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Frank Isn't a "Free Speech" Platform

Suzy Woltmann Suzy Woltmann
16th April 2021
Frank Isn't a "Free Speech" Platform
Lindell's version of free speech falls short of the mark (Getty Images).

The Claim

The new social media platform Frank, created by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, is a free speech platform.

Emerging story

After being banned from multiple social media platforms, Lindell decided to start his own. Self-titled as “the voice of free speech,” Frank has been described by many, including Lindell himself, as a free speech social media platform.

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Misbar’s Analysis

But is it a free speech platform? Misbar delved into the U.S. Constitution to see what exactly the First Amendment has to say about free speech. 

The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

“Freedom of speech” means that U.S. citizens can generally say and write what they want, although the Supreme Court has deemed some speech able to be regulated. This includes

  • defamation: false statements (fake news, if you will) that tangibly damages someone’s reputation, nearly always only if that person is not a public figure
  • true threats: believable threats to harm others
  • “fighting words”: provoking language that is so offensive it is likely to incite physical violence
  • imminent lawless action: for example, as some might argue, a president telling supporters to storm the Capitol…
  • obscenity: language that fulfills the three prongs of the Miller Test
  • child pornography: images of children engaged in sexual acts or posed in sexual ways
  • commercial ads: some commercial advertisements are not protected by free speech

Congress can also restrict speech if the speaker is acting on behalf of the government, such as a public school teacher, or if the restriction is unrelated to the content of the speech, such as noise restriction laws.

Our investigation found that although Lindell claims that Frank will be a free speech platform, during a radio interview with Eric Metaxas, he defined free speech in a way unsupported by the Supreme Court.

Lindell said: “People asked me, you’re going to let everything go? Porn? Swearing? Everything? And I said, absolutely not. We have a thing we found in the Constitution and our founding fathers that defines what free speech is. And Eric, get this, this Judeo-Christian platform we’re going to have here, they go by biblical principles – you know, you get to the Supreme Court, you have the 10 Commandments there – so, in other words, you’re not going to have porn up there, you’re not going to have these sites that contain material that go against our Constitution, go against what our founding fathers put in there… You’re not going to be able to swear. There will be four words for sure you can’t say: You can’t say the C-word, the N-word, the F-word, and you can’t use God’s name in vain.”

Although he does bring up the First Amendment, Lindell seems to have given his own interpretation to it, rather than that provided by the Supreme Court. In a true free speech platform, swearing, porn, and using God's name in vain (which, according to religious scholars, ironically includes implying that God supports a certain political party; Lindell has said that Trump was “chosen by God” to be president and that God “gave” Trump to America) would all be allowed, since they do not meet the criteria for free speech restrictions

Since Lindell’s platform will seemingly not allow swearing, porn, and using God’s name in vain, which are legally defined by the Supreme Court as free speech, we rate the claim that his platform is a free speech platform as false. 

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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