Do local public accommodation laws apply to Twitter, Facebook etc.?

The District of Columbia and several other localities include “political affiliation” a protected class for public accommodations. For example, here is summary of the DC law:

Here is a similar link for Seattle laws:

Courts have already ruled that the Boy Scouts meet the legal definition of a “place of public accommodation” even though they are not a physical place. Twitter and Facebook claim exemption from libel laws under protections for internet service providers, and are not responsible for content posted by users. If they are not a publisher but merely acting as an open forum for users, then logically they are a place of public accommodation.

Does this mean that public accommodation laws apply to Twitter, Apple, Facebook, etc.? Are they considered public accommodations under the law?

If so, could companies face criminal of civil penalties for violations of local laws if it were shown that the discriminated against people of a particular political affiliation such as conservatives, Trump supporters, pro-life supporters, etc.?

Facebook doesn’t ban anyone from accessing the content it chooses to serve. As usual you are completely misunderstanding PA laws. You can’t force someone to sell something they don’t already sell. You can’t force tv stations to air shows. You can’t force a bookstore to sell Toyotas. Good lord this really isn’t all that complicated.


Facebook is a public space. There is no way a conservative social media company could ever compete with a social media company controlled by liberals. If conservative voices are silenced from liberal media companies, is there even really a freedom of speech anymore?

Facebook bans people from posting content. That is a service as well.

In the case of YouTube, they also prevent people from getting advertising income from their content.

Yeah, I think the OP has a good argument. The other argument would be that PA laws do not apply, i.e. a company like Facebook could just say people of a particular race, or men or women, can just not join. Does that seem a likely outcome.
But if PA laws apply, then which ones? National ones? Different for every country? City specific ones?

Facebook and twitter are platforms for speech. You have a right to free speech, but you don’t have the right to be given a platform for your speech. I can’t demand that a newspaper or book publisher distribute my manefesto. I can’t demand that local radio and TV stations broadcast what I feel like saying. I can’t force facebook and twitter to publish whatever I want.

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what groups of people that are covered by PA laws has facebook or twitter refused to serve?

What the heck is with you guys and social media? Just make your own platform.

When Net Neutrality was the subject of debate, liberals were told to lay cable and make our own ISPs. You guys have it easy, in comparison. Go use Vimeo or something.


y’all really going all in for Alex Jones?

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Yes. Under current law, Facebook is protected from libel laws because it is an open forum not a publisher. At the same time it claims the right to ban postings based on the political affiliation of the poster because it is a publisher. They can’t have it both ways.

On top of that they have received little scrutiny under anti-trust laws so they have a virtual monopoly. Twitter, Facebook, Google, Apple, etc. appear to be coordinating bans based on political considerations. Is that illegal collusion under anti-trust laws?

If these companies are not publishers, are the bans actually a form of illegal campaign contributions under campaign laws?

What do you mean?

If tomorrow they decided women shouldn’t twitter…just too bad?

I’m looking forward to the day when all social media sites are regulated by the government. Every backwater message board needs to be fair and neutral in it’s enforcement of political bias.

Should we wait until it’s you?

It’s coming after you first.

They don’t claim to ban posters because of their political affiliation.

They ban posters who they find have violated their terms of service.

Talk to me when they actually say “If you’re a conservative, we won’t allow you to post here”.

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Oh this is thread you got them this time.

LOL, that would be a waste of time. I don’t do any of them. This place is the limit of my vice.

You never can tell with those rascally rabbits.

Yes, exactly. Personally I am not a fan of public accommodation laws, but I would love to see the laws in liberal enclaves used to protect free speech from conservatives.

If these laws can force the Boy Scouts to admit girls, then it would be great to see the force Facebook, twitter, etc. to play fair with conservatives.