LinkedIn Isn’t a State Actor–Perez v. LinkedIn

Perez had a LinkedIn account with over 7,000 connections (really?). LinkedIn removed some of his posts and restricted access to his profile due to alleged TOU violations.

State Action. Perez, proceeding pro se, alleged that LinkedIn “is subject to the First Amendment because it is ‘a governmental entity and a puppet of the Chinese Communist Party’s political agenda,’ not a private actor.” The court responds: “The First Amendment does not apply to private parties, including online service providers and social networking sites.” Cites to Shulman v. Facebook, Forbes v. Facebook, and Young v. Facebook. To get around this, Perez claimed he was suing for free speech violations separate from the First Amendment. The court says there’s no such right.

Venue. The court dismisses Perez’s claims but without prejudice. If Perez files a new complaint, the court transfers the case to the Northern District of California based on the exclusive venue clause in the TOU. Perez claimed that LinkedIn terminated the account by blocking his account and that nullified the exclusive venue clause, but the court says the venue clause expressly survives TOU termination.

Case citation: Perez v. LinkedIn Corp., 2020 WL 5997196 (S.D. Tex. Oct. 9, 2020)

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