YouTube Still Isn’t a State Actor–Albertson v. Google

This year, the Supreme Court is expected to issue an opinion on jawboning and its implications for when Internet services may become state actors because of such government pressure. Until then, plaintiffs will keep losing lawsuits that claim Internet services are state actors.

Timothy-Allen Albertson allegedly self-describes as a “curmudgeon” and “counter-troll.” According to that article, “Albertson’s assets…include $100 worth of books and $700 worth of guns.” #Priorities.

Albertson had a YouTube channel. “Albertson has serious legal and political issues with the LGBTQIA+ Identity Group.” Sad. He claims he expressed these views on YouTube, and in response YouTube shadowbanned him (reminder: the term shadowbanning gets (mis)used in a variety of ways) for violating its hate speech policies. He further claimed YouTube’s shadowbanning violated his constitutional rights. But YouTube isn’t a state actor, so it’s an easy nope.

Public Function. No, per Halleck and Prager.

Joint Action/Nexus. “Albertson points to no authority to support the proposition that Congressional investigations make a private entity a state actor, and the Court declines to make such a finding.” Cite to Doe v. Google. Also, “Albertson has not alleged that Google was a ‘willful participant in joint action’ with the government.”

If the forthcoming Supreme Court opinion gives even the tiniest bit of validity to claims that Internet services are state actors, the winners will be anti-LGBTQ haters and other anti-social actors seeking to force services to carry their anti-social content. Fortunately, for now, this is just one of the ever-growing number of failed lawsuits over content removal decisions.

Case Citation: Albertson v. Google, LLC, 2024 WL 476944 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 7, 2024)

Selected Posts About State Action Claims