, concerns over transparency and lack of communication between the company and creators represent a serious challenge.
Koval has experience both as a creator and a YouTube employee. Koval will serve as an intermediary between both parties and directly communicate with creators. Koval will help them to learn more about the platform.
Moreover, he will be in charge of the network’s new Liaison Twitter account.