Grandstanding GOP Senators Continue To Mislead About Social Media Bias, Demand A 'Fairness Doctrine' For The Internet

from the stop-it dept

We’ve talked for a while about the sheer silliness of (mainly) Republican politicians whining about supposed “anti-conservative bias” on social media platforms. As we’ve pointed out, the actual evidence hasn’t shown any evidence of bias. The random anecdotal examples of badly moderated content have mostly just shown how difficult it is to do content moderation at scale. The “bad” moderation decisions impact lots of folks across the political spectrum — it’s just that some grandstanding Republicans like to engage in confirmation bias (the only actual bias that seems to be occurring here) to suggest the moderation mistakes are politically motivated. We’ve pointed out multiple times now that crying wolf on this issue is not a good look for conservatives — on multiple levels.

Beyond the fact that the evidence seems to disprove the claims of bias (oh, and yet another study has shown no evidence of bias), for years these very same Republicans kept attacking the idea of the “fairness doctrine,” which was an FCC rule in place for a few decades, demanding “equal representation” of political views on the public airwaves. It hasn’t been in place for a while, but for a few years, this same group of Republicans grandstanded about false claims that Democrats were trying to bring it back. And yet, what they seem to be demanding now is the return of the fairness doctrine, but in an even more ridiculous way. Rather than on the public airwaves — where at the very least there was some legitimate claim to the government being able to set some conditions — these Senators now seem to want to force private companies to run businesses the way they want them to. What a bunch of hypocrites.

And the largest of the hypocrites is Senator Ted Cruz, who has continued to repeat this myth, holding multiple hearings on the topic, including a new one yesterday, with representatives from Facebook and Twitter in attendance. Someone from Google was supposed to be there but (get this), Ted Cruz rejected the Google witness, likely after discovering that Google was sending a former Ted Cruz staffer, who would have done a nice job debunking his former boss’s nonsense. Kinda ironic, in a hearing on platforms supposedly blocking conservatives from speaking, the Senate itself decided to block a conservative from speaking.

Most of the hearing went pretty much as planned, with the usual nonsense. Cruz, once again, misrepresented the nature of Section 230 of the CDA and also made noises about changing it. He also threatened other attacks on social media companies, including antitrust. The big “gotcha” moment that some in the press have picked up on was particularly dumb. Cruz rolled out an anti-abortion quote from Mother Theresa that had been used in an ad on Twitter that was apparently blocked, and demanded that Twitter and Facebook execs answer “is this hate speech?”.

That, of course, misses the point massively. As Twitter’s representative on the panel, Carlos Monje Jr. noted, the tweet was caught in an automated system review, but that the advertiser behind it remains as an advertiser in good standing on the platform — and he also noted that advertisements on both sides of the abortion debate had been blocked at times on Twitter, which makes total sense, given the strong emotions and controversy felt around that issue. But the bigger point is trotting out a single example is nonsense. It’s grandstanding. As we’ve discussed time and time again, content moderation is an arena of massive gray space, rather than black and white. There are tons of judgment calls, and much of it depends on what it is the platform is actually trying to accomplish. Some platforms don’t want controversial content. Some platforms don’t want “hate” speech. But what falls into those categories is an open question and in a free market system (the kind Republicans used to claim they supported), we let the companies decide for themselves.

Thankfully, a bunch of conservative/Republican groups and commentators spoke out against Cruz’s nonsense as well. The group Americans for Prosperity put out a statement calling out Cruz’s nonsense:

… asking the government to police online speech ? either through direct action or by cajoling private firms ? sets a dangerous precedent that will undermine essential elements of free speech. Government regulation of digital speech won?t protect free speech. It will only increase the likelihood of government censorship.

?Tech companies have the freedom to run their businesses as they see fit, including setting standards for what user content they do and do not want to host, and Americans have the right to speak through alternative platforms or share their opinions elsewhere.

?Today?s largest tech platforms may have the means to manage the legal risk of administering an online speech code but smaller startups do not, so regulation intended to curtail the influence of large tech companies would only cement it.?

TechFreedom’s Berin Szoka didn’t mince words either:

?Mind-bogglingly, it?s conservatives who are now leading the charge to resurrect the Fairness Doctrine,? continued Sz?ka. ?Conservatives spent nearly 80 years crusading against government meddling in media. Yet now, they?re trying to subject website operators to essentially the same, hopelessly arbitrary standard of ?neutrality? they long opposed. They?ve twisted themselves into ideological pretzels by convincing themselves that Section 230 is some kind of special subsidy to ?Big Tech? and that the law has always required neutrality. Both claims are patently false. All websites that host user content need clear legal protections against broad liability for user content. Without such protections, the fear of being sued will shut down the smallest sites ? and, ironically, protect Big Tech from competition. But even the biggest sites will do less of the kind of content moderation that makes online communities and services usable. In the end, how they run their services will become subject to political pressure. Sadly, it already is, which seems to be the purpose of conservative fear-mongering on this issue.?

?The anecdotal examples of anti-conservative bias in content moderation just don?t hold up,? concluded Sz?ka. ?Cruz, Graham and other leading Republicans have repeatedly cited bogus examples of conservatives being ?censored.? Most exemplary is the brazenly false claim that now Sen. Marsha Blackburn was censored for her pro-life views. In fact, her Senate campaign launch video centered on the defamatory claim that Planned Parenthood was selling baby body parts. Neither this video nor her account were taken down by the major platforms; instead, they simply declined to allow her to pay to promote the video because it violated their terms of service. This isn?t censorship; it?s just ad companies preventing the abuse of their advertising systems. Sadly, the companies involved haven?t had the courage to debunk these claims clearly because of the vast political pressure wielded against them by lawmakers bent on partisan revenge. Their timidity should remind us all that the First Amendment bars bullying media companies just as much as explicit censorship.?

Indeed, during the hearing, Marsha Blackburn brought up the bogus ad controversy, saying: ?Should Twitter allow ads that denounce Planned Parenthood for selling baby body parts?? That’s a ridiculous question for a sitting Senator to ask. No one in Congress should be determining what ads are allowed or not allowed on any platform. And, again, Twitter did allow Blackburn’s video. It just said such an ad violated its policies (which it did, because it was nonsense).

Others have raised this point in the past as well. The Cato Institute last year questioned why Ted Cruz — a supposed conservative free marketer — seems so against property rights when it comes to the property rights of internet companies. It’s almost as if he’s a total hypocrite who believes in government intervention against companies he dislikes, but insists on no government intervention when it’s companies he does like. Remember, this is the same Ted Cruz who falsely attacked “net neutrality” as a government takeover of the internet.

And now he’s whining that the government needs to force neutrality on the internet.

How can anyone possibly take him seriously?

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Comments on “Grandstanding GOP Senators Continue To Mislead About Social Media Bias, Demand A 'Fairness Doctrine' For The Internet”

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114 Comments
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Conservatives spent nearly 80 years crusading against government meddling in media. Yet now, they’re trying to subject website operators to essentially the same, hopelessly arbitrary standard of “neutrality” they long opposed.

Cheering them on from the sidelines are 9/11 truthers, the birther movement, Flat Earthers, sovereign citizens, plague protectionists (a.k.a. anti-vaxxers), and Alex Jones.

TDR says:

Re: Re:

To be fair about 9/11, the official government report is indeed full of inconsistencies and misrepresentations. AE911Truth is not aligned with other so-called truthers in that it’s made up of literally thousands of actual architects and engineers, the people who actually design, build, and know all there is to know about skyscrapers and other such buildings.

There are a lot of things that can’t just be brushed aside. For instance, did you know that all of the companies that were leasing space in the towers at the time had connections either to the Bush administration or to technology such as nano-thermite which was capable of bringing down the towers? Also, earlier that year, both buildings got new fireproofing, but what’s curious is that it was applied in the exact places in both buildings where the planes would later hit. There’s a lot more if you do some digging.

https://www.ae911truth.org/

I’m not familiar with the birther movement, though, so I can’t comment on that. As far as vaccines go, It’s been observed from multiple studies that Amish, who don’t use them, tend to have lower rates of infection and disease than non-Amish, who generally do, but I don’t know enough about that issue to draw any firm conclusions about it.

I try not to disregard anything out of hand that might have any possibility of even a part of it being true, and to me a single faulty study isn’t reason enough to demonize and ostracize an entire movement, especially since there are many others independently researching the issue and not trying to fudge the results as they do so, unlike the original researcher so often derided. But again, I don’t know enough about it to say for certain how much merit it may or may not have, so I won’t.

Looking down on anyone and thinking you’re better than them makes you no better than how you see them, and that hate and mistreatment will eventually turn back on you sooner or later. You might want to think about what you would want were the situation reversed and you were the one whose beliefs and position were being ridiculed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: At least it’s not midichlorians

“For instance, did you know that all of the companies that were leasing space in the towers at the time had connections either to the Bush administration or to technology such as nano-thermite which was capable of bringing down the towers? ”

To be fair about 9/11 truthers. You guys are better fiction writers than most of what passes for actual sci-fi. Do you think you could get a Star Wars novel losence from Disney?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I have a friend who introduced me to this truth back after it happened. Shared a lot of videos and evidence showing what really happened. We spent months pouring over the data and looking at every angle we could find. The amount of stuff we wrote about it could probably be a thesis.

In the end I could find no evidence whatsoever that fit the narrative that it was an inside, government job. The logic, statistics, and physics just didn’t allow for it.

For instance, statistically speaking, it would have been impossible for there not to have been someone leaking this or blowing the whistle on it given the sheer number of people who would have had to have been involved. Almost 20 years later, there is no way someone would not have come forward with incontrovertible proof it was a government setup.

I keep an open mind but I’ve yet to find any evidence that it was not exactly what it appeared to be, a horrible terrorist attack by an extremist group.
Occam’s Razor applies.

As far as vaccines go, It’s been observed from multiple studies that Amish, who don’t use them, tend to have lower rates of infection and disease than non-Amish, who generally do

And you have sources that have done studies that we can look at to verify this? It is an un-disputable fact that vaccines prevent the spread of disease. You only have to look at the current measles outbreak, a disease which was almost eradicated in the US but is now on the rise again, to prove that. Who is getting measles? Only the unvaccinated. Where are the outbreaks? In communities with high rates of unvaccinated people.

There is no truth to any of these stories. I’m not looking down on you but I do want to challenge you to take another look at the information on both sides.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"As far as vaccines go, It’s been observed from multiple studies that Amish, who don’t use them, tend to have lower rates of infection and disease than non-Amish, who generally do, but I don’t know enough about that issue to draw any firm conclusions about it."

From a biologists point of view I could have told you that would be the result, vaccines or no vaccines.

Amish generally live in closed communities with limited contact to outside infection vectors.
Anyone living in a modern city, otoh, spends extensive time in incubators with great exposure to outside infection vectors. Public transportation alone means any infection spreads across hundreds of thousands of individuals from one end of the city to another in days.

So basically it boils down to the non-amish being consistently exposed to EVERY pathogen on the continent. Or multiple continents, if they live close to an airport or port.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It most certainly is prejudice to assume how five different groups of people, who each have one single belief to differentiate, all feel on a sixth matter

It isn’t like LGBT where they all feel the same on all other issues is it? At least I haven’t heard that all five groups have organized under one umbrella to make themselves louder, have you?

"preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience"

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

It most certainly is prejudice to assume how five different groups of people, who each have one single belief to differentiate, all feel on a sixth matter

Call it prejudice if you want, but I call it sound reasoning. 9/11 truthers, birthers, Flat Earthers, sovereign citizens, plague protectionists, and Alex Jones would all benefit from legal enforcement of “neutrality” on platforms such as Twitter. “But why?” you might ask. Simple: If platforms are required by law to be “view from nowhere” neutral on what people say on those platforms, the misinformation and propaganda from those five groups and one asshole I mentioned before will all receive a boost in credibility. If what they say is not against the law and is just “one side” of an issue, after all, the “side” they each represent could not be prevented from spreading their speech on that platform — no matter how much it might end up causing real harm in the world (e.g., the rise in measles outbreaks around the U.S.; the parents of Sandy Hook victims being harassed and threatened into hiding). If my being prejudiced against those assholes makes me a bad person, say hello to the Bad Guy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

How does that relate to them cheering this on from the sidelines? Or prejudice for that matter, other than the fact that you assume what their actions are on this matter

Our good buddy TAC is gay, do you and he see eye to eye on everything? Can I lump what he says in with what you say? Do you speak for him? Since you both are gay you obviously have the same beliefs about everything, right?

FYI I don’t believe you are that similar just because of one belief you both have. For example, I would invite TAC into my home as a welcomed guest where as you, no, I wouldn’t, you are a condescending hypocrite

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

How does that relate to them cheering this on from the sidelines?

Because a “fairness doctrine” of any kind for social media would give those parties equal footing with the other “side” of their given issues. People who spread misinformation would probably love to have their credibility given an implicit boost by way of not having their bullshit deleted/banned from social media platforms.

If Twitter were forced by law to treat Alex Jones with the same “view from nowhere” moderation tactics as a reporter with the New York Times, Jones could continue spewing his bile about Sandy Hook on Twitter without anyone getting in his way. “Fairness” would dictate that Jones’s opinions be treated the same as everyone else’s, no matter how much harm his expressing those opinions may cause, because they technically qualify as “one side of the story”. The same theory would apply in equal measure to 9/11 truthers, birthers, Flat Earthers, sovereign citizens, and plague protectionists — hence my naming those groups in the original comment of this discussion thread.

“Fairness”, in this context, is about giving “both sides of the story” equal weight even when one of those “sides” is obviously bullshit. If you have a problem with me referring to the misinformed and ignorant beliefs of those groups of people I noted above as misinformed and ignorant, that is your problem, not mine. I am under no obligation to treat their beliefs with “fairness” or give them implicit credibility with “view from nowhere” discussion. I am a simple man: I see bullshit, I call it for what it is¹.

¹ — To wit: The rest of your comment is such obvious bait that I will not dignify it with a response.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You sure do have a lot of prejudices.

Everyone has prejudices. Humanity is funny like that.

Not going to throw religious beliefs in as well?

We could start with the ones that people use to justify marginalizing and physically attacking LGBT people, if you would like.

(A specific religious belief in and of itself is inert. The things people do based on those beliefs, however, are worth caring about.)

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

They're just jealous...

…of all the things they are getting away with in the EU right now and are feeling their way into having a comparable relationship with their constituents. Finding new ways to degrade the Constitution is like a sport to them. They keep competing on stupid rather than sly, but don’t care too much as either seems to be working.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"Can we please stop calling them "conservatives?" They’re not conserving anything, they abandoned traditional values a long time ago and they’re only interested in money and power."

I’ll second that. I consider myself a liberal conservative by which i understand that before making sweeping changes to law thee should be some evaluation on how it will impact core values such as Freedom of Speech, democracy, human rights in general, etc.

There’s nothing "conservative" about wanting to roll the world back to 1960 the way so many legislators are currently trying to do.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Uhh, no

Oh, I clearly have a point because I’m not an anonymous coward. Therefore I actually matter.

That’s… not how that actually works. If TD’s resident trolls decided to make accounts and post under them that act would not make their comments matter or be respectable any more than they already are. The only thing that matters is the content, not the name it’s posted under or whether or not it’s done by someone with an account.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’m not an anonymous coward. Therefore I actually matter.

That’s a bit elitist and bigoted of you. Since you vote anonymously, does that mean you don’t matter either?

I’m sorry you don’t like what I have to say but saying I don’t matter because I refuse to register a user account is illogical and, as I said, elitist and bigoted.

Part of the reason I don’t register a username is because of people like you and your exact statement. You could say I’m proving a point.

I’m also not quoting a biased lobby firm that works for rich democrats that’s pretending to be a news outlet

That doesn’t make them wrong. If they said the sky was blue would you say they were wrong just out of spite?

so I’m better.

No, actually, you’re worse.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Try being someone. The anonymous don’t matter.

Logical fallacy. Being anonymous is not the same as being no one and not mattering. I just don’t care to create an account. Again, does your vote not matter since you vote anonymously?

Hope this helps, coward.

It doesn’t because it’s stupid. And the only coward here is you.

Fun Fact: The origin of the Anonymous Coward account is Slashdot.

Cool. Relevance?

Zof (profile) says:

Media Matters is a lobby firm pretending to be a media outlet. You can’t take any website seriously that pretends they matter. They really should change their name.

It is absolutely impossible to take any author serious that doesn’t understand that Media Matters is biased trash. I won’t be reading this author anymore since I know he’s clueless.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

There is exactly zero evidence of unfair conservative censorship bias on social media platforms. If you point to a conservative who was banned, I can point to a liberal who was banned. The idea that this is even a thing is ludicrous beyond belief.

Just because Media Matters may or may not be a lobby firm masquerading as a media outlet, doesn’t automatically make them wrong on whatever they say. And certainly not in this case where there is no evidence that this is happening.

You are completely within your rights to leave. And it really sounds like this is not the site for you. Thanks for checking it out anyway though. I wish you luck finding a site that agrees with your particular world view.

Zof (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Oh stop it. Of course there’s proof of bias. "Learn to code" proved that. A bunch of childish little journalists got mad because their own line got thrown back in their childish little faces when 2000 of them got fired for not mattering anymore. Because America does not care about buzzfeed social nonsense. That’s right. Those folks would have jobs if nutter conspiracy fantasyland and magic corruption russians had actually existed.

But the fantasy ended. Now Media Matters, a fake news outlet, is being quoted in a story that’s trying to pretend it’s real, and you in the depths of your ignorance are trying to justify believing a fake lobby firm because of your personal bias

Everybody sees it. Just like this poorly written story, you aren’t fooling anyone intelligent. Just the NPC’s.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Of course there’s proof of bias. "Learn to code" proved that.

“Trebuchet TERFs” proved that Twitter will suspend/ban people who identify as politically left-leaning. Your supposed “proof of bias” is bullshit.

Also, you might to ask yourself what kinds of views are being expressed by the people identifying as conservatives/Republicans/right-wingers who end up on the business end of a suspension or ban. I mean, when was the last time you heard of any such person being suspended for saying “we need a smaller federal government”?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Ahh…I see you refuse to argue in good faith.

Go on, run back to 4chan and tell all of your buddies how awesome and manly you are for defeating the old nerds at Techdirt. Raise a glass of soda and cheer yourself for being the most alpha man out there.

Here i’ll get you started:
[deapan]: You are awesome. woo. wooo. You have defeated us on the battlefield of mental combat. woo.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Sorry Felecia. You seem to have acting like a child and treating you like a child because you are acting like one badly confused. Grow up and stop stealing talking points from MRA forums and you might be worth treating like an adult. Until then we will continue to treat you like the delusional RWNA that you act like.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Folks can see the bias just going to Google News with no account. Go there in an incognito window.

I did. First story covered by Fox News. They must be biased towards conservatives then.

By default the most powerful internet company on Earth only hands you the biased left version of the news.

Um, no it doesn’t. Fox News was plastered all over it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Because America does not care about buzzfeed social nonsense. That’s right. Those folks would have jobs if nutter conspiracy fantasyland and magic corruption russians had actually existed.

That is not why there have been massive online media layoffs in recent years. Buzzfeed, like a large number of media organizations that have not gone to a subscription model, have had a rough time because of falling digital ad revenue, the incredibly wrong push to video movement, social media, and the overall dilution of content across the web.

But you continue to live in fantasyland and pretend it was because of their content.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Oh stop it. Of course there’s proof of bias.

Then provide it. You haven’t yet.

"Learn to code" proved that

Never heard of it. Got links to the story? I googled it and could only find it on non-reputable sources, but it appears it was a targeted harassment campaign which is against Twitter’s TOS. How does that prove anything?

2000 of them got fired for not mattering anymore

That’s literally not what happened.

Because America does not care about buzzfeed social nonsense.

The sheer amount of people who hang on celebrities’ every word would like to disagree with you. Not that I think that’s a good thing, it just proves you’re wrong.

Those folks would have jobs if nutter conspiracy fantasyland and magic corruption russians had actually existed.

So conspiracies and corruption are good things now? Wow. How divorced from reality are you? And I thought you just said nobody cares about that stuff?

But the fantasy ended.

So 2,000 workers, not solely journalists, lost their jobs at one company due to the whims of that company. How many other journalists out there still have their jobs? I bet you it’s a lot more than 2,000.

Now Media Matters, a fake news outlet

Prove it. Show me facts that completely disprove anything they have said.

is being quoted in a story that’s trying to pretend it’s real

Do you have facts and data to prove it’s not real? Anecdotes don’t count. I can come up with lots of anecdotes of liberals being unfairly censored.

in the depths of your ignorance are trying to justify believing a fake lobby firm because of your personal bias

That’s some mega projection going on there. I looked at the facts. Those facts tell me there is no conspiracy to censor conservatives on social media. You have yet to provide facts proving that conspiracy to be true. If you can, I’ll change my beliefs. But they have to be hard, incontrovertible facts. Not "well this one guy got booted for disobeying the rules".

Everybody sees it.

Who is this everybody? And if everybody does, why isn’t EVERYBODY complaining about it?

Just like this poorly written story, you aren’t fooling anyone intelligent.

Well, that would be because I’m not trying to fool anyone. I’m stating the facts as they exist. And you are not intelligent.

Just the NPC’s.

Oh, what a burn! How will I ever recover from someone insulting me by completely de-humanizing the entire rest of the world’s population?

Anonymous Coward says:

Why are we even arguing about whether Media Matters is an unbiased research institution or a partisan political organization?

Even the company’s mission statement admits bias.

"Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media."

https://www.mediamatters.org/about

Anonymous Coward says:

There is a definite liberal BIAS in social media, but is there CENSORSHIP of conservatives? Not directly. What we do have is liberals weaponizing the user rules and reporting more efficiently, with moderators being a bit more sensitive to their concerns due to hashtags with liberal slants.

Internet censorship is virtually impossible. The internet was built to route around it, as they say.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

What we do have is liberals weaponizing the user rules and reporting more efficiently

If anything, that weaponizing is coming from the other way around just as equally. The people who I know of that were dinged on Twitter for posting “trebuchet TERFs” received their suspensions/bans thanks mainly to reportbombing from TERFs and other conservatives.

But as I posited to another commenter on this page: You may want to ask yourself what specific views and opinions expressed by people who identify as conservative/Republican/right-wing in their politics are getting them suspended or banned. If those views are in line with rhetoric from, say, the Westboro Baptist Church, maaaaaaaaaaaaybe that has more to do with the moderation than their generalized political affiliation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Their viewpoints should be irrelevant if one is talking free speech. In fact, the most offensive views need the greatest protection.

There are many liberal presumptions baked into supposedly neutral political terms. If their views are abhorrent, let them die on the open market, said our founding fathers.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Their viewpoints should be irrelevant if one is talking free speech. In fact, the most offensive views need the greatest protection.

From the government, sure, but when it comes to privately owned platforms not run by the government ‘protection’ runs right into property and association rights in not being forced to host speech they object to.

If their views are abhorrent, let them die on the open market, said our founding fathers.

They are. They’re making public their ideas, and the platforms they are doing so are telling them, ‘yeah, not on our platform’. They can of course make their own platforms to compete, and if their ideas and the platforms they host them on are superior they should have no problem winning the war of ideologies.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

the most offensive views need the greatest protection

The government does not (and should not) have a right to tell a homophobe that they cannot say anything homophobic. A privately-owned platform, on the other hand, has the right to tell that homophobe that they can either stop the homophobic speech or stop using the service. The principles of free speech will always run afoul of the paradox of intolerance — and I would not mind seeing one hundred homophobes banned from Twitter if it means one gay person can speak a little louder without the fear of harassment stopping them.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If their views are abhorrent, let them die on the open market, said our founding fathers.

The "marketplace of ideas" quote is from Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1919. And, for the record, it was in a dissenting opinion — his view did not represent the majority of the Supreme Court at the time.

The First Amendment view you’re describing is rather a lot newer than the Founding Fathers, many of whom were responsible for passing the Alien and Sedition Acts, which would certainly not pass constitutional muster today.

Related:

Area Man Passionate Defender Of What He Imagines Constitution To Be

and the usual xkcd.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Turnabout is fair play

"Tell you what, we’ll make it so the internet platforms must allow you to use their platforms if people you don’t agree to get to use yours. Twenty to thirty minutes of every hour of your broadcast must be allocated for someone who disagrees with you, thinks you’re wrong, and/or holds views you personally consider to be terrible/abhorrent, and you have no ability to refuse to host them.

Still want to force Facebook and the likes to host your stuff if you have to do the same?"

Anonymous Coward says:

Where I come from we call it prejudice and censorship. Never visited infowars until it was banned, now have it bookmarked and visit daily. I block twitter and facebook on my machines. Google is also complicit with the mainland Chinese government in suppressing the people. Yahoo was turning in dissidents as well. All for the love of a worthless dollar. Censorship is wrong even, if it is liberals doing it. The first ten amendments to the Constitution are first for a reason. Our Republic will survive to big to fail.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

Never visited infowars until it was banned

You…you do know that InfoWars and Alex Jones were banned from social media primarily because of Jones’s Sandy Hook “trutherism”, which is the primary cause of several parents of Sandy Hook victims being harassed and threatened into hiding, right? Also InfoWars/Jones only received bans from those social media services; the site itself was never “banned” from existing on its own.

But hey, if you wanna listen to a man with serious mental health issues rant about gay frogs and the Sandy Hook massacre being a false flag operation between readings of right-wing propaganda, that is your call.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Where I come from we call it prejudice and censorship.

That’s fine, you can go back there if you like it so much.

Never visited infowars until it was banned, now have it bookmarked and visit daily.

I’m so sorry for you. I have help numbers you can call.

I block twitter and facebook on my machines.

Cool story bro.

Google is also complicit with the mainland Chinese government in suppressing the people.

How? They haven’t implemented their Chinese version search engine yet.

Yahoo was turning in dissidents as well.

What? When? Got links to the story?

All for the love of a worthless dollar.

Not denying they’re greedy but that’s common knowledge.

Censorship is wrong even, if it is liberals doing it.

Where is this censorship you speak of that happened and was perpetrated by liberals?

The first ten amendments to the Constitution are first for a reason.

Yes they are. And only one of them mildly applies here.

Our Republic will survive to big to fail.

Who is too big to fail?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Companies such as Facebook control access to their websites/services; ISPs control access to the Internet itself. ISPs should face more regulations than social media platforms, especially given how the Internet has essentially become a public utility and the use of platforms such as Facebook is not a required part of using the Internet.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

So

Cool otherwording, bro.

it’s ok to have senators regulate those private businesses because you’d like them to.

No, it would be “okay” to regulate ISPs because they offer a public utility (if not in name, then in spirit) and should face stricter regulations for doing so. Facebook, Twitter, etc. are not public utilities because using the Internet does not require you to use those services.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Net Neutrality

Nice otherwording. Want to try actually reading what I said?

Electric, water, and gas companies are private companies too, but we regulate them more strictly because they are natural monopolies and provide essential services. ISPs fall into the same category as it is required for many people to work, apply for jobs, do and submit homework, manage finances, manage health, etc… Social media is not an essential service and can be done without in most circumstances.

Do you get the difference now?

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