Section 3 - A Platform whose primary function is communication between End Users, via text, audio, video, images and/or any combination thereof, shall, at all times, be considered and designated an open forum unless specifically declared in the terms of service, conditions, rules, and/or codes of conduct, either at inception or after 90 days notice to all End Users. Furthermore, a Platform which has not declared itself to be a closed forum shall, at all times, be considered, operate, and conduct business without bias as a Detached Party.
This section is, at least in part, to differentiate social media sites from Platforms such as MMORPGs (for example). An MMORPG can be a Detached Party, but still have a blanket ban on political discussion because the game’s primary purpose is not End Users communicating with each other, but rather End Users interacting with the content created by the platform. Any communication between End Users is a secondary purpose of the functionality in the game, if for no other reason than, the communication is intended to be about the game being played.
A forum that states that you can talk about anything is also going to be different than a forum that has designated itself to be, for example, pro-puppy exclusively. The pro-puppy forum has declared, either at inception or after a change to their terms of service, that discussing pro-puppy points is the sole purpose of the forum, that gives them justification to ban people who come in and talk about how much they hate puppies. They knew the rules in the beginning, so they know they’re not allowed to talk about their hate of puppies there. I don’t want to prevent people from being allowed to create their own private spaces if they choose. You can exclude people, you just have to be open about it.
I also wanted to include any blog, video, audio, photo, text or any other kind of social media Platform. If you are posting videos, you are an End User communicating with other End Users unless the Platform is the only entity who can see your video. The same goes with audio, pictures, text, etc. Even if it isn’t your intention to communicate with other End Users, by posting content on a publicly available site, you are distributing it in a manner that communicates the information to other End Users. If anyone is capable of being an End User on the Platform, and any End User is capable of posting content on that site (without having been previously banned), and any End User is capable of consuming content posted on the Platform by other End Users (again, without having been previously banned), then that qualifies as communication between End Users. That also means that if any of those mentioned actions is the primary purpose of the Platform, then it falls under this section.
Finally, and this is the most important part of this section, if a Platform that falls under this section does not openly declare itself to be a closed forum, it is, by default, an open forum (or public forum). That is, it’s a public space.
Disclosure: Rhetorical Entertainment is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com