Appeals Court Says Of Course Twitter Can Kick Racists Off Its Platform

from the everyone-move-along-now dept

Phew. After a surprising (and very, very weird) ruling in a California state court earlier this summer, that suggested that a well known racist might have a legitimate legal case against Twitter for kicking him off their platform, an appeals court has quickly and thoroughly corrected that error. To understand what happened here requires a little bit of background, so let’s dig in.

Back in March, we wrote about a silly case filed by noted racist (he prefers “race realist” or “white advocate” but come on), Jared Taylor, who had been kicked off Twitter. Taylor sued, claiming that Twitter kicking him off the platform violated various rights. As we noted at the time, the case had no chance, and would be tossed out on CDA 230 grounds, as the law makes it clear that platforms cannot be liable for their moderation choices. Indeed, the whole reason CDA 230 was first created was in response to a horrible court ruling that said moderation choices could make you liable. CDA 230 was a correction to that mistaken court. And in the two decades since then we’ve seen all sorts of attempts by people to argue their way around CDA 230 and nearly all of them fail, and thus we expected this one to fail easily. As I noted in that original post, I had spent some time going back and forth with some of Taylor’s lawyers, who seemed surprisingly uninformed about CDA 230.

So, I will admit that I was a bit surprised back in July when the court refused to dump the case. While the official ruling came in July, the Judge’s rational was laid out at a hearing in June, in which he did agree to dump some of the claims, but kept one claim: an “unfair competition” claim. The reasoning was… very, very strange. Basically, the court claimed that under California law, Taylor could claim that Twitter’s terms of service were “unconscionable” because they said the site could kick you off for any reason. It is true that California code 1670.5 says that “If the court as a matter of law finds the contract or any clause of the contract to have been unconscionable at the time it was made the court may refuse to enforce the contract.” But how is Twitter’s terms of service unconscionable?

During the hearing, Twitter’s lawyers seemed reasonably flummoxed that this was even being brought up and asked for more time to go back and research and brief the issue. And they were right to be confused. Because there’s never been any other court finding that a basic online terms of service that says the site has the final word in deciding who can use the platform is “unconscionable” — and that’s partly because of CDA 230, that makes it clear the platform has the final say, and state law can’t interfere with that. But here, the judge ignored all of that and suddenly decided that the “we can kick you off for any reason at all” clause must be both outside the purview of CDA 230 and possibly unconscionable. From the hearing (Carome is Twitter’s lawyer, Patrick Carome, Peters is one of Taylor’s lawyers, Noah Peters:):

MR. CAROME: What are the unconscionable provisions that Your Honor possibly sees here? I —

THE COURT: I can tell you what’s alleged, and I believe adequately so, something to the — I could get the first amended complaint to quote it exactly, but something to the effect that Twitter can, at any time, for any reason, or no reason, pull any account. Have I stated that correctly?

MR. PETERS: Yeah; that’s right.

MR. CAROME: There is language to that effect, Your Honor; I would submit that that’s not… remotely unconscionable for a on-line platform, such as Twitter, which is completely free, given to the world for free, that requires users — it has a gating —

THE COURT: And —

MR. CAROME: — requirement, and let’s users in under certain conditions, it is absolutely permissible and, indeed, subject to First Amendment rights and editorial decision that a platform that is engaged in the distribution of speech may, for any reason, just like a newspaper editor could, for any reason, choose not to run a letter to the editor that it receives. That’s not unconscionable; that’s not remotely unconscionable; that’s the way systems work. That’s the way — and so I would certainly —

THE COURT: So let me explain to you why I see differently and the rules that I believe I am bound by in making my determination:

First, I am required to liberally construe the complaint. It’s right there in the California Code of Civil Procedure. And, if you want, I can cite that for you, as well; Second, I need to draw whatever reasonable inferences I can draw in favor of the pleading that is being challenged. And in doing both of those things, and liberally construing the complaint, and in drawing reasonable inferences in its favor, I envision or I believe that the complaint alleges something along the lines of: Twitter is the largest communication source in the world. And the way to get your word out and the way to be heard in the modern era, particularly with regard to such important matters as being able to petition the elected leaders and others who are involved in government, for redress, is to be able to be on the Twitter platform.

And for Twitter to know that and nonetheless impose language, as it did here, an otherwise prolix document that’s not highlighted, and done on an adhesion contract basis, and on a take it or leave it basis, it is procedurally unconscionable in a large measure.

There’s more, but that was the crux of it. And, I should note that this is crazy. Part of the reason I didn’t even blog about it at the time was that it was such a crazy ruling, completely divorced from basically all precedent on how online platforms manage their services, that it seemed inevitable that it would be overturned.

What’s surprising is just how quickly it was overturned. First noted by Eric Goldman in a detailed post over the weekend, the appeals court seemed so perplexed by the judge’s ruling that it smacked it down without even hearing from Taylor’s lawyers, more or less saying that ruling was so egregiously off-base that it wouldn’t matter what Taylor’s lawyers had to say.

Of course, the Appeals Court is a bit nicer in how it put it, and basically tries to suggest that maybe the reason the court got it so wrong was because it had not yet read the important Hassell v. Bird ruling that came out in between the Taylor hearing and the official ruling by the judge. The Hassell ruling reinforced how broad CDA 230 was for internet platforms, and how they are given wide latitude in determining how to manage their own platforms, including editorial choices on what to keep up and what to take down. So, here the appeals court basically says to the lower court “you totally screwed this up, but maybe because you hadn’t yet read this latest ruling” (leaving out that the Hassell ruling more or less reconfirmed what dozens of other courts have said):

It appears respondent superior court erred in issuing its July 10, 2018 order overruling in part petitioner’s demurrer to the first amended complaint of real parties in interest. We recognize, however, that when respondent issued its order, it may not have had the benefit of the analysis of Hassell v. Bird…, which the California Supreme Court had filed on July 2.

It then goes on and presents a nice thorough analysis of why CDA 230 clearly protects Twitter in this regard and the entire case should be dismissed. It goes through the whole history of the case, along with some history of CDA 230, listing out a bunch of cases that make it clear that internet platforms can kick people off. And then explains why the lower court was simply wrong to think that an unfair competition claim isn’t pre-empted by CDA 230:

That real parties allege a cause of action under the UCL does not place their claim outside the scope of immunity provided by the CDA. (See Cross, supra, 14 Cal.App.5th at pp. 196, 208; Caraccioli v. Facebook, Inc. (N.D. Cal. 2016) 167 F.Supp.3d 1056, 1064.) Like the plaintiffs in Cross, real parties claim they are seeking to hold petitioner liable for statements or promises made in its TOS and Rules. (See Cross, supra, at pp. 200-201, 206-207.) But evaluating whether a claim treats a provider as a publisher or speaker of user-generated content, ‘what matters is not the name of the cause of action’; instead, what matters is whether the cause of action inherently requires the court to treat the defendant as the “publisher or speaker” of content provided by another.’ ” (Id. at p. 207, quoting Barnes, supra, 570 F.3d at pp. 1101–1102.) Here, the duties real parties allege Twitter violated derive from its status or conduct as publisher because petitioner’s decision to suspend real parties’ accounts constitutes publishing activity. (Cohen v. Facebook, Inc., supra, 252 F.Supp.3d at p. 157; Fields v. Twitter, Ina, supra, 217 F.Supp.3d at pp. 1123-1124.) As Hassell reiterated, “lawsuits seeking to hold a service provider liable for its exercise of a publisher’s traditional editorial functions–such as deciding whether to publish, withdraw, postpone or alter content–are barred.'” (Hassell, supra, 5 Cal.5th at p. 536.)

Therefore, let an alternative writ of mandate issue commanding respondent San Francisco County Superior Court, in Jared Taylor, et v. Twitter, Inc., San Francisco County Superior Court case No. CGC18564460, to set aside and vacate its order of July 10, 2018 order overruling part in part petitioner’s demurrer to the first amended complaint of real parties in interest, and to enter a new and different order sustaining petitioner’s demurrer in its entirety; or, in the alternative, to appear and show cause before Division One of this court why a peremptory writ of mandate should not be granted.

Basically, toss this case, or come back to the appeals court and explain in great detail how this case somehow goes against the rulings in every other case. Taylor’s lawyers indicate that they’ll continue fighting back, but I stand by my original prediction in this case that it’s a lost cause.

Separately, I will note that the weird ruling back in June/July in this case, set off a bunch of people online who believed it showed — as some have been ridiculously claiming — that moderating platforms somehow makes you lose CDA 230 protections. I do wonder how they’ll all react to this quick action on appeal… If what’s happening on Twitter is anything to go on, they’re going to ignore it. After all, over the weekend I saw at least one tweeter still pointing to the June decision to “prove” that kicking people off of Twitter might violate the law.

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Comments on “Appeals Court Says Of Course Twitter Can Kick Racists Off Its Platform”

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325 Comments
btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It’ll be interesting to see how the court rules on the political in-kind contribution issue, since that has nothing to do with the 1st Amendment.

By shadow-banning (and sometimes outright banning) conservative political commentators and politicians, these giant tech platforms are basically making in-kind political contributions to the Democrat Party. Especially when their CEOs admit during interviews that their companies are ‘left-leaning’ and their employees are caught on hidden cameras openly admitting that the goal is to disappear speech and accounts from the right side of the political spectrum.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

By shadow-banning (and sometimes outright banning) conservative political commentators and politicians, these giant tech platforms are basically making in-kind political contributions to the Democrat Party. Especially when their CEOs admit during interviews that their companies are ‘left-leaning’ and their employees are caught on hidden cameras openly admitting that the goal is to disappear speech and accounts from the right side of the political spectrum.

  1. They’re not shadowbanning based on political positions. They’re not shadowbanning at all, for that matter, but moderation decisions are not done for political reasons and are happening across the political spectrum. It’s just that Trump-supporting people who have been moderated are whining much more about it. What’s the term for that? Oh yeah, "snowflakes."
  2. It’s not an in-kind contribution in any way shape or form.
  3. You have taken Dorsey’s comments out of context.
  4. You are taking comments by employees that were presented completely out of context, and you are running with that.

Stop it.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

They’re not shadowbanning based on political positions.

So they keep claiming. Yet it strangely keeps happening.

> but moderation decisions

Heh. “Moderation decisions”. Is that the euphemism dujour for censorship?

> It’s just that Trump-supporting people who have been moderated are
> whining much more about it.

Why do you characterize legitimate complaints about being censored as ‘whining’?

And I’m sure that only conservatives complain when they’re censored. That sounds credible.

> They’re not shadowbanning at all, for that matter

Prager U disagrees with you, and Facebook admitted what it had done when it became national news and reversed it.

> It’s not an in-kind contribution in any way shape or form.

Hey, if paying a porn star is an in-kind donation, then all bets are off.

> You have taken Dorsey’s comments out of context.

What context would that be?

> You are taking comments by employees that were presented completely out of context

What context would that be?

> Stop it.

No, I don’t think I will. You’ll just have to live with it or ‘moderate’ me.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Why do you characterize legitimate complaints about being censored as ‘whining’?

Because it’s not censorship and it is whining.

And I’m sure that only conservatives complain when they’re censored. That sounds credible.

I didn’t say that. I said that Trump supporters are whining MORE about it and there’s a whole media ecosystem for which it pays to advance this bullshit narrative. I’m working on a story soon about a liberal site that was blocked as well, but you probably didn’t hear about it, because it’s not getting covered 24/7 on Fox and Breitbart and the like.

Prager U disagrees with you, and Facebook admitted what it had done when it became national news and reversed it.

You’re switching platforms. You’re talking about Facebook. Twitter doesn’t shadowban. Facebook took action against PragerU, but not because of its political views.

Hey, if paying a porn star is an in-kind donation, then all bets are off.

You are not an expert on campaign finance I see.

No, I don’t think I will. You’ll just have to live with it or ‘moderate’ me.

Or highlight why you’re uninformed. I’ll take the latter, thanks.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“Yes, it is censorship”

If it is, it’s the mildest, least obstructive possible form, and it’s generated by the people reading these comments requesting it, not some shady censor. If censorship is your issue, there are a great many websites other than this that practice far more severe forms.

“And when it happens, it’s not ‘whining’ to object to it.”

If someone genuinely asks “hey, why was that censored, I didn’t think I did anything wrong?”, and then participates in a reasoned discussion about why that was? No. When someone goes on a multi-comment rant about how people accurately flagging his trolling as trolling is the worst kind of censorship ever, then yes.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

If it is, it’s the mildest, least obstructive possible form, and it’s generated by the people reading these comments requesting it, not some shady censor.

We’re not talking about the same things. You’re apparently under the impression that it’s the TechDirt comments that are the subject of Masnick’s ‘whining’ comment and my label of censorship.

We’re not talking about that. We’re talking about the people on Twitter and Facebook and YouTube who have found themselves muzzled for not being ‘progressive’ enough. Masnick says they’re whiners for complaining about it. I disagree.

> If someone genuinely asks “hey, why was that censored, I
> didn’t think I did anything wrong?”, and then
> participates in a reasoned discussion about why that was?
> No.

And how can they do that when these social media platforms never discuss anything? All they do is send you a generic form notice that you’ve somehow broken their rules by saying something that they don’t even bother to identify for you and then leave you in limbo. There’s literally no person you can talk to and limited to no ability to appeal. The only people who ever seem to get any redress are the people whose stories blow up in the media and make the company look like asshats. And even then they don’t deign to actually talk to their victim. They just send another form notice that says “Upon further review, we’ve reinstated you. Buh-bye!”

> When someone goes on a multi-comment rant about how
> people accurately flagging his trolling as trolling is
> the worst kind of censorship ever, then yes.

I’ve never done that and I wasn’t talking about anyone who has done that, so I’m not sure why you’re jumping in here with it in response to me.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

“We’re talking about the people on Twitter and Facebook and YouTube who have found themselves muzzled for not being ‘progressive’ enough.”

Really? I’d love to see some actual evidence, rather than “these people spewing hatred were blocked, but not there people on the “other team” so life sooo unfair!”. Every time I hear such a complaint, it’s usually something where there’s an obvious reason why it was flagged, political leanings being irrelevant except to claim unequal treatment for correctly censored content.

“And how can they do that when these social media platforms never discuss anything?”

If you’re unhappy with how they police their platform, you’re free to use another. But, your complaints most likely have something to do with an automated process that only gets reviewed after complaint, due to the massive scale, rather than any conspiracy.

Could they do better at communicating and reviewing decisions? Yes. Are they facing unprecedented volume and scrutiny? Also yes. Are people spewing actual hatred most often whiny little bitches who are just trying to demand that their words be seen by a large audience despite most of them finding it unacceptable? Also yes.

nopantsyet says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Hey, if paying a porn star is an in-kind donation, then all bets are off.

No, all bets are not off. Words have meaning. Examples:

“pay” – https://www.dictionary.com/browse/pay?s=t
“contribution” – https://www.dictionary.com/browse/donation?s=t
“donation” – https://www.dictionary.com/browse/contribution?s=t

You may notice that they all involve “giving” something to another party.

Refusing to provide a free service to someone who breaks the contract (TOS) they agreed to in order to use the service is not “giving” something to another party.

It just means the other party reaps the benefits of not violating their contract.

By your logic, my not contributing to republicans is a donation to democrats.

Words have meaning.

Sayonara Felicia-San (profile) says:

If only we could somehow learn to harness the situational zero point anarcho-libertarian vacuum, from which you pluck your seemingly limitless supply of conclusions from, mankind would finally be able to reach the stars

I’ll try to make simple. Regardless of what our sick judiciary has enshrined as their precedent du jour, Twitter is a public space, just like the inside of a private mall, the Forum in ancient Rome, or the artificial cobblestones at the Grove.

Free speech means that people have a right to say things which you don’t like, and by implication must regulate out of control, corporate SJW red guards “moderating” what people see and think.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Free speech also means that people can turn their back on a speaker, and refuse to listen to them. Also, free speech means you can publish your speech at your own expense. It does not mean that you can force other to publish your speech for you. He can publish on his own blog, and if few people comes that would indicate that few people agree with him.

Sayonara Felicia-San (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

You are making my point for me. We don’t exist in a vacuum. We are a society. TWITTER DIDN’T BUILD THAT!

The technology, the infrastructure, and a stupid misinformed public allowed a junky spaghetti-coded site like Twitter to become so large that it has now moved past being just some ycombinator show pony.

The president of the United States uses the platform to tweet his thoughts on a daily basis.

It is no longer a “private company” but a public utility, and as such can not be trusted to “moderate” the views and opinions of its users.

And please don’t bother me with your silly “at what size does a private company become a public space” hokum.

John Roddy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

That’s for a rational committee of thought leaders and policy experts to decide.

That already happened. It was Congress when they debated whether or not to accept the proposed amendment to the Communications Decency Act that ultimately became section 230. And barely even a year later, the freaking SUPREME COURT upheld Section 230, despite striking down everything next to it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Yeah don’t you know, Twitter is a utility because some dude on the internet says so.

Don’t even think about it. All companies on internet are utilities. If you question that you’re probably some kind of anarchist.

I can’t wait to get my monthly facebook bill. I wonder if they will charge us by the post or just the number of likes you get.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Where I live there is a park that is owned by a local company. They employee gatherings and special events there. When is not in use by the company they leave it open to the public to use. If some butt head comes in and is making the place look like crap. The company is within their rights to make them go away. If twitter wants they can pull the plug and there is nothing the government can do about it. They own the servers they pay for the internet connection.

Sayonara Felicia-San (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yes. Exactly. And thus should default to the values enshrined in the Constitution:

“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.”

RonKaminsky (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The Robber Baron problem.

Frankly, I think the founding fathers would be much more shocked at the way the public willingly gives these platforms their power. Someone who believes in “Give me liberty, or give me death” would most probably be nauseated by a public who is willing to give up its liberty for the “convenience” of a larger network effect.

RonKaminsky (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 The Robber Baron problem.

You are correct that you didn’t give up any (that I can think of) when you signed up. When you use Twitter, however, neither the content you see nor the content you post are protected by the liberties which the founding fathers enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

I, for one, view this as giving up liberties.

It has been discussed many times here that the fact that one’s privacy is reduced because one’s viewing history is exposed to the platform is a trade-off which users accept knowingly. The trade-off versus the giving up of liberties is not often discussed, and is complicated by the lack of transparency in the moderation decisions.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 The Robber Baron problem.

“When you use Twitter, however, neither the content you see nor the content you post are protected by the liberties which the founding fathers enshrined in the Bill of Rights.”

Yes they are – the ones about government not being able to restrict you.

“I, for one, view this as giving up liberties.”

Then don’t use them, and let other who disagree have at it.

Or, are you saying that no ToC / business contract is valid under the constitution because they involve restrictions of some kind?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Well the question is how is public space defined legally and what controls when it can be declared as such? Malls have zoning for that sort of thing and municipal ordinances. Parks owned by real estate developers are subject to the rules specifically so they can’t be used as an end run-around against constitutional protections.

Usually public space definitions are a matter of access as well. There are numerous rulings that for instance right of access to the beach means that even if you own all of the land up to the beach house there must be public space – similarly sidewalks can’t be excluded as matters of public safety and flow. It has been a long-standing informal principle behind eminent domain that private property rights can’t be used to create extortive control of public movement.

Publications are rather different however and I don’t think there is nearly as much precedent enforcing that sort of neutrality even when there is only one local newspaper in town situations where they could legitimately exploit the situation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Twitter is a public space, just like the inside of a private mall”

1) twitter is a private platform
2) public != private

“Free speech means that people have a right to say things which you don’t like”

… it means that people have a right to say things the government may not like.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Two separate topics, many different points of view and yet I am supposed to capitulate any and all prior opinions and replace them with yours … I don’t think so Tim.

There is nothing simplistic about my pov, perhaps you might expound upon this and the reductionist silliness you claim. I realize there are many out there with many different ideas that should be taken into consideration before any changes are made to any laws, however until that happens we are stuck with the present laws and you simply do not understand them. Also, I don’t think there is anything wrong with the first amendment as is.

“In the real world companies grow too large”
– and this is the fault of the first amendment?

“exact their detrimental impact on society”
– Corps do not need to be large in order to damage.

“CATO Institute childish drivel”
– Perhaps you can provide more detail on this item.
– How is this a CATO issue?
– How is it childish to point out what our bill of rights actually says .. or is “drivel”?
– Why is this an adult topic? Children should learn what the laws are and what their rights are. Are you mad?

ryuugami says:

Re: Re:

Free speech means that people have a right to say things which you don’t like, and by implication must regulate out of control, corporate SJW red guards "moderating" what people see and think.

https://xkcd.com/1357/

Public Service Announcement: The Right to Free Speech means the government can’t arrest you for what you say.

It doesn’t mean that anyone else has to listen to your bullshit, or host you while you share it.

The 1st Amendment doesn’t shield you from criticism or consequences.

If you’re yelled at, boycotted, have your show canceled, or get banned from an Internet community, your free speech rights aren’t being violated.

It’s just that the people listening think you’re an asshole,

And they’re showing you the door.

Sayonara Felicia-San (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Please, PLEASE, try to actually read what is being written, THEN this is the important part, take a moment to actually COMPREHEND what is being said:

Once a digital platform becomes a certain size, it is no longer “just a private company” but a public digital space, and as such, subject to Federal Laws and Rights such as the freedom of digital citizenry to assemble and speak.

Your simplistic conclusions don’t work in the real world. If we followed your infantile philosophy we would all still be working in corporate towns run and governed by corrupt corporations:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Company_town#Pullman_lesson

please go learn some history, and put away the Reason magazine.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I don’t think your argument means what it means.

You are directly comparing apples and oranges here. The Pullman lesson is hardly sequitur here because Twitter is not the ONLY online platform for public discussion. Additionally, last time I check, no one lives in Twitterville either and neither does Twitterville get involved with your transportation or legal issues.

Killercool (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

No, the Internet is the mall, and Twitter is just a store.

Like the mall, anyone on the internet can say what they want, open their own store, or even have a gathering in one of the thoroughfares.

However: Twitter, like a store, can tell you to get the FUCK off their property.

Go to a different store- one that agrees with what you say, or open your own.

The halls are free, too, but in my place of business, I don’t have to listen to you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Like the mall, anyone on the internet can say what they want, open their own store, or even have a gathering in one of the thoroughfares.

Private malls can kick people out and choose the stores allowed to operate there. I don’t know what kind of hallucinogenics are making you think otherwise.

bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Here’s the main issue with using Pullman here, as noted by the Supreme Court: a company town engages in activities (like running elections and writing legislation that governs the entire town) that is traditionally and exclusively deserved to the government. Nothing Twitter does or has been alleged to do falls within that very narrow case where an otherwise private entity is to be treated as a government entity for 1A purposes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Once a digital platform becomes a certain size, it is no longer “just a private company” but a public digital space, and as such, subject to Federal Laws and Rights such as the freedom of digital citizenry to assemble and speak.”

This is simply wrong. It may be a notion wandering around in your gray matter, but it is not a part of the law in the US. Please cite the court cases that made this a precedent because there is no law that states this. The US is supposedly a nation with rule of law but I am having doubts.

Again with the simplistic solution – it is not a solution it is the law.

John Smith says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

USENET has total free speech that cannot be censored. That is more than enough.

People don’t want total free speech or they wouldn’t have abandoned USENET. Have to side with Twitter here on the speech issue, though the false-advertising and misleading-statement issues are not so clear, given that they promote themselves as encouraging open expression.

JMT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"Once a digital platform becomes a certain size, it is no longer "just a private company" but a public digital space, and as such, subject to Federal Laws and Rights such as the freedom of digital citizenry to assemble and speak."

You have absolutely no legal basis for that claim. It’s based entirely on your wildly misguided imagination. Feel free to prove me wrong.

"If we followed your infantile philosophy we would all still be working in corporate towns run and governed by corrupt corporations:"

From that Pullman story:

The State of Illinois filed suit, and in 1898 the Supreme Court of Illinois forced the Pullman Company to divest ownership in the town, which was annexed to Chicago.

Note the key word ‘divest’. In other words, Pullman sold the town to Chicago, and only part of it. I don’t recall any court case that forced Twitter to sell the platform to the USG.

JEDIDAH says:

Re: Re: Lack of principles and Law & Order.

This is you just demonstrating the total lack of awareness that the limits imposed on government merely represent a principle. Your comment shows that you don’t really embrace that principle at all in the slightest. This is why it must be enshrined into law.

This is why we need the law and police. Otherwise you would happily abuse the rest of us because you have no principles. You can’t be trusted to act in the absence of the cops everyone likes to hate on here.

You will happily give powers to Robber Barons that have been formally denied actual Barons.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If only we could somehow learn to harness the situational zero point anarcho-libertarian vacuum, from which you pluck your seemingly limitless supply of conclusions from, mankind would finally be able to reach the stars

You sound like you’d be fun at parties.

I’ll try to make simple. Regardless of what our sick judiciary has enshrined as their precedent du jour, Twitter is a public space, just like the inside of a private mall, the Forum in ancient Rome, or the artificial cobblestones at the Grove.

This is a fun talking point that is meaningless. You should actually take the time to understand what the Pruneyard ruling meant or what courts have actually said about it since so as not to appear clueless.

Free speech means that people have a right to say things which you don’t like, and by implication must regulate out of control, corporate SJW red guards "moderating" what people see and think.

Free speech also means that, as a private company, you have the right NOT to associate with things you don’t like. And thus, not host the content you dislike.

And, to be even more blunt, under the regime that you ignorantly envision, in which no moderation is allowed, we end up with LESS free speech, because any platform would automatically be overrun by spam and nonsense, and thus, none would bother. End result: less free speech.

Your understanding of the First Amendment is very, very naive.

Twitter has every right to moderate content. Racists have every right to go create their own platform. I’ve already expressed elsewhere my concerns about how Twitter and other platforms moderate, but to argue that it’s illegal for them to do so is grade A cluelessness.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Which is not a position taken by Mike, making this comment seem trollish. And I would argue that yes, in the case of off-the-shelf or ‘paint-by-numbers’ cakes, or in otherwords ‘form’ cakes, they must make cakes for all. In contrast, artistic, personal cakes are protected first amendment expression, a commissioned work of edible art, and we can not force the artist to accept that commission.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

My comments were meant in no way to be a metaphor for racist speech. I assumed you were actually speaking about cake and famous recent litigation which has unique elements where commissioned art crosses with generic retail to which I was addressing and can not be applied in a generic fashion to speech as a whole.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I think he was referring to the cases involving bakers who refused to honour orders for wedding cakes once they found out they were intended for gay wedding, thus violating some laws that protect certain classes. These types always bring it up, but have never quite grasped why “we don’t have to host your hate speech” and ” you can’t refuse service just because someone is gay” are completely different issues.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Which is not a position taken by Mike,”

Nope, Mike does have that position. He has stated that he support minority protectionist laws.

So um… unless make wants to correct me and state that he is against minority protectionist laws then he um… really does have that position.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I commented in response to a comment on a cake maker making cakes for all, which appears to be a reference to recent First amendment vs civil rights spats involving Masterpeice Bakery. I don’t think Mike has established a position that Masterpeice bakery must bake cakes for all, and since details matter generic support for minority protectionist laws (which I would also argue he has not expressed general support, only specific support) does not necessarily express support any specific Minority protectionist laws.

Therefore, as the one making the positive claim (Mike does have that position) you are responisble for providing support for the claim that Mike supports forcing Masterpeice bakery to make wedding cake.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Probably.

The fun part about those people is that they don’t seem to understand that the laws apply to everyone equally – the bakery would have faced the same comeback legally had they refused service because the couple in question were straight. It’s discrimination based on sexuality that was the issue, not the nature of the sexuality. It’s just that some people are more likely to be discriminated against, thus when the law is applied equally, it looks like only one side of the issue is being dealt with.

In other words, homophobes, misogynists and racists often believe that they are being discriminated against, while all that’s happening is they aren’t allowed to abuse others any longer.

DB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

An easy distinction in that case would be that an individual proprietor would have the right to decline specific work, even from a protected class. A corporate entity would not.

Or a similar distinction with an equivalent effect would be that a business with non-family employees would be subject to non-discrimination laws. If you want the legal protection of a corporation, your corporation needs to be non-discriminator. You, as an individual, have the right to be a racist. Your corporation does not.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Yes and no, because the individual decorator would still be the person creating that art, and still has the right to decline to create specific art.

I don’t yet have a good wording for my rule of thumb in these civil rights versus 1st amendment tangible goods cases, but it basically boils down to: If you need a specific individual to make your good rather than any other equally technically skilled individual those reasons likely boil down to 1st amendment protected expression and you can not force that person to do this work.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Get back to me when Twitter implements a 'No Blacks' rule

An open platform where people can post content is not really comparable to a business where one sells to the public(though you can certainly argue that it should be if you desire), and even if you do want to make that comparison a business also has the right to refuse service or outright kick people out for being asses, the only restriction is they can’t do it for reasons such as race, gender and whatnot(potentially including sexual orientation), which wouldn’t have helped this twit anyway as ‘racist loser’ is not a protected class.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I have only commented on here once in a blue moon for about the last 8 years… the comment was not about you or your position… just that the courts seem to take this position on their “pet” projects such as cake making… but not on things like the printing press or whatever… so it is funny to me that we could argue that twitter is private but baker man is not.

And we get here with the mindset that people = corporations and not human beings… but this is required for your colonial civility no matter the cost.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Both Twitter and the baker are private business’s. Both get to choose what they want to have happen in their businesses. Both will feel the consequences through the marketplace. If either goes too far with their expressions of their position, the market (one is more local than the other) will respond.

Corporations have been considered persons for the purpose of dealing with some quirks in the laws (I am sure someone will point out those quirks, I cannot remember the details just now) and I do believe that some entities (like the Federal Election Commission) have taken that thought process too far. Does this mean that corporations do not get to have a say in their own destiny? They should, and as in the case of newspaper editors deciding who’s letters to the editor get published, and who gets op-ed column inches, other corporations involved in spreading words on pages, electronic or paper, should have input. Or as the case may be, output.

Sayonara Felicia-San (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“we end up with LESS free speech, because any platform would automatically be overrun by spam and nonsense,”

…oh mike. ¯( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

….because I think far too highly of you, I’m just going to ignore this statement and pretend like it never happened: You know very well this is an edge case which has no bearing on the primary argument.

“…you have the right NOT to associate with things you don’t like. And thus, not host the content you dislike.”

Sorry, but flailing stock price or not, Twitter has grown too large to allow an unelected, slovenly dressed CEO to determine what is or is not allowed to be said.

Keeping a digital public square free from moderation, and a safe-space for FREEDOM OF SPEECH is NOT the same as “associating” with views on it you disagree with.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Who, then, gets to decide what speech Twitter absolutely must host under any and every circumstance? Who gets to force Twitter into hosting or deleting speech of a certain political bent, or banning certain words/phrases, or keeping certain people on or off the platform? Who, I ask you, should be in charge of telling the owners and operators of a privately-owned public platform that their platform is now a public utility and is thus under the control of the United States federal government? I want know who is going to be telling me I cannot post “trebuchet TERFs” on Twitter now that Jack Dorsey and his lackeys will have that right usurped by the government.

Sayonara Felicia-San (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

You are digging the same cadet-level latrine with your combination: ‘who watches the watchers / resource expenditure’ style argument.

1. the resources expended in “hosting” this content are so low as to be negligible, so really this is a non-sequitur red herring.

2. The beauty and elegance of free speech is that it does not require a committee of power hungry social rejects to wring their hands over what people are and are not allowed to think, say or believe. You just let them do it. (oooh scary!)

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

My comment is not about the “resources” required to host any kind of given speech. My comment is about whether Twitter, a privately-owned company that offers an open-to-the-public platform, should be told by the government what speech it will be forced to host so Twitter can “[keep] a digital public square free from moderation and a safe-space for freedom of speech”. Who in the government gets to tell Twitter that, and when, and how would that not be an illegal breach of Twitter’s First Amendment rights?

And I do not “let” Twitter control what I think, say, or believe because I have not ceded that control, in any fashion, to Twitter in general and Jack Dorsey in particular. Twitter can no more tell me to stop saying, for example, “fuck Nazis” on Tumblr or Mastodon any more than I can force them to host my saying “fuck Nazis” on Twitter. If Twitter deserves to be controlled by the government—to be forced to host speech and associate with people against the will of the platform’s owners and operators—no one who has implied or outright said that should happen has made a good case for why it should happen. You are included in that list.

Christenson says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Mr Stone:
It has to be twitter deciding what twitter must carry. We don’t trust the gubmn’t or anyone else, and that’s what ownership should mean. To forbid a platform from deciding which speech to promote and which speech to demote would remove ownership and probably destroy it.

The questions would be
1) if there were a reasonable definition that could cause twitter or something like it to need to be subject to more rules than, say, Techdirt, where there’s no legal or moral difficulty whatever with Mike Masnick arbitrarily kicking me off because my name ends with an “n” and I laugh at trebuchet TERFs.

At the moment, twitter isn’t too far from that moral threshold where it should not act arbitrarily.

2) What form could such rules take that would be minimally constraining and encourage moderation (and moderation-like rules) for the maximum public benefit when a platform becomes “too powerful”? Where does moderation (like hiding posts) end and speech for which the platform should be responsible (like starting meatspace fistfights because all posts are immediately sent to all and only those most likely to react violently) begin? This is the moderation at scale problem.

I don’t have answers for either question, except for more competition to make twitter less powerful. Perhaps open APIs? Companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have been broken up in the past.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

At the moment, twitter isn’t too far from that moral threshold where it should not act arbitrarily.

We can argue about the morality of Twitter’s moderation decisions all the live long day. Whether Twitter is morally right to suspend or people who say something like “trebuchet TERFs” is a different argument than whether Twitter has the legal right to do that.

What form could such rules take that would be minimally constraining and encourage moderation (and moderation-like rules) for the maximum public benefit when a platform becomes "too powerful"?

Therein lies my issues with talks of regulating Twitter as a platform for speech. Who gets to decide those kinds of rules, and who gets to enforce them? At what arbitrary point does such a platform become “too powerful” and thus required to be regulated? When does Twitter go from being a privately-owned platform to a public utility without being bought out by the government? I have grave moral concerns about the size and scope of Twitter’s impact upon society and the Internet; by the same token, I have moral, ethical, and legal concerns about anyone asking for the government to regulate Twitter in its capacity as a platform for speech.

except for more competition to make twitter less powerful. Perhaps open APIs? Companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have been broken up in the past.

If Twitter were anything like those companies, you might have a point. But Twitter is nothing like those companies, in part because Twitter has competition in the form of literally every single other social interaction network on the Internet. Twitter may get all the press and attention, but that does not make Twitter a public utility—only a company with a lot more sway over culture and society than it rightfully deserves.

Christenson says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Thus it is we work through complicated questions. Don’t let your ears snap shut!

Things with outsized influence are exactly those that are proper for some form of regulation. The barbershop example, where all the barbershops in town agree not to shave those with dark skin comes to mind. Twitter, in the sphere of source-oriented short messages, is uniquely dominant for the moment.

But that leaves the second problem (what rules?) unsolved. Some real harm has been caused by twitter’s combination of algorithm-only, no-humans-may-intervene setup, especially if it’s going on in a non-english language in a poor country.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Twitter, in the sphere of source-oriented short messages, is uniquely dominant for the moment.

“Being dominant” does not mean “being a monopoly”, nor does it mean “requiring government regulation”. My questions still stand: Who gets to decide the rules Twitter should follow, and who will enforce them? At what arbitrary point does Twitter as a platform become “too powerful” and is thus required to be regulated? When does Twitter go from being a privately-owned platform to a public utility without first being bought out by the government?

Oh, and if you don’t mind, I would like to add one more: If Twitter were to shut down operations tomorrow, what—if anything—could (or even should) the government legally do to stop Twitter (which is still a privately-owned business) from shutting off the servers?

Christenson says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Maybe I’m asking for a unicorn, like the golden law-enforcement backdoor to encryption.

When something affects almost everyone, (though facebook now faces a lawsuit for counting more users than the census says can be found in certain geographic areas), this is when the government, that is us, gets involved.

And shutting down tomorrow should always be an option for a digital service. We are concerned about the flow through it creating people with pitchforks… and of course minimal gubmn’t interference.

That’s why open API strikes my fancy…competition would do all the rest.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

…"though facebook now faces a lawsuit for counting more users than the census says can be found in certain geographic areas…"

Could it possibly be that they have allowed some fake accounts? Oh Noes.

How many of those are government agents trying to entice someone to like some illicit thing?

How many of those might be some other kind of reprehensible dirtbag working some kind of scam?

How many of those might be seriously normal people that have both a real account and a fake account because they don’t want their real friends to know that they like spelunking?

I don’t use Facebook, and have them blocked in my HOSTS files (for whatever good that might do) but I was under the impression that one had to do ‘something’ to prove not only who you were, but what your age was in order to get an account.

Is Facebook seriously lacking in their pre-account perusal? Or are their public statements about account control just some serious bullshit so sufficient that the cumulative might fertilize some large countries crops?

Of course, we all know the census could be wrong. For that matter, the way they do it, how could it be right?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

Maybe I’m asking for a unicorn, like the golden law-enforcement backdoor to encryption.

Yes. Yes, you certainly are.

When something affects almost everyone […] this is when the government, that is us, gets involved.

Except Twitter, for all its influence in media and culture, does not affect almost everyone. Hell, as pointed out in a different comment on this page, the userbase of Twitter is but a fraction of all Internet users. Even if you ignore those two points, positing that “government” should get “involved” with regulating Twitter as a platform for speech still does not answer any or all of the important questions I posed above.

shutting down tomorrow should always be an option for a digital service

If Twitter is big/important enough to require government intervention in the platform’s operations, how could the service shutting down at all even be on the table without explicit governmental approval?

That’s why open API strikes my fancy…competition would do all the rest.

Twitter is under no legal, moral, or ethical obligation to open up its API. That would be a nice thing for Twitter to do, yet I would be loathe to say they should be forced into opening the API by anyone other than Jack Dorsey. Besides, we do not ask the same of Tumblr or Facebook or any other proprietary platform; what makes Twitter unique in having to carry such a burden?

Christenson says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Keep track of goals, and remember that Twitter is a stand-in for any platform that
a) has outsized influence
and
b) does things that cause people to get into physical altercations that weren’t otherwise inevitable.

In practice, gubmn’t regulation is coming. What’s the least damaging form (besides “none”) you can think of???

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9

There is no “least damaging form” of regulation in re: the government regulating a platform for speech, at least as it pertains to regulating already-legal speech. Any regulation that aims to force Twitter into hosting certain kinds of speech or letting certain people on the platform would be an affront to the First Amendment.

My questions still stand: Who gets to decide the rules Twitter should follow, and who will enforce them? At what arbitrary point does Twitter as a platform become “too powerful” and is thus required to be regulated? When does Twitter go from being a privately-owned platform to a public utility without first being bought out by the government?

Christenson says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

I haven’t yet heard a cryptographer telling me I’m looking for a unicorn.

We’d need a rule or rules that gave the platform the widest latitude possible. To my mind, that might be:
Dropping copyright protection — so I can create the Twitter2 plugin. and a personal protection plugin in case the other users mob me
Having to follow twitter-announced rules, which are non-personal.
Providing transparency into and control over the personalization.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“in part because Twitter has competition in the form of literally every single other social interaction network on the Internet.”

That’s not how it works right now. That’s now how it’s worked for years. Twitter is in a highly dominant position in its space and claiming that they face competition from everywhere else on the Internet is pure bullshit. There’s a very distinct problem right now where the addictive feedback loops of likes & retweets combined with the massive userbase means that there are people who can’t leave Twitter for another service either because it provides them with chemicals that make their brain feel good or because the raw numbers of people as an audience on Twitter make it a necessary tool in their life as a professional/CEO/marketer/whatever.

Claiming that Twitter faces real competition from every other social network on the Internet while also concluding that Twitter gets all the press and attention while having a larger-than-it-deserves sway over culture and society is quite the contradiction.

I agree with you inasmuch that the government barging in and starting to tell Twitter what it can and can’t do is bad, but I disagree that Twitter faces true competition today. There needs to be some kind of organization that acts as a mediating body which can deal with the dominance and outsized influence of these large Internet platforms. Kicking the can down the road with the same token “But who shall watch the watchmen?!?1?” every time the issue is brought up is getting old.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Twitter is in a highly dominant position in its space and claiming that they face competition from everywhere else on the Internet is pure bullshit.

Twitter is dominant, but it is not a monopoly and it is not “untouchable”. Every other social interaction network is competition for Twitter precisely because those other SINs offer something different than Twitter in terms of either functionality, community standards, or both. Twitter gets a lot of press and attention and user traffic; that will not always be the case.

There’s a very distinct problem right now where the addictive feedback loops of likes & retweets combined with the massive userbase means that there are people who can’t leave Twitter for another service either because it provides them with chemicals that make their brain feel good or because the raw numbers of people as an audience on Twitter make it a necessary tool in their life as a professional/CEO/marketer/whatever.

People thought MySpace was necessary, too. Look how that turned out.

No SIN is necessary for business unless someone makes it necessary. If a business model can be destroyed just by a SIN either going dark or banning someone, that business model deserves to be destroyed.

There needs to be some kind of organization that acts as a mediating body which can deal with the dominance and outsized influence of these large Internet platforms.

And yet…

Kicking the can down the road with the same token "But who shall watch the watchmen?!?1?" every time the issue is brought up is getting old.

…this is exactly what prevents your suggested organization from existing. All of the issues I have raised in other comments—specifically about government control over platforms for speech—would be present from the moment such an organization is proposed. Even if we assume the organization would not be a part of the federal government, many of the same issues would still require being worked out before the group’s work begins.

It is not a matter of “who watches the watchmen”. It is a matter of “what will the watchmen do when presented with the unilateral power to control a platform’s ability to moderate speech”.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

….because I think far too highly of you, I’m just going to ignore this statement and pretend like it never happened: You know very well this is an edge case which has no bearing on the primary argument.

What is the edge case? That a platform that cannot censor will be overrun by spam? No. It’s not.

Again: are you okay with email spam filters?

Sorry, but flailing stock price or not, Twitter has grown too large to allow an unelected, slovenly dressed CEO to determine what is or is not allowed to be said.

So… start your own competitor.

And, again, if Twitter can’t decide how to run its own platform, who does?

Keeping a digital public square free from moderation, and a safe-space for FREEDOM OF SPEECH is NOT the same as "associating" with views on it you disagree with.

You are literally wrong. You are uninformed on this topic. It is very much considered associating under the law, which is why platforms have every right to block speech they don’t wish to be associated with. Don’t try again. You will only look silly.

Sayonara Felicia-San (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Yes Mike, a platform is allowed to remove spam.

Now what does that have to do with the principle of Freedom of Speech in the digital Speakers’ Corner?

Spam is not speech, and enforcing a policy of ZERO moderation (aside from spam obviously, like duh…) DOES NOT imply a company’s tacit association or support of whatever speech occurs on that platform.

Killercool (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Advertising most definitely IS speech, and is only restricted by FTC rules.

Spam is advertising. Spam is Speech. Censoring spam is censoring speech.

If someone hawks goods in MY space, then it is assumed, however incorrectly, that it is being done with MY approval. That’s why stores are allowed to post signs to the gist of “No Bills, No Soliciting, etc.”.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

If a platform decides not to moderate any speech that is legal, and the platform is soon flooded with White nationalist propaganda and Nazi symbolism, that platform’s refusal to get rid of that speech can (and will) be interpreted as the platform explicitly approving of and wishing to be associated with that speech. That interpretation would only become stronger if people leave the platform and it thus becomes the de facto platform for racists.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Yes Mike, a platform is allowed to remove spam.

Okay. So now you admit moderation is acceptable. You’re just disagreeing over what level of moderation is allowed. I just wanted that confirmed. It does, however, poke a MASSIVE HOLE in your silly "they shall not moderate" argument. You’re okay with moderation. You just want to make sure they moderate it based on YOUR OWN DESIRES. Go start your own platform and moderate it the way you see fit then.

Now what does that have to do with the principle of Freedom of Speech in the digital Speakers’ Corner?

Because who determines what is "spam" makes all the difference in the world. If Twitter decides that racists are spam, it can remove them.

Spam is not speech

Can you point me to the Supreme Court case saying that? Because I’m pretty damn familiar with the exceptions to First Amendment protected speech, and I don’t recall spam being one of them. Spam is absolutely speech. It may be speech you and I don’t like, but it is speech.

and enforcing a policy of ZERO moderation (aside from spam obviously, like duh…)

Again, your "duh" is not at all a "duh" in reality. Defining spam is a big undertaking. And some may very well decide that racists are spam. Or assholes.

DOES NOT imply a company’s tacit association or support of whatever speech occurs on that platform.

No one said it’s "support." We merely pointed out that the First Amendment includes a freedom of association, which has long been held to also include a freedom not to associate, and FOR THAT VERY REASON, platforms are allowed to kick people off their platform, as they do not wish to associate with them.

You have your own definition of the law, but it is NOT WHAT THE LAW SAYS or how it is interpreted.

Anonymous Coward says:

Taylor could claim that Twitter’s terms of service were "unconscionable" because they said the site could kick you off for any reason. It is true that California code 1670.5 says that "If the court as a matter of law finds the contract or any clause of the contract to have been unconscionable at the time it was made the court may refuse to enforce the contract."

And then what? The court wasn’t being asked to enforce a contract. If they do nothing, Taylor will still be off Twitter.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re:

More so, if the contract is unenforceable, does the court intend to replace it with its own contract to govern the relationship between Taylor and Twitter? Because if the terms of service are unenforceable, does that mean twitter can’t shut down? Taylor is using twitter’s service. If they don’t have a contract…how can you force twitter to host anything of Taylor’s? I am really confused as to how this ruling qould have helped Taylor, like ever. The whole basis is that the terms of service had an unconsionable provision about when twitter could decide to stop providing the service, namely that it was too broad, and therefore twitter can no longer stop providing the service….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I would be interested in the “for any reason” part of the contract. I bet Twitter could legally be sued if they kicked a minority off Twitter if they were black, brown, or purple.

So Technically “for any reason” should be illegal verbiage in a contract. Or does the contract actually state “for any reason allowable by law”?

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Without knowing the exact wording, I imagine it is actually something like “twitter can terminate your account at any time without cause”, that is they don’t need to specify a reason. Alternatively, “for any reason allowable by law” might be unnecessary verbiage, that a civil rights violation provides a cause of action outside of voiding the terms of service.

It is in fact kind of my point that voiding the TOS does not help the case of Taylor. Rendering the TOS unconscionable and therefore unenforceable voids the terms of use – the rules under which you agree to conduct yourself in exchange for the use of twitter’s service. Which then voids your access, rendering the complaint moot.

So while, you could try to void the TOS on those grounds, it would result in you being back at ground zero.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I bet Twitter could legally be sued if they kicked a minority off Twitter if they were black, brown, or purple.

They could, because that’s illegal (if we’re talking about natural physical attributes; they can boot people wearing blackface or purple if they like). The court would be enforcing civil rights law, not "refusing to enforce" some contract with Twitter.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Not what I was getting at here.

The problem is that you cannot legally enforce terms of service if they make statement that are not legally enforceable. It has exactly NOTHING do with enforcing civil BS laws. It has everything to do with Twitter entering language in a contract that is not legally binding. Twitter cannot legally kick anyone off for any reason, based on many laws and trying to enforce a contract that holds a clause that is contradictory to multiple laws sorta makes it null and void, and I only say sorta, because you can always find a loopy judge that has just enough political bias to make the wrong call.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

trying to enforce a contract that holds a clause that is contradictory to multiple laws sorta makes it null and void,

Contracts are "enforced" by courts, not private parties. If "for any reason" is illegal verbiage, what’s the end-game? Making the contract "null and void" doesn’t help the racist, because then there’s no contract requiring Twitter to provide service. Maybe a court would call this a "breach of contract", but what would the damages be? Should they order a refund?

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Terms of Service are a contract. One sided, as most contracts we deal with. The contract are Terms you agree to in exchange for access to the service.

One could argue that many software TOS are not, in fact, valid contracts. Because you can not persue the Terms of the contract prior to purchase, and refunds are not generally availible, the TOS can not be seen as conscionable and therefore is invalid. This in fact has been ruled in many other countries. They rule the full terms of use must be known to the purchaser to be a valid portion of the purchase, where the purchaser is understood to have exchanged money in exchange for the software and the TOS would otherwise be additional, undisclosed consideration. I do not think it has been addressed in a US court outside of a ruling involving Lexmark cartridges and a TOU contract undiscclosed until after purchase.

But this is not a TOS of a purchased product, but a TOS agreed to when I signed up for a service, and from that perspective is a valid contract.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

this kind of language is actually relatively new, only coming into the fore with software.

No, I’ve been getting "we’re altering the deal, pray we don’t alter it any further" notices for bank accounts and credit cards as long as I can remember. Also cable (good riddance), electricity… everything but landline phones, until those got deregulated too.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Part of the reason I didn’t even blog about it at the time was that it was such a crazy ruling, completely divorced from basically all precedent on how online platforms manage their services,”

So what? Just about everything today is far divorced from precedents from the past. Corruption happens slowly over time, and if this person has learned anything from the left is that you just keep suing until you find the one judge willing to fuck up the law and create a new precedent causing a bunch of trouble.

Twitter can kick whoever the fuck it wants off its platform, it is their platform.

I wonder if the “admitted left leaning” organization will survive it’s own biases? I can’t wait for the moment a couple of lefties get into an ideological fight. Right now it is a greater sin on the left to utter a racist term than it is to rape children or women. And this is quantifiable by the fact that Trumps star has been trashed while Bill Cosby and Kevin Spacey have intact stars.

I don’t like Trump or Cosby, or Spacey… but the lefties need to get a few priorities straight. Words seem to count more than actions with you folks. It’s a shame.

Of course, I would also like to know why all racists are not kicked off Twitter? Seen a few calls for white genocide… seems like the standards are more than double on Twitter.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“if this person has learned anything from the left is that you just keep suing until you find the one judge willing to fuck up the law “

Yup – it is only “the left” that does this sort of thing as “the right” only does things that benefit the entire citizenry and would never even think about doing anything bad because they are pure as the driven snow … which is totally polluted but wth.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Yup – it is only “the left” that does this sort of thing as “the right” only does things that benefit the entire citizenry and would never even think about doing anything bad because they are pure as the driven snow … which is totally polluted but wth.”

O yes, me picking on the left is totally code that the right never does anything wrong.

I am an independent. Yes, the right does do this too not saying they don’t. Just stating that the left is far more prevalent and obsessed with pursuing court written laws.

It’s almost like the Democrats are “anti-democracy”. So… what exactly is in a name these days anyways?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If you want to play the partisan game I suppose it is standard fare, but many these days are tiring of that crapfest and have concluded that the right/left arguments are total bullshit.

So – if you have a gripe, please express yourself accordingly but generalities and stereotypes are detrimental to your points being made.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

So what? Just about everything today is far divorced from precedents from the past

This is an inaccurate assessment of our judicial landscape.

Corruption happens slowly over time, and if this person has learned anything from the left…

AH, I see. You’re one of those idiots who thinks "the left" this and "the right" that. In other words, you are a loser who can’t think for yourself.

Try again.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Oh poor Masnick feewings are hurt.

Nope, I see more than just left or right. Just pointing out which group does it the most though. Truth hurts don’t it!

I hate hypocrisy more than anything and I view tribalism, fraternity, political party all has being just alternate extensions of racism.

I bet you stink of bigotry yourself while shoving a blast of perfume up your snot box!

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Oh poor Masnick feewings are hurt.

No, my feelings are not hurt. I am just pointing out that you appear to be a near total idiot. Your response reinforces that point.

Nope, I see more than just left or right. Just pointing out which group does it the most though. Truth hurts don’t it!

Citation very much needed. First, the idea that there are "groups" is silly. Second, the idea that one "group" does this more than the other is laughably ignorant.

I hate hypocrisy more than anything and I view tribalism, fraternity, political party all has being just alternate extensions of racism.

And yet you engage in it. Fascinating.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

No Mike, you are the near total idiot. The problem is that you are not able to see it. It is no secret that your are left of center and that any attack against them is seen as personal by you.

I do not need any citation, but how about the law suit against California prop 8? That was using a judge to legislate from the bench and against a “democratically” voted in law which you false prophets of “democracy” claim to want.

If anything, you are the walking epitome of a hypocrite. You most definitely view problems from a tribal, fraternity, and racist viewpoint. You just “claim” to do it from the opposite side to sugar coat your biases.

At the end of the day Mike, you are exactly what you claim to be fighting against… as is the case for pretty much both the left and the right.

As a free thinker I can clearly see that there are two ultimate truths for both the left and the right in America right now.

The worst nightmare for a lefty is to having a government composed of entirely their own kind. Oppression would be rampant, everyone except the political elite would be dirt poor when it is all said and done, like Venezuela.

The worst nightmare for a righty is having a government composed of entirely their own kind. Oppression would be rampant, everyone except the political elite would be dirt poor when it is all said and done, like North Korea!

Notice how the start, the middle and the end of both of your fucked up groups are so similar? All you are is a petty little man full of tribal bias while hypocritically bitching about the biases of others.

When you two are done killing each other over your politics, I will be happy to forget you loonies every existed… only to be repeated as more of your kind repopulate the earth and once again start this bullshit all back up again.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

No Mike, you are the near total idiot.

Clever retort.

It is no secret that your are left of center and that any attack against them is seen as personal by you.

Really? That’s news to me. I’m neither left nor right of center. Nor center. I reject the entire framing that there is such a thing as a "left" or a "right" because it’s nonsense made up tribal nonsense and leads "near total idiots" like yourself to believe you’re playing for or against a team.

The idea that I take personally attacks on "the left" is nuts, since I think the people you probably lump in as left are daft and often economically clueless. I think the politicians who are normally associated with "the right" are economically clueless in a different direction. In short, your strawman of me is wrong.

I do not need any citation, but how about the law suit against California prop 8? That was using a judge to legislate from the bench and against a "democratically" voted in law which you false prophets of "democracy" claim to want.

Huh? I’m at a loss as to what this has to do with anything?

If anything, you are the walking epitome of a hypocrite.

Oh do tell.

You most definitely view problems from a tribal, fraternity, and racist viewpoint. You just "claim" to do it from the opposite side to sugar coat your biases.

Oh, now I’m racist too? Fascinating. Please share with the class my racist statements. Thanks.

Also, which "tribe" do I belong to? I’m genuinely curious. Above, you claim I’m of the left, which is laughable, because I am not at all "of the left." Nor am I "of the right." At best my tribe is the one that believes in civil liberties and innovation, but that’s not so much a tribe. It’s just what I believe in. Believing in those things means that I think both parties (we can talk about actual parties, rather than meaningless terms like "left" or "right") are basically out to lunch on all of the issues I care about. They’re bad on civil liberties. They’re terrible on innovation. Both parties are very much in the thrall of rent seekers and mostly supportive of the surveillance state.

There are some politicians who I think do a good job on certain issues, and those politicians easily fall on either side of the party divide. I agree with Justin Amash on somethings. Darrell Issa on some things. Ron Wyden on some things. Zoe Lofgren on somethings. I frequently disagree with a wide range of politicians of both parties. I think Dianne Feinstein and Richard Blumenthal are ridiculous, but same as Richard Burr and Ted Cruz.

So why do you keep insisting that I’m a part of some tribe when I am not?

When you two are done killing each other over your politics, I will be happy to forget you loonies every existed…

What’s incredible, is that I mostly agree with this position. Yet, you’re so wrapped up in your own bullshit you HAVE to assign me to one side or the other, because you’re a "near total idiot."

Have a good one.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Just because you perceive yourself free of tribalism doesn’t mean you are in fact free of tribalism, nor does it mean you are some sort of free thinker free of the bonds of group-thought. For instance, ‘the left’ is a poor term for whom you are blaming for a perceived utilization of the judiciary to write law. How and why it is used vary wildly in the left. Social progressives use the judiciary to push for legal recognition of constitutional ideals where the law does not meet those ideals. That is probably the group you intend to refer to. However, you also incorporate environmental activists, pro-consumer advocates, and employee advocates looking to the judiciary to enforce legislation as well. Precise labeling helps avoid accusations of tribalism. “The Left” inherently establishes a single other side – “The Right” and your tone places them in opposition, placing the perception of you on “The Right”. Our misunderstanding that you are not in the tribes you established is because of your choice to use broad tribes, rather than more distinct entities.

I recognize you are using the Causal voice in your writing, but it leans heavily toward misunderstanding. For instance, you appear to state that how our judicial system works is completely divorced from precedent. What you might have intended to say is that our current judicial system precedents are very different than in the past. They are, but they are not divorced from them. In general you can track these presidential sways over many rulings as perspectives and opinions change. You might want to consider the use of the Formal voice to improve clarity.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Just because you perceive yourself free of tribalism doesn’t mean you are in fact free of tribalism, nor does it mean you are some sort of free thinker free of the bonds of group-thought.”

I agree, one can make the claim that being anti-tribal is a triablism of it’s own. But I disagree with the fact that is does not make me a free-thinker. I stand far clear of any definition… I test nearly smack dab in the center on political tests. I formulate my own ideas… and by that nature I am exactly a free thinker. I also change my mind on many things based on new “facts”. I am a high school drop with out with no college in the upper 5%… I am not quite a millionaire but I do quite well ignoring most of the world and it’s insane drivel about politics, science, religion, and ecology. I know enough to know that the vast majority of people are so damn clueless that they cannot even see it.

“For instance, ‘the left’ is a poor term for whom you are blaming for a perceived utilization of the judiciary to write law.”

Let me stop you right there. You have just misconstrued what I said to either intentionally or ignorantly misrepresent what I said. I am only talking in the context of a certain kind of farming in the court system to achieve a specific outcome. It is entirely YOUR construct to imply that I reference all court actions. You are over generalizing while I am talking about something more specific. And that is the penchant of those that are left leaning to use the courts to write laws they like. This in no way imply that there are those on the right that do not do this… it only singles out the left for being the biggest abusers!

“”The Left” inherently establishes a single other side – “The Right” and your tone places them in opposition,”

Only in your limited views. I see more than left or right, the problem is that we need to use labels to help facilitate which groups we are talking about, why? Because while not everyone on the left does this, many on the left give theirs a pass for doing it because it serves their politics. In short, you guys fully enjoy doing the wrong thing to get a desired outcome and many of them turn around and complain hypocritically when it is done in return to them. This is the problem. If you don’t like it being done to you, don’t do it to them… Golden Rule territory here. Kinda like when many on the left here talk pure trash to me… and then cry when I do it back to them. Like the hatfield and mccoys… does it really matter who started it? I know it will never end. Even though I do avoid the harsh language from time to time, I rarely ever see them do the same.

“For instance, you appear to state that how our judicial system works is completely divorced from precedent.”

Another intentional misrepresentation. This is what I said.
“Just about everything today is far divorced from precedents from the past.” This is why it is so difficult to be able to speak to many people. They are so fundamentally clueless about words that they cannot hope to understand anything other than ideas like… Left, Right, Dem, Rep, Racist, Rich, Poor,… etc. There is no end to it.

“You might want to consider the use of the Formal voice to improve clarity.”

You might want to just read with better comprehension and without malicious or ignorant intent to improve clarity.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

While addressing my words, you have managed to miss the larger themes of my commentary, that your broad framing about ‘the left’ encourages tribalistic views. I apologize for not making this clear.

I actually encouraged the use of labels in my commentary, just specific accurate ones rather than overbroad labels. The left is a poor identifier of the group you have issues with, because social progressivism is found in both the ‘left’ and ‘right’. And using that group, as opposed to ‘the left’ makes for a more clear picture while avoiding tribalistic monoliths that cause knee jerk reactions. You say you see more than left or right, than why are you so against the idea of using more specific terms? I posit that you are intentionally agitating discord by using these terms.

You additionally missed my point as to the Casual vs Formal voice. The Formal voice pays careful attention to context and structure to improve comprehension and is often marked by measured statements. The casual voice is well suited to broad hyperbolic comments and quick, off the cuff responses.

When in a discussion about legal issues I tend to assume a formal voice is being used by others in the discussion. So when you respond to a comment about a ruling’s lack of adherence to judicial precedent and comment on precedents, it is natural to assume that, from context, you are using the word in the judicial context. I did not choose to misrepresent. Rather, you choose to use words in ways contrary to the context. Your choice, it now appears, to make vague societal commentary about how everything is different works in a casual context, but is highly confusing. I have to apparently know when to ignore context to understand the intent of your words. As well, that portion of your comments on the article then hold no value, as it fails to address the statement it is explicitly responding to. Just as everything else in that paragraph has nothing to do with my commentary.

I think I’ve gotten into it with you a few times recently. Every time we have this type of argument. You claim I need to comprehend better, while I argue that you need to express yourself better. I will say it clearly I am not clueless about words. I know them well. But the whole is important. You consistently drop context, or make broad hyperbolic statements and get upset when we establish context and specificity contrary to your intent.

But perhaps you can answer me one thing. "Just about everything today is far divorced from precedents from the past." What, in your mind, does this have to do with modern judicial precident? The justice system in the US functions on a system of binding precident, that a decision in one court is binding on courts in that court’s scope, and a lower court can not overturn a higher court. The decision being discussed was contrary to binding precedent at every level of the judicial system, and the statement you replied to expressed that. Contextually, your statement in reply then reads that "Just about everything today [about the judicial system] is far divorced from [judicial] precedents from the past." I can not establish a relationship between your statement and the topic at hand otherwise. So, please tell me. How are you intending for me to connect the two statements?

Christenson says:

A Moral View...

The *law* is clear: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc, can kick anyone off their platform for any reason or no reason.

Many have pointed out that the law is so complicated it leads to contradictions, and in any case, moral absurdities — good faith exception for the cops, anyone?

Here, the original judge recognized the outsized market power of twitter — and we have many laws about companies with outsized market powers — including public accommodation laws — and tried to apply them.

I also think that what twitter or facebook does with the individualized views is beyond traditional publishing, for better or worse.

No, I don’t know how to resolve this contradiction! But it is a crux!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 A Moral View...

#1. You are a moron.

That is NOT an acceptance of bigotry, but it is an allowance of it. There really is a difference, but I am afraid it might be too much for your small mind.

Read it again… and perhaps read the word… “Liberty” a few million times before it sets in.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 A Moral View...

I do not see any acceptance of bigotry in the above.

It’s a good aspiration, but not normative and does not say citizens have to hold the same truths. An amendment, which came later (as these things do) said they don’t.

"Acceptance" is a vague term. I consider expressions of bigotry unacceptable, but legal when coming from an individual (not, say, a corporation—which as a government-created fiction should not have "rights" and has to comply with civil rights laws).

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 A Moral View...

Yes and no.

Yes in that it would be unconstitutional to pass a law that would prohibit racists speech(with certain exceptions that would apply to all speech, like incitements for violence), such that the KKK or Westboro for example, as disgusting as they are are still within their rights to be racists/bigoted losers.

No in that there’s no protection against consequences for being a racist loser when it comes to non-government individuals/groups/companies, for example a business deciding that nah, they’d rather not have you in their store after you start spouting racist rhetoric, a platform deciding that they’d rather not have you use their service(for the same reason), or a person/group of people deciding that they want nothing to do with you after learning you’re still in the ‘racial cooties’ phase.

No also in the sense that there are limits against putting a racist perspective into action rather than just words, whether that be hiring practices that exclude certain races or deciding that certain races aren’t welcome in a place of business because of their race.

Being a racist loser is protected, making racists statements is likewise protected, racist actions that impact others are not, and even in the instances where one may be legally protected that does not mean it carries with it protection against non-legal consequences.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Sorry, I should have been more specific.

Yes, absolutely holding racist opinions, beliefs, and talking about those beliefs is protected under the First Amendment.

However, generally putting racism into practice and active discrimination by companies and organizations is not protected.

Maybe I was mis-reading the OP’s position but it sounded more like they were advocating for the latter rather than just protected speech.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: A Moral View...

“I also think that what twitter or facebook does with the individualized views is beyond traditional publishing, for better or worse.”

That is a totally asinine statement. What the fuck does “traditional publishing” have to do with this? The constitution is written in such a way that the “implementation of the actual publishing” is not what is being protected but the ACT OF PUBLISHING is what is being protected.

But hey, if you support judges being able to write gag orders you already took a shit all over the 1st to begin with. Courts are literally government and have constitutional authority to issue a gag order of any fucking kind. Not to protect state secrets, or under age people either. When so much can now be hidden from the voters, no wonder the voters are fucking clueless about how their own government works!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: A Moral View...

Seriously? Anyone can gaslight anyone at anytime. It is literally one of the oldest things to do. I can be done unintentionally, intentionally, indirectly, or directly. It changes no games. Just the speed at which the gaslight might happen.

And man is there a lot of gas to be had these days!

Christenson says:

*Twitter* might be a public accommodation

That is, approximately half of the internet uses it…so it definitely has outsized market power.

Should twitter be allowed to kick *you* off because you commented on Techdirt this week? That’s perfectly *legal*, but also immoral.

What about if you comment on one of those *racist* tweets and mock it, and the auto-filters decide *you* are a racist?

It’s a hard problem with no simplistic answers.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: *Twitter* might be a public accommodation

Should twitter be allowed to kick you off because you commented on Techdirt this week? That’s perfectly legal, but also immoral.

I have no problem with people yelling about how bad Twitter is at moderation. I’ve done it myself, in part to point out that ANYONE is going to be bad at moderation at scale, but they can still try to do better.

But pointing out that they’re bad at it is no where near saying they shouldn’t be allowed to do it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: *Twitter* might be a public accommodation

While that is a totally legitimate argument we both know for a fact that is not a good argument here. People are definitely being intentionally targeted while others are being ignored. In fact twitter no longer even hides these facts.

Moderation itself is an act of bias itself. I think people just need to get over the fact that bias is just going to be in their lives because not only do they have to experience it, they are also a source of it!

Nothing stinks worse that a person that claims no bias!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 *Twitter* might be a public accommodation

too many to list.

I hate honey mustard but like mustard, mayo, & ketchup.
There is a bias.
I like people that do not murder, rape, or steal, but hate those that do… another bias.

So as you can see… you ask my opinion… you get a bias. Just like if I ask you an opinion, I get a bias from you.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 *Twitter* might be a public accommodation

Well, I like pizza, and I like anchovies, but I don’t like anchovies on pizza. There is a bias.

Those kinds of bias’s, however, have nothing to do with whether a person is allowed to use a private service. Race, creed, national origin, sex, etc. are the kinds of things they are not allowed to use as an excuse to deny service. Ranting, hate mongering, expressing antipathy toward any of those protected classes I mentioned is another thing. Making expressions of those kinds are the kinds of things that have a tendency to get people kicked off a private service.

As to political leanings, they (the company that owns the platform) have a right to their political leanings as well. Tell us you never heard that newspapers might endorse one political candidate or another. The platform company might express those thoughts by posting themselves. They might also express those thoughts by removing users that are overly extreme in their representations.

With any fairness (something not actually required of them (the market will determine whether they are right or wrong)) the company will banish extremes, whether at one end, the other end, or in the middle. And those banishment’s would be for extremism, rather than taking a particular side, or edge or some other geometric position. It would be being extreme that caught someones attention, and caused an action.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 *Twitter* might be a public accommodation

“Race, creed, national origin, sex, etc. are the kinds of things they are not allowed to use as an excuse to deny service.”

Did I state otherwise?

“Ranting, hate mongering, expressing antipathy toward any of those protected classes I mentioned is another thing.”

I see… you are okay with being racist so long as it is your kind of racism.

“As to political leanings, they (the company that owns the platform) have a right to their political leanings as well.”

I totes agree with that, but I bet you actually do not. Tell me, what do you think of Hobby Lobby and their unwillingness to pay for contraception? I am interested in seeing if you truly believe this.

“With any fairness (something not actually required of them (the market will determine whether they are right or wrong)) the company will banish extremes, whether at one end, the other end, or in the middle. And those banishment’s would be for extremism, rather than taking a particular side, or edge or some other geometric position. It would be being extreme that caught someones attention, and caused an action.”

Looks like you either missed out on History or you perhaps do not even understand what you wrote yourself.

What was extreme yesterday is not extreme today. Things change, just like how people came to the conclusion that racism was bad, but for the wrong reasons. You see people think that slavery started the Civil War. It did not. When the Republicans set about to end the Slavery caused by the Democrats they didn’t do it to for the slaves. They did it to end the economic advantage that slavery brought the Democrats in the South. Same situation here… Twitter is not banning these accounts for good causes, they are just advancing their own version of social control. But since they are a free service people are totally allowed to not use, they can do it. If the will of the people are to support this then so be it. People can start up their own conservative Twitter if they like.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

You see people think that slavery started the Civil War. It did not.

Are you one of those people who think the Civil War was about “economic anxiety” or “state’s rights”? If so, I would like to remind you that the economy of the South during the pre-Civil War period was highly dependent on slavery. The Confederacy seceded and went to war with the United States because the Confederacy wanted the (state’s) right to preserve slavery (and thus keep the economy from crumbling). Every major Confederacy leader said slavery was a primary cause of the secession and ensuing war. The Civil War was about slavery; the issues of “economic anxiety” and the power of the federal government were directly related to that specific, primary issue.

Twitter is not banning these accounts for good causes, they are just advancing their own version of social control. But since they are a free service people are totally allowed to not use, they can do it.

Yes, that is the entire point: Twitter admins/moderators have the right to moderate Twitter however they want so long as they do not break the law. If’n you dislike how Twitter moderates the platform, well…

People can start up their own conservative Twitter if they like.

…that is what Gab and conservative-leaning Mastodon instances are for.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

“Are you one of those people who think the Civil War was about “economic anxiety” or “state’s rights”?”

“economic anxiety” most definitely but “states right’s” no. States just like people will freely give up rights for safety and security.

“If so, I would like to remind you that the economy of the South during the pre-Civil War period was highly dependent on slavery.”

So did you not catch the part where I literally said this? Is there a reason you feel the need to try to make it appear as though I think otherwise? I literally said that slavery was fought against specifically to harm that slavery based economy.

“The Confederacy seceded and went to war with the United States because the Confederacy wanted the (state’s) right to preserve slavery (and thus keep the economy from crumbling).”

I agree with that statement. But you can see where the war was more about economy than the slaves. People fight for Money, Power, Land, and Resources… literally no one starts a war for peoples rights. Not even the birth of America was for rights or liberty… those were all a pretext for getting soldiers to sign up for their own desires to lead a country away from the Crown because they get to be in charge instead of some dickhead across the ocean!

“The Civil War was about slavery; the issues of “economic anxiety” and the power of the federal government were directly related to that specific, primary issue.”

Nope, that is just some BS on its face. After the war ended the minorities still faced institutionalize racism through both the government and society at large. If they were about freeing the slaves as humans then that war would have also make it clear that they were every bit the citizens that white were. The civil war being about slavery is just a deception you need to tell yourself to ACT like you are on the right side of the issues. No one was on the right side. Both sides were just willing to kill each other to get their evil way. No one gave a shit about the slaves, they were fucked before, during, and immediately after the war. It took a lot of Tubmans, Kings, and Parks to slowly change this nation! And do you know what else it took? A whole lot of support white people including white fucking lawmakers, but we don’t mention those guys? Why? Because there is a political narrative to be served… to hell with the slaves.

“Yes, that is the entire point: Twitter admins/moderators have the right to moderate Twitter however they want so long as they do not break the law. If’n you dislike how Twitter moderates the platform, well…

People can start up their own conservative Twitter if they like.

…that is what Gab and conservative-leaning Mastodon instances are for.”

Agree, agree…

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

do you know what else it took? A whole lot of support white people including white fucking lawmakers, but we don’t mention those guys? Why?

…because they had the ability to free the slaves and give them equal civil rights at literally any time but chose not to do it because they were racist fuckheads up to the point where their versions of racism became socially and politically unacceptable? I mean, just a hunch.

to hell with the slaves

Congratulations, you qualify for retroactive citizenship in the Confederate States of America!

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Well, to be clear: Historically, those in power opposed to slavery were more concerned with the integrity of the union than the slaves. Lincoln is noted for this opinion. Institutional racism and privilege at work. They did ‘what they could’, perhaps they may have even judged that correctly, but in the end what allowed them to free most of the slaves was the shattering of the Union with the confederate secession. And I mean most – the emancipation proclamation only freed slaves in the confederacy. Some slaves remained legally slaves until years later, and prisoners remain legally slaves under the 13th Amendment.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

prisoners remain legally slaves under the 13th Amendment.

The 13th doesn’t say that prisoners are slaves, it says that slavery is permitted only as punishment for a crime. "A is permissible only in the case of B" does not imply that every time B occurs, A does also.

"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

“After the war ended the minorities still faced institutionalize racism through both the government and society at large.”

This fact does not support your assertion that the civil war was not about slavery.

“If they were about freeing the slaves as humans then that war would have also make it clear that they were every bit the citizens that white were.”

and the fourteenth amendment is just ink on paper as it means nothing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: *Twitter* might be a public accommodation

I think people just need to get over the fact that bias is just going to be in their lives because not only do they have to experience it, they are also a source of it!

What does that mean? Many types of bias are unethical and we should not "get over" them, we should end them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 *Twitter* might be a public accommodation

Your ethics are not equal to others ethics.

All biases are ethical for some, just maybe not for you. Kinda like how…

One mans trash is another mans treasure, or
One mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter, or
How YOU hold the correct and moral compass while everyone else seems to be without one?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 *Twitter* might be a public accommodation

bias == ethics? … interesting

A person acting upon their ethics means that they are biased … against what?

Lets say you refuse to perform activities at work that are clearly illegal, this is showing your bias toward not being incarcerated.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 *Twitter* might be a public accommodation

I don’t know how you are not able to understand this…

But your bias is what forms the basis of your ethics.

eth·ics
ˈeTHiks/
noun
plural noun: ethics; noun: ethics

1.
moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity.

Does a racist not have ethics as well? Terrible ethics, and perhaps ethics you do not agree with… but still ethics.

“Lets say you refuse to perform activities at work that are clearly illegal, this is showing your bias toward not being incarcerated.”

Yes, but it is also possible that I would refuse to do something based on my Ethics when there is NO chance of incarceration. Take the employees at Google complaining about doing AI for drones in the Government for Military use. They are not breaking the law and I am totally okay with them objecting. Their biases literally created their Ethics!

so um… yea…

BIAS == ETHICS * BIGTIME

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 *Twitter* might be a public accommodation

All biases are ethical for some, just maybe not for you.

I won’t request equal rights for honey and regular mustards, because that doesn’t come close to being a human rights problem. It’s generally agreed that some biases are unacceptable with regards to humans. The work that was done to get people to recognize this is important (in my opinion) and I’m not going to pretend it should all be overlooked, even if we disagree on some details.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 *Twitter* might be a public accommodation

“I won’t request equal rights for honey and regular mustards, because that doesn’t come close to being a human rights problem.”

You mean not yet. This is not a joke. Like Godwins law, everything eventually devolves into a human rights problem. Take California and the attempt to prevent employers from serving food to employees to get them to get out and walk around and buy food from local businesses.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jul/25/facebook-free-lunch-banned-silicon-valley-restaurants

The end goal is always one things. Legislating human behavior and using human rights, economy, or really any “ism” of the day to justify doing just that. The laws you create to end oppression will only be used to oppress.

Racism needs to end, but it has to be through mutual understanding and cooperation. Using Laws to force diversity just place a superficial lid on a hot pot until it explodes and people die! And as much as I would like for people to coexist and get along I would like it more if people did not have to die to get it done!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 *Twitter* might be a public accommodation

Racism needs to end, but it has to be through mutual understanding and cooperation. Using Laws to force diversity

We may be talking past each other. Laws shouldn’t "force diversity", but it’s fair to make laws that prevent the government from discriminating in certain ways, and I think it’s been historically helpful to extend some of this to private companies. Mutual understanding is great, but if your only choice for ISP or telephone is racist, a boycott can be a very difficult proposition. Corporations exist because the public has chosen to allow it, insofar as it’s useful, not because of a natural right; it should therefore be fair for the public to regulate them.

Christenson says:

Re: Re: *Twitter* might be a public accommodation

Umm, the question is a moral one:

At what point (level of power) should a platform have to not act arbitrarily? Does a workable rule for that exist?

Notice that even you have advocated for net neutrality, because the outsized power of the ISPs is obvious. Remember Cloudflare, “I woke up this morning in a bad mood and kicked the Daily Stormer off the internet, and that’s a bad thing”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 *Twitter* might be a public accommodation

“distinguish the law from the morals”

Those are two separate and distinct things and should not be conflated. Many of our laws are not moral, why would they be when they are created by empire builders uninterested in anything other than building their empires?

A. Tourney says:

"Okay, brothers! You asked for it!" -- John Galt

That’s NOT what the ruling says: it’s more procedural. Doesn’t go so far as Masnick believes. And of course not final. — But notice how Masnick CHEERS corporations being given POWER over The Public!

I’m not going to try and unscramble the tangle of legalities (let alone with flawed plaintiff), just give this headline:

"CITIZEN ANNOUNCES HE’S RUNNING AGAINST CORRUPT SHERIFF, HIS HOME IS RAIDED, WIFE KIDNAPPED"

Now, what has that to do with topic? — EVERYTHING. POWER CORRUPTS. Even your "friend" Google. What will stop it once all opposition is forbidden?

You’d better do all can to not let corporations rule over you: they are money-machines with no soul, only lust for power. Soon as mere statute legalizes tossing you into meat grinders, you’ll be made into Soylent Alpo regardless whether fawn on corporations now.

A. Tourney says:

Corporations get a DEAL: immunity IN EXCHANGE FOR opportunity.

The deal of CDA 230 is to be NEUTRAL HOSTS for The Public’s speech.

Otherwise, corporations MUST obey the traditional laws of publishing and be responsible for EVERY BIT on the "platform".

The deal was granted BY The Public (through our representatives) and clearly meant as a convenience to allow The Public to use the internet without having to manage technical details. PERIOD.

CDA 230 NEVER in least authorizes corporations to discriminate (for their own purposes) as to WHO and WHAT is published. That’s controlled by common law.

Of course, GREEDY GRASPING corporatists soon found a loophole that they claim allows them POWER OVER THE PUBLIC.

But We The People don’t have to allow the hosting corporations to exist at all! It’s entirely our option. They’re to SERVE The Public or be broken up.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Corporations get a DEAL: immunity IN EXCHANGE FOR opportunity.

The deal of CDA 230 is to be NEUTRAL HOSTS for The Public’s speech.

This is literally the opposite of what Congress said in passing the bill, but, I see you’re not one for details.

CDA 230 NEVER in least authorizes corporations to discriminate (for their own purposes) as to WHO and WHAT is published.

From the law: "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action taken to enable or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to material described in paragraph."

In other words, yes, it EXPLICITLY states that platforms are authorized to determine who or what is published.

That’s controlled by common law.

I am curious what you think "common law" means. Because it appears you haven’t the slightest clue.

But We The People don’t have to allow the hosting corporations to exist at all! It’s entirely our option. They’re to SERVE The Public or be broken up.

So, wait. The internet itself shouldn’t exist? That’s what you’re saying?

A. Tourney says:

It's truly We The People or THEM.

I can’t believe that any "natural" person is arguing in favor of their own rights being usurped by unaccountable mega-corporations!

The way corporations moved as a bloc against Alex Jones has brought more attention to the conspiracy to over-ride the First Amendment. I predict explicit legislation on this which is in accord with my views.

The Masnick has come out far more often than usual with quote-and-contradict. And WHY?

https://copia.is/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/sponsors.png

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

I do not argue in favor of Twitter usurping my rights. I argue that Twitter has no legal way to usurp my right to free speech. Any post I make on Twitter can be made elsewhere—hell, if Twitter had not changed the platform‘s API, I could still use a Twitter-to-Mastodon cross-poster app to accomplish that feat.

A platform owner booting you from the platform does not prevent you from using other platforms. It is simply the platform owner reminding you that they set down rules, you broke those rules, and you are not legally entitled to usage of that platform and an audience.

Anonymous Coward says:

Actually, the “unconscionable” claim is pretty valid. Denying that would mean that you would be okay with, say, the state suddenly deciding that you’re not allowed to use public roads – or why not, live any longer – for no reason or any reason whatsoever.

Except in any sane country such things are (or rather are supposed to be) regulated by laws: they are supposed to be clearly put forth, and as long as you do not break any of them the state is not supposed to be able to “refuse you service” or punish you in any way. Why the hell are private companies serving the general public any different? Where do they get this arbitrary omnipotence to deny you service as they please? Does this mean I can open a shop and declare I refuse to serve black people…? How well do you think that would go down…? Why is “because you’re black” and “because I say so” supposed to be any different – why is the latter apparently perfectly acceptable? Only because I refused to say to your face “because you’re black” and said “that’s none of your business” instead…?

And with a barber shop or such there is at least some room for argument about one being free to use a “different one” (albeit failing to explain what am I supposed to do if somehow all of them agree “not to like me”) – how exactly is that supposed to work for one-of-a-kind things that are either actual or just de facto monopolies? How would you use “a different” public road network if banned from it…? How are you supposed to use “a different” Ebay? Or Facebook? Or, YES, Twitter?!?

There is no “other Twitter”, folks. There are only nasty people with nasty amounts of power who apparently just should have the right to effectively make you an un-person on a whim, simply because they don’t like you very much. You know what? That guy is probably a real nasty piece of work – but those others at the control panels are far, far worse…

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Actually, the "unconscionable" claim is pretty valid. Denying that would mean that you would be okay with, say, the state suddenly deciding that you’re not allowed to use public roads – or why not, live any longer – for no reason or any reason whatsoever.

That situation is not the same thing as Twitter saying “you can’t do that here” for one reason: Twitter is a privately-owned platform that cannot legally prevent you from speaking your mind anywhere else besides that platform.

There is no "other Twitter", folks.

There is Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, the multitude of Mastodon instances popping up lately, Tumblr, LiveJournal, MySpace, VK, Google Plus, and…well, literally any other social interaction network on the Internet. Twitter is Twitter; while it carries power and fame beyond what a lot of people are comfortable with (me included), it is not the only SIN on the market—and it is sure as shit not a public utility that should be forced to host all kinds of legally-okay-but-morally-reprehensible speech.

John Smith says:

Re: Re: Re:

YouTube is very liberal in allowing free speech. I can attest to this personally. The most they generally do is de-monetize a video that might offend advertisers.

Also the internet itself is not the only way to get a message out. I have to side with Twitter in this case. I will say that platforms which practice censorship, like AOL did in the 1990s when it had twitter-like power, tend to lose that power through irrelevance.

Charles P. says:

a) If Twitter wants to ban Taylor based on their rules, that’s great, but I don’t see how any reasonable reading of any conceivable anti-racism policy can allow them to ban Taylor without also banning people like Sarah Jeong. If neutral moderation rules are not being evenly applied, then Twitter is acting more like a publisher than a neutral platform and their safe harbor protections should arguably not apply.

b) Without knowing much about Taylor other than his investigation into IQ racial theories, which by the way puts East Asians ahead of whites at the top of the list, I find it interesting that he’s called a “noted racist”. The word racist has lost all meaning in 2018 due to overuse. For instance, people who believe that affirmative action should not be applied and all races should be treated equally under the law can get that label in 2018, despite advocating ideas that are the polar opposite of racism. Anybody who is labeled a racist should get the views labeled as racist described so a reader can make a reasonable judgement. The article claims that he self-describes as a race realist or white-advocate, which means something else entirely. If he is a noted racist, it should be the easiest thing in the world to briefly make the case and cite some examples of racism or racist tweets. “Come on” is the laziest freaking argument for a fact and logic based blog I’ve ever seen.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If neutral moderation rules are not being evenly applied, then Twitter is acting more like a publisher than a neutral platform and their safe harbor protections should arguably not apply.

  1. There is nothing in CDA 230 that requires one to be "neutral."
  2. Moderation choices cannot, by definition, be "neutral." It is a dumb request.
  3. When moderating at scale, you will also make mistakes at scale. Arguing that mistakes should make you lose your safe harbors is crazytalk.

If he is a noted racist, it should be the easiest thing in the world to briefly make the case and cite some examples of racism or racist tweets.

I should have read your second point before the first and realized you’re one of those idiots. Sorry. Go educate yourself, you ignorant git.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You sound desperate, Mr. Masnick. I think you can see your platform collapsing around you.

As I type this, this story has 240 comments. That doesn’t sound like a collapse in any way shape or form. And, what, pray tell "sounds desperate" about explaining basic facts to someone who is clueless?

Hold on… let me grab some popcorn before you try and fail to explain…

Okay, go ahead…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Two things:

(1) When you have to resort to denigrating those with whom you disagree, it is usually an indicator that you have no argument to put forth. Do you have one? I would suggest that the majority of cogent opinion in these comments is counter to your legitimacy and instead promotes the idea that individual (societal) rights should have preference over corporate rights. Any defense to this?

(2) The fact that you cite the comment count rather than the merit of any argument shows your misplaced priorities. That is typical of your ilk, frantically looking for attention at any cost. The Masnick effect, as you so eloquently put it, that makes debating with you akin of rolling in shit, which you often put in the title of your articles, just for that reason.

The collapse to which I refer is an intellectual and moral collapse, obvious to most readers, and proudly highlighted by your use of profanity, censorship and covertly paid commentators.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 It's fucking terrible!

No, I was not suggesting that Techdirt has enough mass to collapse into a black hole.

I am ever hopeful, however, that the corporate argument that Techdirt puts forward to justify the attempted public shaming of innocent and honorable peoples will be put to an impartial jury. My own prediction is that this will result in the total legal and financial collapse of Techdirt.

Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai,PhD (M.I.T.) Inventor of Email (NMN)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 It's fucking terrible!

Hey Tucker, as long as you’re here, I have a question:

Since Mike has the legal right to do whatever he wants on Techdirt, without restriction, does that mean I do too? For example, can I sign any name I want to with impunity? That would seem fair.

In fact, does every Trump supporter have the right to do whatever they want? For example, in the Manafort trial, can a juror just say to the whole world “Hey, I don’t give jack shit what you think. Trump says this guy is OK, so I will NEVER convict him! It’s my right as an American to support my president, who said he likes this guy. So Shove It Up Your Ass, Mueller! I will never support your Gestapo tactics (show me the man and I will show you the crime) because this is America!

DId you know Trump hired me to quash Amaretto?

Charles Harder, Esq.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 It's fucking terrible!

No Charles, that would be terrible. Mueller and 17 intelligence agencies said that Trump peed in his bed, or his hooker peed, well, somebody peed, this was well documented in official government intelligence briefings that Hillary paid for.

You should act like all the rest of the sheep on this forum and go along with the crowd. That’s the whole point of censorship here, to keep you minions in line. Group Think Uber Alles! That’s my motto. One Opinion For All, The Masnick Opinion! Mike has explained this repeatedly, while he was eating popcorn. He has the answers, and the questions, and the orthodoxy, Amen.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:13 Re:

Famed cognitive psychologist and linguist Noam Chomsky insists that email was invented in 1978 by a precocious 14-year-old.

“The facts are indisputable,” Chomsky wrote, in a statement issued Tuesday. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai invented e-mail in 1978 in New Jersey, as a part of a summer project to digitize an interoffice mail system for a hospital lab, Chomsky asserted.

Chomsky could be on the jury. Right? Right?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:14 Re:

Hmm..from the wikipedia email article:

The history of modern Internet email services reaches back to the early ARPANET, with standards for encoding email messages published as early as 1973 RFC 561.

Also note RFCs were and are widely circulated, they are public documents after all. O.K. they called it mail, or network mail, but being the first to use e-mail in now way sustains the claim of being the Inventor of e-mail as a system

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:14 Re:

Chomsky could be on the jury. Right? Right?

Yeah, no. If you want a trial to actually have a jury the last thing any judge would want is for a juror who introduces influence and bias. Celebrities tend to do that by their mere presence alone.

So not only is Chomsky unlikely to be on the jury, it’s even less likely he’d be allowed to give the influence you hope for so much.

You lose, Hamilton.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:12 Loyalty to party and/or person over law and justice

Are you dim witted? Nobody cares about who is on the stand. We care about what Trump thinks about who is on the stand, because we love him and trust him completely and appreciate everything he has done for us.

Not like Mike Masnick – nobody loves him at all. Not Noam Chomsky, anyway, and he’s very famous and well respected. I would go with Noam against Mike any day.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:13 Loyalty to party and/or person over law and justice

Boy, I hadn’t really considered Mr. Masnick’s situation deeply. If his case with Shiva does ever get to a jury, and Charles Harder Esq. has a chance to position Techdirt and Mr. Masnick as hating Trump, then, well, wow. He’s pretty much cooked, right?

The right wing extremists on the jury (you know there will be some though they will never admit it) will punish him something fierce for his views against Trump. Gee, that’s almost unfair. I’ll bet Charles Harder wouldn’t stoop that low, he will probably just stay with the facts surrounding the MIT graduate and not even mention Techdirt’s public political views. Then again, maybe not, hard to know. Gee. Hmm.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

When you have to resort to denigrating those with whom you disagree

To be clear, I don’t denigrate those I disagree with. I denigrate assholes and idiots. I also tend to disagree with those people. I don’t denigrate non-assholes and non-idiots. But I find it worthwhile to treat assholes and idiots with the level of respect they deserve.

it is usually an indicator that you have no argument to put forth.

No. It’s not. I put forth my argument clearly and discuss it with many people — some who agree and some who don’t. The denigration is just mocking silly people and is an effective way to demonstrate how clueless they are.

I would suggest that the majority of cogent opinion in these comments is counter to your legitimacy and instead promotes the idea that individual (societal) rights should have preference over corporate rights. Any defense to this?

I would suggest that your understanding of "majority" is incorrect. Or perhaps it’s your understanding of "cogent" that is incorrect.

As for the larger idea that societal rights should outweigh corporate rights, that’s a weird framing. It acts as though society and corporations are two unrelated sets, and ignores that corporations are a part of society. Indeed, there is ample evidence that clear corporate rights have clearly benefited society over time. There are, quite obviously, many times when corporations go too far — and thus society reins them back in, which is a fair enough point. But if you are going to convince me that "banning racits" is an example of corporations going too far, I believe you will have significant difficulty convincing the majority of the public that this is the proper use of such exceptional powers.

The fact that you cite the comment count rather than the merit of any argument shows your misplaced priorities. That is typical of your ilk, frantically looking for attention at any cost

I have noted before many times, of course, that comment count is not indicative of overall levels of interest. But one thing it IS indicative of — and the only reason I used it here — was to debunk your silly claim that this website is somehow collapsing.

The collapse to which I refer is an intellectual and moral collapse, obvious to most readers, and proudly highlighted by your use of profanity, censorship and covertly paid commentators.

Ah, I see. The intellectual and moral collapse. Well, you’re entitled to your own opinions. But just the fact that you then follow this statement up with fantastical made up claims of "covertly paid commentators" suggests to me that you haven’t even the slightest fucking clue.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

The other obvious sign of collapse, of course, is your personal reply. That’s not like you at all, Mike. Usually you would use your covertly paid commentators to defend you, or your fellow leftist fanaticals, hurling epthetits and coordinating your typical Techdirt attack when legitimate issues are raised: impune the writer, demand citations, focus on a phrase and not the argument, resort to profanity and disgusting sexual images, and censor.

Tell us, Mike, do you and your group of fanatical “insiders” get together behind the scenes to coordinate these responses? Do you discuss exactly when is the right moment to introduce the shit in various forms and when to pivot to sex dolls?

Tell us the truth, Mike, since you are here in person (for once) and not hiding behind your pitiful minions, do you keep records of these secret behind the scenes strategies at Techdirt? Do you guys wear special clothes and all video chat together? Do you have oaths and mottos and rituals? Inquiring minds want to know. Go ahead and deny that you coordinate with the other “Insiders” to defend your ridiculous positions. For the record.