As seems to happen every election, the 2022 election set a new record for campaign spending during a midterm election. While we do not think of this as a civil liberties issue, it actually is. Because political expenditures are considered free speech and therefore subject to first amendment protections, it is difficult to regulate campaign expenditures.
This was not the only civil liberties issue in the 2022 election. Florida and Texas passed laws barring social media companies from regulating political content on their platforms. Both states argued social media companies are like telephone companies; they provide a means of communication and therefore can be regulated. Social media companies argued they are like book publishers; forcing them to allow certain speech on their platforms is equivalent to forcing them to make speech they do not want to make. Going forward it is likely more states will try to pass these types of regulations and the Supreme Court may weigh in on the Civil Liberty protections social media companies are entitled.
Instructors: click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.
Texas Social Media Censorship Law Goes Into Effect After Federal Court Lifts Block
Florida Asks US Supreme Court to Revive Law Targeting Social Media Censorship
Political Ad Spending is Set to Smash Records in the 2022 Midterms
Push to Reign in Social Media Sweeps the States
Why Watergate-era Campaign Finance Laws Haven’t Stopped Corruption
Everyone’s A Fact Cat In US Politics Today
Debate: Should political expenditures be considered a form of free speech?
Should social media companies be barred from banning people who express certain political viewpoints?
Poll: Have you used social media platforms to express political views?
Should social media companies have free speech protections?
Short Answer: Which two states passed laws regulating social media platform’s ability to ban content?