Two More Courts Tell Litigants That Social Media Services Aren’t State Actors

Pro se litigants often claim that Internet services are state actors. Those claims have been universally rejected by courts. Yet some legislators and regulators, funded by our tax dollars, are taking the same meritless position…

Sescey v. YouTube, 2021 WL 5399916 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 18, 2021)

Based on the Complaint’s allegations, it appears the named Defendants – a private social media company and its legal department – are not subject to liability under Section 1983. Cf. Prager Univ. v. Google LLC, 951 F.3d 991, 999 9th Cir. 2020) (affirming the dismissal of a First Amendment claim because YouTube was a private entity and not a state actor); see also Rutenburg v. Twitter, Inc., No. 21-0548, 2021 WL 1338958, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 9, 2021) (“Federal courts have uniformly rejected attempts to treat similar social media companies [such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Google] as state actors under Section 1983.”) (collecting cases). Sescey does not allege Defendants are state actors or that they had any connection to a state, county, or local governmental entity. Her Complaint does not allege any facts to show a “close nexus” between the private behavior of YouTube and its legal department and the state itself such that the challenged action here can fairly be treated as an action of the state. None of Sescey’s allegations support an inference that Defendants are anything other than a privately-run social media company and its internal legal department.

Perez v. LinkedIn Corp., 2021 WL 5399885 (9th Cir. Nov. 18, 2021)

The court literally could not be bothered to explain itself beyond a cite to Prager U:

The district court properly dismissed Perez’s action because Perez failed to allege facts sufficient to state a plausible claim….see also Prager U. v. Google LLC, 951 F.3d 991, 996-97 (9th Cir. 2020) (internet media websites are not government actors under the First Amendment)…

Prior blog posts on Perez’s lawsuit (1, 2)

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