Stanford Internet Observatory’s Alleged Collaboration with Government to Pressure Social Media Platforms is Unearthed

In a recent court opinion by Judge Terry Doughty rejecting a motion to compel arbitration in the case of Hines v. Stamos, it was alleged that Defendants collaborated with government officials to pressure social media platforms into censoring certain content. This alleged collaboration violated the First Amendment rights of the plaintiffs, who are not seeking to enforce arbitration agreements in their terms of service with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The defendants attempted to use an equitable estoppel legal theory to enforce arbitration, but the court found that they did not have “clean hands” and it would be inequitable to allow arbitration to proceed. The court also referenced a California case, Hernandez v. Meridian Management Services, LLC, to support their decision not to compel arbitration. The case is already being appealed, and the defendants are alleged to have violated the plaintiffs’ fundamental constitutional right of free speech.