In its defense against a former app startup, Facebook is contradicting its long-held claim to be simply a neutral platform

Facebook has long had the same public response when questioned about its disruption of the news industry: it is a tech platform, not a publisher or a media company.

But in a small courtroom in California’s Redwood City on Monday, attorneys for the social media company presented a different message from the one executives have made to Congress, in interviews and in speeches: Facebook, they repeatedly argued, is a publisher, and a company that makes editorial decisions, which are protected by the first amendment.

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Read More Is Facebook a publisher? In public it says no, but in court it says yes

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