Another Court Says Facebook Isn’t a State Actor–McWaters v. Houston

McWaters was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a minor, but the grand jury didn’t issue an indictment. He sued various defendants for publicizing the accusations. Among others, he sued Facebook for allegedly engaging in discriminatory content moderation in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. That argument doesn’t seem to make sense here, but it’s inconsequential because Facebook isn’t a state actor:

Facebook, as a social media company, does not become a state actor based solely on the availability of its social media network to the public, even if Facebook is alleged to have discriminatorily regulated speech on its forum. [cites to Ebeid, Nyabwa, Shulman, Howard, Kinderstart, Langdon, Cyber Promotions]

Simply put, no matter how discriminatory Facebook’s actions are alleged to be in policing the content of its forum posts, Facebook nevertheless is a private entity and does not engage in state action. As a result, the Fourteenth Amendment provides no recourse to McWaters

Case citation: McWaters v. Houston, 2022 WL 395309 (M.D. Ala. Feb. 8, 2022)

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