Why Is The Washington Post Publishing Blatantly False Propaganda About Section 230?

from the the-view-from-nowhere dept

One of the big points we keep making about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is that we totally get it when grandstanding politicians or online trolls misrepresent the law. But the media should not be complicit in pumping blatantly false statements. While I may disagree with them personally, there are intellectually honest arguments for why Section 230 should be amended or changed. I’m happy to debate those arguments. What’s ridiculous, however, is when the arguments are based on a completely false reading of the law. And no upstanding news organization should allow blatant misinformation like that. However, with all the misguided screaming about “liberal bias” in the media, newspapers like the Washington Post and the NY Times seem to feel like they need to publish blatant disinformation, to avoid having trolls and idiots accuse them of bias.

Even so, the Washington Post’s decision to publish this op-ed by Charlie Kirk attacking Section 230 may be the worst we’ve seen. It is so full of factually false information, misleading spin, and just downright disinformation that no respectable publication should have allowed it to be published. And yet, there it is in the Washington Post — one of the major news organizations that Donald Trump likes to declare “fake news.” If you’re unaware of Kirk, he’s a vocal Trump supporter, who runs an organization called Turning Point USA that appears to specialize in playing the victim in all sorts of ridiculous conspiracies… all while (hypocritically) arguing that his political opponents (“the libs”) are always acting as victims and are “training a generation of victims who are being trained to be offended by something.” And yet, it seems that it’s really Kirk who is always offended.

This Washington Post op-ed is just one example. Here, Kirk is playing the victim of (as of yet, still unproven) anti-conservative bias on social media.

By now, most conservatives are convinced that our voices are being shadow-banned, throttled, muted and outright censored online. In fact, amid protestations by groups including the Internet Association, which claims Facebook, Google and Twitter are bias free, it?s an open fact that Big Tech is run predominantly by those on the ideological left. Facebook?s founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter?s chief executive Jack Dorsey even admitted this before Congress, and footage of Google?s leadership consoling one another after President Trump?s victory in 2016 indicates the same is true for them.

Many on the right have complained loudly and often of anti-conservative bias online. Unfortunately, all too often this is where our efforts stop. Once we?re ignored or dismissed long enough, conservatives seem to just shrug our collective shoulders and accept defeat. It?s this type of passivity that has allowed progressives to dominate film and television, universities and large swaths of the mainstream news media. How did they accomplish that? By fighting tooth and nail for what they believe in every vertical.

While it is true that many people who work in the big internet companies probably lean towards the Democratic side of the aisle (though not nearly as far as some make it out to be), that’s different than proving that they have put in place policies that are biased against “conservatives” (and I use that term loosely). Again, nearly every example that people trot out actually involves trolling, harassment, actual Nazis or other violations of terms of service. And while these companies sometimes make mistakes, they seem to do so pretty much across the board — which is the very nature of moderating so much content.

Separately, many of the links in Kirk’s opening above don’t actually say what he pretends they say. Professor Matthew Boedy went through the above links and put together a great Twitter thread unpacking how he misrespresents nearly everything:

The thread is a lot longer and covers many more examples. Either way, Charlie needs to play the victim, and he’s decided that the culprit is Section 230. Because he either doesn’t understand Section 230, or is deliberately misrepresenting it.

The second obstacle to the free market is Big Tech?s exploitation of preexisting laws, namely Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act that was passed by Congress in the ’90s. Social media companies have leveraged Section 230 to great effect, and astounding profits, by claiming they are platforms ? not publishers ? thereby avoiding under the law billions of dollars in potential copyright infringement and libel lawsuits. YouTube, for example, advertises itself as an open platform ?committed to fostering a community where everyone?s voice can be heard.? Facebook and Twitter make similar claims. Let?s be clear, when these companies censor or suppress conservative content, they are behaving as publishers, and they should be held legally responsible for the all the content they publish. If they want to continue hiding behind Section 230 and avoid legal and financial calamity, they must reform.

And here’s where an editor totally should have stepped in, because almost all of this is wrong or gibberish. First off, even a cursory glance at the text of CDA 230 shows that it excludes intellectual property, such as copyright. Section (e)(2) literally says: “Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit or expand any law pertaining to intellectual property.” So what the fuck is Kirk talking about when he says that they used this law to avoid “billions of dollars in potential copyright infringement… lawsuits.” The answer is that Kirk has no idea what he’s talking about, and now seems to be repeating propaganda pushed out by “liberal” Hollywood.

As for it allowing them to avoid “libel lawsuits,” well, yes. But that’s because Section 230 is about properly applying liability to those who make the statements. We don’t blame AT&T when someone uses a phone to make a bomb threat. We don’t blame Ford when someone gets into a car accident. And we don’t blame Facebook when someone posts defamatory content. It’s kind of straightforward.

Still, where it’s really egregious is that Kirk continues to push the total myth that Section 230 allows companies to hide if they just claim they’re a “platform” rather than “a publisher.” That’s not how the law works at all. It doesn’t make any such distinction.

And here’s the really crazy thing: if Kirk got his “wish” and actually got rid of CDA 230 and made internet companies liable, his own content would likely be at the top of the chopping block. Remember, one of Kirk’s claims to fame was when he published a “Professor Watchlist” calling out allegedly “left-leaning academics” who he feels discriminate against conservatives. He can do that because that’s 1st Amendment protected speech (opinion). But if 230 is amended to require “neutrality,” well, such a list is anything but neutral. Furthermore, the risk of liability of hosting such a list would be high. Even though I’d argue that it’s protected speech, you can bet that someone might find some of the claims on the list defamatory — and thus there would be strong pressure for sites to pull it down to avoid liability.

As radio host Dennis Prager often says, if an airline permitted only those passengers holding the New York Times to board but then denied Wall Street Journal readers, we would all rightly call this discrimination and demand the airline change its policy.

This is dumb for a huge number of reasons. First of all, I don’t think we’d all rightly call it discrimination. We’d call it a business decision. Probably a bad one. Which is why no airline would ever do such a thing. Second, where exactly is the social media platform that is banning people for subscribing to the WSJ, but not the NYT? It doesn’t exist. This is such a hyperbolic, misleading example. People are being banned for harassment and trolling. Not for holding conservative viewpoints. No one’s being kicked off of platforms for calling for lower taxes, less government, or other traditionally “conservative” ideas.

In the same way, conservatives cannot win the battle of ideas if we?re marginalized or removed from mainstream culture and mainstream platforms.

This, also, is laughable. Remember, “right wing” media dominates both radio and cable television. I don’t see Kirk demanding that Fox News host more liberal viewpoints to balance out Hannity. And, once again, even in the supposedly “liberal” Washington Post, he’s allowed to post this blatantly false nonsense.

Again, the Washington Post should absolutely be willing to post different points of view, including those of Kirk and his allies. But they shouldn’t allow him to blatantly spread disinformation about what the law says and what it does. That’s just… as Kirk would say, “fake news.”

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Comments on “Why Is The Washington Post Publishing Blatantly False Propaganda About Section 230?”

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176 Comments
Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Taking a generation

It took a generation after Hearst and Pulitzer to get past the notion that the news could be something other than tabloid journalism. So yeah.

The thing is, the instant access to curated news that is provided by the internet comes with the risk of being fed propaganda that the reader wants to hear or believe. Newsreading should be interpreted as a hygienic process of searching for multiple interpretations of the same story to extract the known facts from the interpretations. (X said Y in Z firefight to open mic T down at Q station), and from there, we each make our own opinion, rather than accepting what someone else tells us to think.

Joining a cult is easy. Thinking for ourselves takes practice.

NON-Corporate-Funded Public Interest Technologist says:

YOUR view is 230 empowers corporations over First Amendment.

THAT’S the argument, sonny. You always twist and elide to show only the good side of The Public benefitting (from our own laws!) without ever mentioning that you wish to empower corporations: Section 230 has an explicit UN-Constitutional clause which you claim gives corporations arbitrary power to suppress even The Public’s constitutionally acceptable speech.

YOU are just flat lying that you’re for The Public. You are for the corporations controlling ALL speech on platforms.

Now, yes, they’re private corporations, but the only power that have in the area is government-conferred — which makes it verge on actual government censorship, and corporations are ready to LEAP over that verge.

Otherwise they’d be as print publishers, subject to traditional rules. You / they keep claiming immunity AND to retain FULL editorial control. That’s not right by the bulk of American law and principles, which you ALWAYS omit, simply pretend Section 230 is the whole law.

Section 230 is a deal in which corporations are to be shielded for hosting, NOT outright grant of total immunity and power to censor. It cannot be as that’s repugnant to the Constitution, in direct conflict by 230’s very words.

By short logical extension of YOUR corporatist notions, ISPs don’t have to be neutral carriers, either, but through "association" and the "private company" notions, can control ALL access, snoop on opinions and suppress those that don’t like. I’m sure you’d agree that’s simply not right with ISPs, but you still do want "platforms" to have that power!

Platforms are to be neutral hosts, "electronic printers" rather than editors and publishers.

Section 230 is made to give The Public EASY to use outlets, NOT to empower corporations to control The Public’s speech.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: YOUR view is 230 empowers corporations over First Amendment.

Section 230 has an explicit UN-Constitutional clause which you claim gives corporations arbitrary power to suppress even The Public’s constitutionally acceptable speech.

Cite the law that says any corporation has to publish any constitutionally protected speech submitted to them.

All freedom of speech guarantees is that you can publish your speech at your own expense. As that is not difficult on the Internet, as services offering free blogging accounts exist. What is more difficult is attracting an audience. If you cannot be bothered to set up your own blog, or fail to attract an audience, that is your problem, and forcing other to publish your speech because that is where the audience is is not a desirable solution, especially if the result is likely to be one of driving an audience away from a platform because of abusive speech and behaviour.

NON-Corporate-Funded Public Interest Technologist says:

Re: Re: YOUR view is 230 empowers corporations over First Amendm

Cite the law that says any corporation has to publish any constitutionally protected speech submitted to them.

Corporations are NOT the publishers of what’s on "platforms". That’s what 230 frees them from, more or less rightly (they still must monitor for illegal content).

They’re otherwise to be mere neutral hosts.

Wrong premise. Try again.

NON-Corporate-Funded Public Interest Technologist says:

Re: Re: YOUR view is 230 empowers corporations over First Amendm

What you are advocating for is something that will ultimately silence you!

Wrong. We somehow got by before teh internets.

What’s different now, THE RESULT, is that anyone’s opinion can be arbitrarily suppressed.

You just like the current because believe YOUR opinions are in favor, but corporations are amoral. Tomorrow they may — almost certainly will — turn "conservative" or some other authoritarian and you’ve given up all your philosophical basis to oppose.

What you advocate is that a handful of boy billionaires effectively control the entire US so that ONLY their opinions are allowed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

We somehow got by before teh internets.

Well that’s a pretty dumb statement to make. No one is saying we didn’t. Besides that, we wouldn’t even be talking about this "before teh internets", BECAUSE it’s all happening on the internet.

For some reason, people get all confused and think that because it’s "on a computer" or "on the internet" that it’s somehow different than IRL, when it’s really not. Social media platforms are no different than restaurants, cafes, meeting rooms, or conference centers.

What’s different now, THE RESULT, is that anyone’s opinion can be arbitrarily suppressed.

I have yet to see a case where someone who was banned from one or more social media sites was not able to subsequently join a different social media site, start their own, start a free blog, or find some other way to speak online. Saying their speech was suppressed entirely when it very obviously wasn’t is just disingenuous.

You just like the current because believe YOUR opinions are in favor

Well no, not actually. The First Amendment and Section 230 says that’s the law of the land, in favor or not. And I dare you to look at all the calls politicians are making to do away with Section 230 and say our view is still "in favor". Lol.

corporations are amoral

So? Your point is? Being morally neutral is not necessarily a bad thing.

Tomorrow they may — almost certainly will — turn "conservative" or some other authoritarian and you’ve given up all your philosophical basis to oppose.

Nice of you to finally admit that conservatives aren’t interested in freedom of speech and are instead trying to impose an authoritarian censorship regime on individuals and private companies.

What you advocate is that a handful of boy billionaires effectively control the entire US so that ONLY their opinions are allowed.

Well Trump was elected President of the US and he is trying to shut down any speech that disagrees with him so that statement is actually true. Oh did you mean Mark Zuckerburg, Sundar Pichai, and whoever owns/runs Twitter? Last time I checked they weren’t elected government officials and the only thing they control is what happens on their specific platforms, not the country or internet at large.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"Social media platforms are no different than restaurants, cafes, meeting rooms, or conference centers."

Well, they are, but only because your physical location doesn’t matter in order to meet with people there, and that some people show their raging asshole side easier when not faced with physical consequences.

Apart from that, there’s not much difference, and that should include the ability to kick disruptive patrons out of the room.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I have yet to see a case where someone who was banned from one or more social media sites was not able to subsequently join a different social media site, start their own, start a free blog, or find some other way to speak online.

Here’s an interesting thought experiment: if there was such a case… how would you know about it?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Well, as PaulT said, there’s this thing called the internet and it would likely be reported on and posted online, at which point I would know about it.

But, my bigger point was that it’s near impossible for there to actually be any cases of this because of the requirements that would have to be met in order for it to happen. Let’s consider:

Here’s the end scenario you and others are proposing: a user of a social media platform is banned and is therefore prevented from speaking online in any way shape or form. He is permanently excluded from all online discussions and speech. (We’ll ignore for the moment the fact that he would still have many OFFLINE speech avenues available to him.)

In order for this person to not be able to speak online in this scenario requires that the following things MUST be true:

  1. One social media platform has control over every single other social media platform, as a ban from one platform would mean he is banned from all platforms. Otherwise, if one single platform didn’t control all the others, he could just go sign up for an account on a different platform.
  2. One social media platforms has control over ALL other internet sites, domain registrars, webhosts, and blog sites. If they don’t, then there is nothing preventing him from speaking on any of those other sites.

(For the sake of argument, let’s say that for some reason point 2 is just so far beyond reason as to be insane. The following would then also need to be true.)

  1. The banned person would have to be prevented from signing up for any free blog services. Otherwise they could speak online from their blog.
  2. The banned person would have to be prevented from purchasing web hosting space to either create their own social media site or host their own blog.
  3. The banned person would have to be prevented from installing and running their own social media site or their own blog on their home PC or server, which may or may not include his ISPs refusing to serve him internet access.
  4. The banned person would have to be prevented from submitting a story/comment/article/post/etc… to a third party and have them upload it to an online web site or host it.
  5. The banned person would have to be prevented from signing up to comment on any blog or forum.
  6. The banned person would have to be prevented from commenting on sites (such as TD) that allow anonymous commenting.

The likelihood of all of the above being true and someone being actively prevented from having ANY outlet online in which to speak is about as likely as a bunch of monkeys cobbling together a functioning spaceship and flying to the moon.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: YOUR view is 230 empowers corporations over First Amendment.

Your President was for free exchange so much he blocked his critics.
Twitter did a better job for free speech allowing him then he did anyone who ever disagreed with him in his life.
Techdirt still allows you to post even though it’s just spam and bad faith. I consider them better for democracy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: YOUR view is 230 empowers corporations over First Amendment.

So by your logic if I have a host box in my residence which has say a blogging app running I have to let you use it? Buzz off that nonsense, my physical host box is my property, not yours. Wake me up when you understand property rights then get back to me.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

No one’s being kicked off of platforms for calling for lower taxes, less government, or other traditionally "conservative" ideas.

It does you no credit when you disingenuously treat "traditionally conservative ideas" as meaning exactly the same thing as "economically conservative ideas," when it’s well-understood that what’s actually being discussed is "morally conservative ideas."

People are getting kicked off platforms for voicing opposition to abortion, affirming the sanctity of traditional marriage, and similar moral viewpoints which are still held even today by a majority of Americans.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Puh-leeze. Have you seen the methodology behind those? That’s "Lying With Statistics 101" material.

But why even ask? Of course an SJW bigot isn’t going to take anything that might challenge his worldview seriously.

"There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 SJWs

You’re going to lose a lot of people with SJW. Social injustice is a thing that runs epidemic in our world, whether or not you accept a given form is a problem.

Maybe rather than lumping people into a generalization, Anonymous Coward, you should regard persons, and specific arguments on a case by case basis.

Otherwise, by name calling, you’re just making a poor ad-hominem attack, from which some of us will infer you can’t collect your thoughts enough to make an actual argument.

Igualmente69 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 SJWs

Your point is true to an extent, but in general, when someone who has ethical fiber pejoratively uses the term Social Justice Warrior, they aren’t criticizing the concept of advocating for equality, but opposing people who think that because certain classes of people have been or are being oppressed means that concepts like freedom of speech, freedom of association, due process of law, objective truth, etc, cease to exist. Such people call themselves "liberal" but are actually the exact opposite of liberal.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

when someone who has ethical fiber pejoratively uses the term Social Justice Warrior, they aren’t criticizing the concept of advocating for equality, but

…using an incredibly vague term that can mean whatever the insulting party wants it to mean for the sake of argument. Call me an SJW (and I have been called that before), and I would ask what specific part of my ideology makes me an SJW. Is it my disdain for copyright? How about my wish to see ICE (and the Department of Homeland Security) abolished? Maybe it’s my desire to see billionaires taxed on 99% of their wealth instead of sitting on it like a bunch of greedy dragons while poor people die all around them? Or did you have some other position of mine that you would consider “SJW-ish” in your head?

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Borrowing from Good Omens again...

Vague terms (such as Libtard or SJW or snowflake) to deride a demographic are much like a winked signal between Chattering Nuns of St. Beryl. They change drastically in meaning between sending sister and receiving sister.

They not only change meanings between those who use the terms but also those who hear (read) them. Those who are particularly self-critical will assume it applies to them, while others will dismiss such terms as nonsense (revealing more about the speaker than his targets) or presume themselves an exception to who the malice does not apply. As a result such terms of contempt cast a wide but scattershot field, generally hurt only those who are already self-conscious.

The term SJW applies to those who speak to issues of social injustice and social inequality. But the term (like many alt-right terms of disregard) suggest those who profess for social issues are insincere regarding those positions, or they express such positions due to ulterior motives or they are inconsistent in acting on the behaviors they endorse (or are guilty of engaging in the behaviors they admonish). Hence, SJWs are not to be taken seriously.

These terms are thought-stopping clichés that allow the user to dismiss a given person (and what she says) without further consideration.

So when someone calls me an SJW, I figure they’ve already dismissed me as subhuman. If they criticize SJWs the implication is that person uses such terms to dehumanize those that disagree with them.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

On the Web, blue text is typically used to indicate something called a "hyperlink", or simply "link" for short.

A hyperlink is something that you can click on with your mouse pointer, tap on a touchscreen, or interact with through various other possible means. It takes you away from the webpage you are currently on and displays a different webpage.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

People are getting kicked off platforms for voicing opposition to abortion, affirming the sanctity of traditional marriage, and similar moral viewpoints which are still held even today by a majority of Americans.

And all this time I thought it was just people being assholes that get them kicked off a platform, regardless of the content of said assholery.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re:

People are getting kicked off platforms for voicing opposition to abortion, affirming the sanctity of traditional marriage, and similar moral viewpoints which are still held even today by a majority of Americans.

If that were true how come National Review’s David French is still on Twitter?

Whether you’re right or wrong about the number of people who hold those opinions, people get booted for being abusive, not for sharing unfashionable viewpoints. I’m conservative and only ever got into trouble for my decidedly moderate views with one or two militant progressives. I generally try to get along with everyone and that means not being an obnoxious toad when sharing my opinions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Conservatism, like religion and for many of the same reasons, is dying. Because they, as a group, have self-marginalized they became the "underdog" they portray themselves as. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Soon they’ll be relegated to the history books alongside the Whigs.

It’s a shame, really. If we lose the conservative party as a major player then all we’re left with is the liberal party which is arguably just as bad. The reasonable viewpoint lies somewhere in between the extremists both parties have become. It’s as if we can only now choose between pure socialism and pure corporatism with no sane options.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Tories and Republicans

The current Democratic party is actually neo-conservative: pro-corporate, copyright maximalist and not really all that behind egalitarianism. We have some candidates making big reform promises, but remember that Obama was all Hope and Change until he got elected, so we have good cause to be skeptical.

Unless the Democrats go fascist and use the surveillance state to route out dissenters then other parties might try to fill in the gaps. (That would be extreme for them, but they’re half-way there by supporting the surveillance state.) I could see the Peace and Freedom party trying to turn into something with mass appeal that stands to the left of the DNP, and I can see the Libertarians trying to go moderate-rightish.

First-Past-The-Post elections will still assure that one competing party will prevail, and until we reform our election system that won’t change.

But that’s all far-future thinking. Like after the apocalypse.

For now, we have nothing stopping parties from cheating their way into power as the GOP has systematically done. (Certainly not the Supreme Court of the United States.) In fact, I expect the GOP to stay entrenched for a while even if they can’t get ten percent of the population to vote for them. If the Federalist Society plants were feeling particularly dispensational, they could decide that an enablement bill was Constitutional. (They’d lose faith of the people in the Supreme Court, but after RUCHO ET AL. v. COMMON CAUSE ET AL. I’d be surprised if there’s much faith left.

After that Democracy would be dead and the GOP would prevail until the nation fell apart.

NON-Corporate-Funded Public Interest Technologist says:

YOU have ZERO credibility: omitted the "in good faith" clause!

In arguing with me here, you pretended to quote the law and SIMPLY DELETED the
"in good faith" requirement!
— And when I caught that LIE, blew it off as not important:

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190201/00025041506/us-newspapers-now-salivating-over-bringing-google-snippet-tax-stateside.shtml#c530

The reduced text appears nowhere else. Masnick intentionally omitted those characters. He’s a LIAR, and sunk to that just trying to win an argument on this tiny little site. Imagine what he’ll do when important!

It’s a material omission — indeed, since The Public’s benefit is always to be the primary goal of American law, your omitting the KEY requirement — and doing so blatantly — is just astounding.

If did that in a court, you’d be jailed for perjury. If did that on a site you don’t control, without your rabid fanboys to support, you’d be hooted roundly and shunned.

Yet you still have the chutzpah to keep claiming others mis-represent the law.

NON-Corporate-Funded Public Interest Technologist says:

Re: Re: YOU have ZERO credibility: it’s like projection is

"AC" reveals is long-time reader and a simple off-topic diverter. Anything so long as NOT on-topic, that’s what the fanboy-trolls do. — While not even giving their screen name, ’cause they’re chicken! BAWK! BAWK! (That’s just to humor this "AC" with more diversion.)

Now, NO, again, I contrived a bit of text to make you clowns go into ecstasy at thought that I would quit commenting here, and you FELL for it. You can’t let go of your first impression, even though wrong.

That joke becomes more dismaying to me as goes. But it does illustrate Techdirt just perfectly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: YOU have ZERO credibility: omitted the "in good faith" claus

I often wonder if Mike pissed in your coffee at some point in the past as you seem to have the biggest hate boner for him and this site. At some point you must realize that is bad for your mental health to be SOOOOO obsessed over one person and one site.

And when you’re on your last breath on this big rock, I bet it’s going to be something like "Damn that Mike Masnick and his Techdirt site."

My question to you, why do you do it and what is it that you expect to gain by coming here and repeating the same debunked lines every day on just about every article?

NON-Corporate-Funded Public Interest Technologist says:

Re: Re: YOU have ZERO credibility: omitted the "in good fai

Your hate-filled obsessive rant is OFF-TOPIC.

And demand of me what you don’t state. You too are obviously a regular, TOO CHICKEN to use your account name.

Try again. Focus, sonny. You’re not helping the site.

NON-Corporate-Funded Public Interest Technologist says:

Re: Re: Re:2 YOU have ZERO credibility: omitted the &quot

Please point to the hate in my original comment as you have some strong projects there buddy boy.

Its mere existence is the proof.

Techdirt fanboys go about twice before dissolving into sheer off-topic back-and-forth.

It’s USELESS as forum / convincing thanks to YOUR efforts, sonny, not my opinions.

You keep going on, obviously obsessing!

But I’m out.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

you pretended to quote the law and SIMPLY DELETED the
"in good faith" requirement

Here’s a question: What does “in good faith” mean in the context of the actual text of 47 U.S.C. § 230 and the intent of the lawmaker who wrote and championed the bill? Because from where I sit, it means “the platform has a reason to moderate bullshit content”. Spam is protected speech, but plenty of websites filter it “in good faith” — that is, they filter it to prevent spam from overrunning the service and driving away actual users. What makes any other legally protected speech more deserving of staying up than spam?

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re:

…you pretended to quote the law and SIMPLY DELETED the
"in good faith" requirement!

 

Blue, your lack of intelligence is showing again.

"Good faith" is a legal term with a specific definition:

good faith – n. honest intent to act without taking an unfair advantage over another person or to fulfill a promise to act, even when some legal technicality is not fulfilled. The term is applied to all kinds of transactions.

47 U.S. Code § 230 says:

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of […] any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected…

Taken in the context of this law, "good faith" simply means that the service provider must have honest intentions when removing speech they find to be objectionable. Intentions like keeping their site free from antisemitism or pornography or whatever they else they don’t want on their site.

Once again you have read a legal term, didn’t bother to look up the definition and have made yourself look foolish. Just like you did when you were spouting off how Techdirt’s comment submission widget equates to a "form contract".

NON-Corporate-Funded Public Interest Technologist says:

Re: Re: @"Gwiz": MM simply DELETED THE WORDS "in good faith".

"Good faith" is a legal term with a specific definition:

SO? What’s that got to do with Masnick DELETING THE VERY CHARACTERS OF THE LAW HE PRETENDED TO QUOTE?

You’re just trying to muddy up this cesspit — which is impossible.

Here again is what YOU are trying to delete:

Masnick simply DELETES the "in good faith" requirement — and then blows off it being important:

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190201/00025041506/us-newspapers-now-salivating-over-bringing-google-snippet-tax-stateside.shtml#c530

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

That clause isn’t important, though. It only means “the platform has a reason to moderate bullshit content”, to put it in layman’s terms. Now show me the law, statute, or “common law” court ruling that says a platform must be neutral towards all legally protected speech — including spam, White supremacist propaganda, and clips from that new Lion King movie.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

In arguing with me here, you pretended to quote the law and SIMPLY DELETED the "in good faith" requirement!

He didn’t. He quoted a different paragraph of the law. A fact you conveniently continue to ignore or too illiterate enough to understand.

And when I caught that LIE, blew it off as not important:

The only one lying here is you as anyone who actually bothers to read the text of Section 230 would see that you and Mike quoted different sections of the same law. You quoted section c2a and Mike quoted section c2b. He didn’t delete anything.

He’s a LIAR, and sunk to that just trying to win an argument on this tiny little site

As stated and proved, you are the liar, not Mike.

Yet you still have the chutzpah to keep claiming others mis-represent the law.

Pot. Kettle. Black. Hypocrite. Liar. Moron.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: "WaPo is a shitlib rag"

WaPo is a shit-moderate rag. Contrast Huffington, which will make make a grotesque from a gaff by a conservative, or FOX which won’t mention conservative gaffs at all but will suggest public medical care is the worst thing a state could inflict on its people, also detention camps are like hotels or camping trips.

Granted some of WaPo’s columned editorialists are obvious GOP shills (I’m looking at you Marc A. Thiessan) and I wonder if they’re kept on the payroll just to let WaPo claim it reports both sides, but it also features a handful of self-identified conservatives I tend to agree with as often as not.

But even before the Trump era which has taken a wrecking-ball to both Republicanism and conservatism, both sectors have regarded facts to be anti-conservative, let alone the media, and we’re moving towards an era where extreme changes will have to be made and extreme consequences faced.

Natural disasters and food crises are commanded by neither elected officials nor sovereign kings no matter their opinions.

That One Guy (profile) says:

The boy who cried wolf called, something about 'learn from me'

By now, most conservatives are convinced that our voices are being shadow-banned, throttled, muted and outright censored online.

Thanks to repeated assertions like yours telling them that, yes I imagine they are. However being convinced of something does not mean that thing is true, so ultimately it wouldn’t matter how many ‘conservatives think they’re being treated unfairly, all that matters is whether they can prove it.

In fact, amid protestations by groups including the Internet Association, which claims Facebook, Google and Twitter are bias free, it’s an open fact that Big Tech is run predominantly by those on the ideological left

Which has fuck all to do with whether or not they are treating conservatives ‘unfairly’ on their platforms.

Many on the right have complained loudly and often of anti-conservative bias online. Unfortunately, all too often this is where our efforts stop. Once we’re ignored or dismissed long enough, conservatives seem to just shrug our collective shoulders and accept defeat.

Yes, funny thing that, if you run around claiming to be victims without backing it up with evidence people tend to ignore and dismiss you.

It is so full of factually false information, misleading spin, and just downright disinformation that no respectable publication should have allowed it to be published. And yet, there it is in the Washington Post — one of the major news organizations that Donald Trump likes to declare "fake news."

Which, funnily enough, they actually are in this case by making the monumentally stupid decision to publish this tripe. Stopped clocks and own-goals I suppose.

If they keep publishing garbage like this they won’t have to worry about the ‘no respectable publication’ problem, because they will no longer qualify.

Anonymous Coward says:

No, seriously, where is Poochie?

I was wondering where the meltdown was over John Steele’s arrest. Turns out blue has been holding out.

Still no sign of John Herrick Poochie Section 230 Stole My Mailing Lists Smith. He’s taking Hansmeier’s jail term a lot harder than I thought. I’d feel sorry for him, but I’d literally have to break my ribcage in two just to eke out a modicum of sympathy for the Steele-loving shitstain.

Vanna T. Webb-Sight says:

Is Section 230 CDA to benefit The Public or corporations?

Obviously The Public by providing speech outlets. You could not find a single politician who’d say it’s to benefit corporations. — Though it’s entirely possible that was and is the intent: a stealthy form of censorship.

Corporations have PR departments with large budgets to get their message out. It’s only individual "natural" persons who need outlets for their views.

CDA 230 provides a new form of immunity that allows corporations to HOST content without the full liability of PUBLISHING it as still true for print outlets.

Section 230 REQUIRES that "platforms" police the sites for The Public:

"No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of-

(A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected…"

That just states causes valid in common law. It’s a requirement for simple decency — the "D" in CDA. Not controversial so far…

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

Hey Blue, I have a question for you.

You express a hatred for corporate censorship via moderation enabled by CDA 230. You also express a love of copyright, such that you believe even corporations can enforce it to its fullest extent.

But how can you believe both “corporations can enforce copyright” and “corporations shouldn’t be able to censor legal speech” when copyright itself can be used by corporations to censor legally protected speech?

Reinforced Gusset says:

Top Assange Defense Account Deleted By Twitter

One of the biggest Twitter accounts dedicated to circulating information and advocacy for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, @Unity4J, has been completely removed from the site. The operators of the account report that they have been given no reason for its removal by Twitter staff, and have received no response to their appeals.

https://www.activistpost.com/2019/07/top-assange-defense-account-deleted-by-twitter.html

See, kids? Twitter has its own — unaccountable — agenda that doesn’t fit with yours.

Do you really want a few white male boy (and older) billionaires controlling ALL access to teh internets?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Top Assange Defense Account Deleted By Twitter

"S ee, kids? Twitter has its own — unaccountable — agenda that doesn’t fit with yours."

No, Twitter’s agenda of being able to kick assholes off their site fits with mine.

"Do you really want a few white male boy (and older) billionaires controlling ALL access to teh internets?"

No. Luckily, there are millions of other websites out there, plus the ability for you to set up your own any time you want.

Freud Ian Slip 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.

"Platforms" are NOT like accepting paid advertising / freedom of association, but an entirely NEW way for The Public to publish without "a priori" editorial interference of any kind. Host corporations are only authorized to act AFTER an offense and for THAT offense only, NOT to arbitrarily totally and forever ban "natural" persons.

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.

You cannot claim The Public’s protection by way of statute AND assert that then have power OVER The Public. The power was/is not granted. The Public is primary and supreme: corporations are mere permitted fictional entities.

Flash N. Cutlass says:

Corporatists try to twist CDA into control of OUR PUBLISHING!

First, 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.

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

How did "Communications Decency Act" get twisted into authorizing complete corporate control of The Public’s new forums?

"Immunize platforms so The Public can make use of the new medium for almost unlimited speech!", is what They SAID to LURE us into a trap. And now that they’ve obtained power, masnicks STATE that corporations have an absolute and pre-emptive "First Amendment right" to CONTROL.

No one thinks that "natural" persons on a "platform" have endorsement by the corporation. No one is mistaking the speech of "natural" persons for the corporation’s. The corporation is not in least impaired in getting its message out. — But what the corporatists want is to CONTROL "natural" persons.

The ultimate purpose of Masnick / EFF blather (both funded by Google) is to sweep on to:

They claim that corporations can use that "restrict access or availability of" clause to, whenever wish — even explicitly over YOUR First Amendment Rights — step in and EDIT comments by their own arbitrary standard, to point of becoming THE publisher, even to PREVENT we "natural" persons from publishing on "their" platforms at all!

But those are OUR platforms, The Public’s, NOT theirs.

Corporations are allowed (by The Public) merely to operate the machinery which is to convey The Public’s views. Corporations are NOT to control who gets on, nor WHAT The Public publishes, except under OUR common law terms.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

"Immunize platforms so The Public can make use of the new medium for almost unlimited speech!", is what They SAID to LURE us into a trap.

You have been told, time and time again, that 47 U.S.C. § 230 was not written with the intent of allowing “almost unlimited speech”. It was written with the intent of allowing interactive computer services to moderate content without facing legal liability for doing so. You could at least admit that you’re ignoring the facts that were presented to you in support of those statements.

corporations have an absolute and pre-emptive "First Amendment right" to CONTROL

A corporation has every right to control speech on any platform it owns and operates. Those platforms may be open to the public, but they are still privately owned. And much like a privately-owned brick’n’mortar business has the right to boot people from the business for being assholes, those platforms have every right to do the same.

No one thinks that "natural" persons on a "platform" have endorsement by the corporation. No one is mistaking the speech of "natural" persons for the corporation’s.

Doesn’t matter. Without Section 230, a person (and their respective individual¹) could sue a platform for something a third party said or did on that platform. 230 immunizes platforms in that regard. It’s why no one can sue Techdirt when you slander them in the comments.

They claim that corporations can use that "restrict access or availability of" clause to, whenever wish — even explicitly over YOUR First Amendment Rights — step in and EDIT comments by their own arbitrary standard, to point of becoming THE publisher, even to PREVENT we "natural" persons from publishing on "their" platforms at all!

And those claims are correct on every count. No law, statute, or “common law” court ruling says any privately owned platform must allow all protected speech without moderation. Nothing on the books says such platforms must remain “neutral” in their moderation of content, either. Even the First Amendment protects the right of association — that is, the right of a platform’s owner(s) to choose whether they want someone else’s speech associated with their platform.²

You’re not entitled to use someone else’s platform. If Techdirt banned you today, you would have no legal recourse — none whatsoever! — in either overturning that ban or forcing Techdirt to host your speech. Don’t say otherwise if you can’t prove otherwise.

Corporations are NOT to control who gets on, nor WHAT The Public publishes, except under OUR common law terms.

I’ll ask you this question again, even though I know you’ll never give a direct answer to it: For what reason should a platform be forced to host White supremacist propaganda, which is legally protected speech in the United States, if that platform’s admins do not want it to host such speech?²


¹ — If you keep using SovCit language, I will keep mocking it.

² — This applies equally to corporate-owned services such as Twitter and non-corporate services such as individual Mastodon instances.

Shiny Red MAGA Hat says:

Oh, YES: corporations CAN violate your First Amendment Right!

In fact, that’s the KEY point of contention. Masnick says "platforms" are authorized to control speech regardless whether it’s Constitutionally protected!

Masnick is for corporations CONTROLLING the speech and outlets of "natural" persons. He repeats it often, can’t be mistaken. From last year:

"And, I think it’s fairly important to state that these platforms have their own First Amendment rights, which allow them to deny service to anyone."

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170825/01300738081/nazis-internet-policing-content-free-speech.shtml

Masnick is not hedging "lawyers say and I don’t entirely agree", or "that isn’t what I call serving The Public", but as VERY RARE for him STATES FLATLY. By deeming it a fundamental "Right", Masnick STATES that he wants a few corporations to have absolute and arbitrary control of ALL MAJOR outlets for The Public! He claims that YOUR Constitutional First Amendment Right in Public Forums are over-arched by what MERE STATUTE lays out!

This is the vital point for Masnick. He doesn’t even mention The Public’s right to publish in new way, ONLY states flatly the alleged right of corporations to control speech there.

Masnick flips the First Amendment from protection for "natural" persons into a POWER for use by corporations!

Such control (by ANY entity) to remove First Amendment Rights from The Public CANNOT be purpose of ANY statute. It’d be null and void because directly UN-Constitutional.

It’s NOT law, only the assertion of corporatists. No court has yet supported what Masnick claims. Corporatists are reaching for the moon without even a step-ladder. It’s simply a trick the New Fascists are trying to pull.

By the way: IF Section 230 law is so clear and good for The Public as Masnick claims, why is "deplatforming" being reviewed by even "Democrats", and why does he keep running these pieces?

Cylinder-Shaped Object emits energy beam says:

The KEY trick: assert "editorial" control yet keep immunity:

Here it is cleverly worked in:

On Friday, libertarian-leaning groups including FreedomWorks and the American Legislative Exchange Council sent a letter to Sessions expressing "fear" that his "inquiry will be to accomplish through intimidation what the First Amendment bars: interference with editorial judgment."

https://www.bloombergquint.com/business/2018/09/22/draft-order-for-trump-would-crack-down-on-google-facebook

NO! Totally negates the whole "platform" premise and asserts that hosting mechanisms are the actual editors!

Section 230 establishes The Public as Editors! "Platforms" are to be ONLY the technical means for conveying The Public’s Editorial choices.

CONVEYING, NOT CONTROLLING.

Section 230 is not difficult to understand. The content of a magazine IS the magazine, and can be mechanically printed on any number of presses, without the owner of the press being liable for the content. PERIOD.

Corporations which host "platforms" are exactly analogous to owners of a mechanical printing press. Printers do not have liability for what’s printed — within BROAD common law terms, and especially relevant on Techdirt: enforcing copyright law when obviously violated.

It’s ridiculous to hold a mechanism responsible: that’s what Section 230 immunizes against. But it’s even more ridiculous to hold that the owner of a printing press has total editorial control over magazine content.

But because The Internet blurs the line between mechanical and editorial, the corporate fiends now claim that owning the printing press DOES give them TOTAL editorial control over what WE want to publish!

Summary to here: For Section 230 immunity to be valid: 1) hosts must act in "good faith" according to common law standards, and 2) "platforms" are NOT to act as editors or publishers, are NEUTRAL / hands-off (again, by common law standards) with regard to persons and content.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The KEY trick: assert "editorial" control yet keep immunity:

Did you go to some sort of troll school where they told you if you just keep repeating blatantly false information, maybe someone will start believing you?

Literally nothing you say is accurate or truthful.

NO! Totally negates the whole "platform" premise and asserts that hosting mechanisms are the actual editors!

Section 230 makes no distinction for "platforms"

Section 230 establishes The Public as Editors!

No, it literally does not. It says that moderation is encouraged in order to create diverse parts of the internet, such as "family friendly" sites. It does nothing to establish "The Public" as editors.

"Platforms" are to be ONLY the technical means for conveying The Public’s Editorial choices.

Again, the law literally says the opposite of this.

You should stop misrepresenting the law.

Summary to here: For Section 230 immunity to be valid: 1) hosts must act in "good faith" according to common law standards, and 2) "platforms" are NOT to act as editors or publishers, are NEUTRAL / hands-off (again, by common law standards) with regard to persons and content.

Again, this is literally the opposite of what the law says, how the law was described when it was debated in Congress, and how the law has been talked about by those who wrote it and by the courts who have interpreted it.

It’s one thing to argue that you want the law to be read this way-though even that would be silly. It’s another altogether to pretend the law says the opposite of what it says.

This has been explained to you dozens of times.

Yet you keep repeating it.

Because you are a troll. You are not a serious person. You have no serious input. You are a gnat on the side of a site that you yourself insist no one reads.

What the fuck is wrong with you?

Ceci est ne pas mon nom en l'ecran pour l'instant. says:

To "offer a forum for a true diversity of political discourse."

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is a sacred privilege for social media companies. This law protects Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms from liability over the material published on their websites. One of the reasons these services are granted this privilege is the Congressional finding, embodied in legislation, that they "offer a forum for a true diversity of political discourse." [47 U.S. Code S: 230 – Protection for private blocking and screening of offensive material] In contrast, newspapers are subject to libel actions over Letters to the Editor, because they are assumed to have exercised editorial judgement in publishing them.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-10-12/google-vs-trump-good-censor-collision-course-patriot-president

Link to US code: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/230

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

And your point is…what, exactly? 47 U.S.C. § 230 doesn’t say any “interactive computer service” must offer “true diversity of political discourse” (i.e., stay “neutral”) to retain Section 230 protections.

Discussion of White supremacy is “political discourse”. A platform that disallows White supremacists from presenting their side of the discourse would be “non-neutral”. For what reason should the law force a platform to host White supremacist propaganda?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: To "offer a forum for a true diversity of political discours

"This law protects Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms from liability over the material published on their websites"

BY OTHER PEOPLE. You idiots always miss that part out. They’re perfectly liable for things they themselves post, just not those of other people.

"In contrast, newspapers are subject to libel actions over Letters to the Editor, because they are assumed to have exercised editorial judgement in publishing them."

Not because they’re assumed to. Because they DO have direct editorial control. Unless you’re demanding that those other sites manually go through every post that’s on their site (and even someone as stupid as you can see how that’s not realistic), it’s clearly a very different situation.

"Link to US code"

You might want to actually read that at some point instead of having notoriously bad right-wing propaganda sites filter it for you.

Cap'n Willy says:

Businesses TRADE "private" for permission FROM The Public.

The first act of anyone wanting to form a corporation or go into business is to ASK permission from The Public through our Public Servants. We The People are the Master in all, and any business ranks WELL BELOW Our Officers. IF the business meets certain conditions including promises to SERVE The Public and OBEY our laws and regulations, THEN a business is granted LICENSE to exist (supposedly for limited time, but in practice, perpetual).

Businesses are LICENSED entities. A corporation of course has no actual "corpus", that’s the sheer FICTION. Next, calling them "persons" is only a convenience for language. It does not by some magic make a fiction equal to a Person. (And what’s a "Person"? Best answered by that there is only ONE "person" in the entire United Kingdom: the monarch. That’s why the USA was founded by FIRST stating "all men are created equal".)

ONLY WITH permission can a business open its doors and invite in The Public to buy and sell. — And if want to sell things like Liquor, there’s MORE licensing required. — The second doors open (during "business hours"), any "natural" person has a certain degree of "right" (during good behavior as defined in common law) to be on the formerly private property. (I simplify / ignore VAST area including frequent usage, easements bought / granted / eminent domain by which persons esp as Citzens gain a "right" to use or be on property of others.)

Similarly, corporations ASKED permission to exist, set up web-sites for serving The Public, INVITE them in — under terms stated by "forms contract" which means only the visible terms, not any hidden, or "unconscionable", and definitely not solely at discretion of any given corporation, let alone for later changes, but ALWAYS must be within common law.

Proof that corporations are NOT "persons" is easy: "persons" cannot own other "persons", but corporations can own other corporations.

Now, Corporations wangled Section 230 of the Communications Decency (note how that’s been forgotten!) Act to immunize them from what users might publish. This is COMPLETE change from the law print publishers must follow. Purpose was for good of The Public to use the new possibilities of communicating on the Internet.

The Deal was: in exchange for new business opportunities, We The People immunize businesses (within reasonable) for what’s on the sites.

Those are The Public’s sites on which to publish as wish (within common law as ALWAYS). The businesses provide only the technical "platform" to make it easy for us.

BUT NOW corporations are trying to claim that the policing requirements given above actually grant them absolute and arbitrary POWER OVER The Public’s speech.

This is the KEY power that Masnick wants and asserts. Clearly, if that view is allowed to continue and grow, then We The People will effectively be subject to a new form of corporate royalty.

Misnack so hates 'In Good Faith' that he edits Law says:

"When people tell you who they are, believe them." Maya Angelou.

Googlers, Facebookers, and masnicks tell us that Section 230 makes them A) completely IMMUNE for all content others put on sites, but B) retain total arbitrary power to control the sites.

IMMUNE AND EMPOWERED is dangerous combination.

Key question: What’s to stop corporations from censoring IF so choose? … Masnick is silent, simply lets us think that corporations are benevolent and wise and always will do the right thing for The Public. — He isn’t going to concede that corporate power is less than total, because soon as does, his position is weaker.

We’re lucky that they’re lying. The immunity is definitely limited: see FOSTA, and remember that Masnick states it wasn’t needed because Backpage prosecuted by existing law.

The principle that "private corporations" don’t have total control over "platforms" created by legislation is already established in cable TV case and CDA’s own words:

The Court concluded "public access channels constituted a public forum, notwithstanding that they were operated by a private company".

https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/ca2/16-4155/16-4155-2018-02-09.html

The policy Congress established when passing the CDA was to ensure "a forum for a true diversity of political discourse." 47 U.S.C. S: 230(a)(3).

The claimed immunity and empowerment is "government-conferred" by mere statute. It does not over-arch all other law, especially not with a phrase UN-Constitutional on the surface: "whether or not such material is constitutionally protected".

Now, since purpose of ALL law in the US of A is for The Public’s benefit, then how do we benefit from arbitrary control of our speech by unaccountable corporations?

Masnick has to keep claiming that absolute rule by those who tells us they’re immune and empowered proto-Nazis is GOOD.

But in America, when THE RESULT of legislation is not to The Public’s good, it’s inherently UN-Constitutional. — Indeed, the Constitution allows and even requires that it be amended when WRONG!

Since the Founding Fathers were WRONG about slavery, how can Masnick regard the mere pipsqueak he references as absolutely right?

We The People know right from wrong.Masnicks know only corporatism and desire control.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: "When people tell you who they are, believe them." Maya Ange

"A) completely IMMUNE for all content others put on sites, but B) retain total arbitrary power to control the sites"

Yes, they should be held accountable for only the things they have actually done, and they should retain control over their own private property.

Why you support the seizure of private property for no crime committed by the original owner, yet don’t understand that you’re demanding actual communism (as opposed to the mild social democracy you usually rail against), is best left to your fevered imagination.

Lost Some Parts On The Way says:

Posting on a Section 230 "web-site" is NOT a "privilege",

any more than is reading it. THAT’S THE PUBLIC-SERVING PURPOSE intended. Two-way communications is the key NEW feature of the internet.

1) What does "private" even mean when published to and invite entire world?

2) WHO owns a "web-site", anyway? — First, they’re NOT "property"! Just some text which is hosted on physical property. — Like physical business, if allow The Public in, then have CEDED some right to "private property". The Public gains, NOT loses. The deal is that businesses are permitted to exist (and use The Public’s infrastructure and marketplaces) only so long as serve The Public: when don’t, then permission to exist is withdrawn.

3) Where is this "corporation"? Show it to me. And UNDER WHAT PRIVILEGE AND RULES is it even allowed to exist? — By The Public giving it permission, and NOT for the gain of a few, but for PUBLIC USE.

4) Again, mere statute does not and CANNOT over-ride The Public’s Constitutional Right. And no, corporations are NOT persons, do not have rights, they are FICTIONS.

5) The Public’s use is the PURPOSE of any and every web-site. If allows comments, then it’s governed only by common law terms: no arbitrary exclusion. If comments are beyond common law acceptability (which allow odious), then REMOVE. Otherwise MUST REMAIN — and on equal basis with all others.

6) "Editorial control" of The Public’s speech by corporate "platforms" is EXACTLY what Section 230 is supposed to prevent! So of course it’s EXACTLY what corporations object to: they can’t stand ANY other views even being seen.

Masnick wants corporations to gain the new opportunities while yet keep old-fashioned full editorial control!

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Posting on a Section 230 "web-site" is NOT a "privilege",

"1) What does "private" even mean when published to and invite entire world?"

The same as it always has with any published material. Are you saying the New York Times is public property because I can read it in Europe?

"First, they’re NOT "property"!"

So, you don’t think that websites are covered by IP laws. That’s an interesting take, I’ll say.

"Like physical business, if allow The Public in, then have CEDED some right to "private property""

But, like physical businesses, not all of their rights. They’re both free to tell you to GTFO if you act like a dickhead.

"The Public’s use is the PURPOSE of any and every web-site’

So, you don’t even know about intranets or invite-only websites? What is it about factual information that destroys your arguments every time, I wonder?

Z. Duck-Zoff says:

Yet fanboys promote mega-corporations to rule over themselves!

THAT is the BIG puzzle at Techdirt. What’s in it for fanboys? They’re happy to throw away their own First Amendment Rights! And another part of the US Constitution, too, which is interesting to compare: they say content producers have NO right to income from or control copies of creations, but these pirates then stand up for even larger corporations to control their own SPEECH!

ARE the fanboys real persons? They sure don’t act like it! On this KEY point, they always and uniformly parrot the line that sites have complete editorial control.

So what is the (mere) statute or court decisions that grant corporations the RIGHT to over-rule First Amendment to absolutely and arbitrarily exercise editorial control on "platforms" as Masnick says? — There is NONE! It’s just his assertion. — AND EVEN IF WERE, THAT CAN CHANGE.

WE THE PEOPLE DON’T HAVE TO SUBMIT TO CORPORATIONS! AT MOST, THAT’S MERE STATUTE!

Masnick never even states that there is an alternative way, doesn’t want it to appear on the site! — WHY is that, except he’s utterly dedicated to corporatism?

Masnick flatly states that corporations are now empowered to control ALL speech on the Internet, including "platform", search, registrar, advertising revenue, payment processor, all hosts… If that leaves anything it’s only maybe ISPs, but you then must pay business rate as home servers aren’t allowed. — And then you have one little IP address which isn’t in DNS nor will it come up in search engines: not just unknown but almost un-discoverable!

Yet you fanboys appear to still believe that Masnick is for Free Speech!


PS: editorial control is so highly desired that the fanboys here complain and attempt to coerce me from UPPER-casing my little bits of text as I want! Now scale up that urge to corporations controlling tens of billions of dollars: attempts to stifle ALL opposition to their self-serving notions is 100% CERTAIN.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Yet fanboys promote mega-corporations to rule over themselve

Yet fanboys promote mega-corporations to rule over themselves!

Yet blue promotes mega-corporations to rule over speech by abusing copyright!

THAT is the BIG puzzle at Techdirt. What’s in it for fanboys?

THAT is the BIG puzzle for Blue. What’s in it for the troll?

They’re happy to throw away their own First Amendment Rights!

He’s happy to throw away his First Amendment RIghts by letting big corporations censor people with state power (copyright).

etc etc etc.

Go home, blue, you’re an idiot.

The Big Kahuna says:

MM advocates CONTROL BY OPENLY POLITICIZED GATEKEEPERS.

Masnick extols the new wonders of "platforms" hosting free speech (of "natural" persons) on the Internet from the enabling statute CDA Section 230 — which immunizes the "platform" from liability that print publishers still have — then twists that into claim that corporations can STILL, like print publishers, exercise complete and arbitrary old-fashioned editorial control over what "natural" persons publish. All without any clear firm rules let alone using common law terms, and even in advance by deciding that some are "bad persons" whom they will not host.

The Big Kahuna says:

Re: MM advocates CONTROL BY OPENLY POLITICIZED GATEKEEPERS.

Masnick’s view of Section 230 is NOT THE DEAL that The Public made in order to easily use the new Internet. It’s not even a "deal", it’s a power-grab totally in favor of unaccountable mega-corporations.

So WHY does he assert that corporations operating "platforms" are empowered to control the speech of "natural" persons? That’s EXACT OPPOSITE INTENT OF ALL CONSTITUTIONAL LAW.

Only Mitt Romney and Mike Masnick will say that corporations are "persons" — Romney got roundly hooted for it, and Masnick only does it here in this little walled garden where he’s cultivated vegetables who don’t question him.

Masnick is a total corporatist. Only the mistaken presumption that he acts in "good faith" and shares YOUR views gives him any credibility. — Take away that presumption for a week, and READ what he writes: he’s very open about particularly that "platforms" have an alleged First Amendment Right to arbitrarily control access of we "natural" persons. Masnick believes not only that The Public can be denied access, but since Google controls search, that it can effectively "hide" speech even on alternative smaller outlets you’re forced to use. — Masnick uses "hiding" right here to disadvantage dissenters until they give up and quit commenting. He can thereby claim doesn’t censor.

Corporatists are going for TOTAL control over "natural" persons, period.

[Hit the length limit again, definite after 5 attempts, that’s why two for you to click away. Enjoy twice, then.]

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: MM advocates CONTROL BY OPENLY POLITICIZED GATEKEEPERS.

"Masnick’s view of Section 230 is NOT THE DEAL that The Public made in order to easily use the new Internet."

Well, the deal I made was certainly that only the people committing a specific crime should be held accountable for committing it. The fact that you’re desperate to hold innocent bystanders liable for things they did not commit does not mean that the rest of us want that.

"it’s a power-grab totally in favor of unaccountable mega-corporations"

What’s weird is the fact that you’re unable to comprehend that section 230 protects every website, including all of your favourites from Breitbart to Stormfront to this site. Your desire to hold people responsible for the actions of others that they had no control over will affect everybody else more than the corporations.

The Facebooks and Googles of this world might be negatively affected, but millions of other sites will be destroyed – and new competition to the corporations you think you’re attacking will be prevented from ever existing. You’re advocating that the current majors gain an either greater monopoly with no chance of ever being challenged. Chew on that for a moment…

Aftershocks Headed Toward The Garlock Fault says:

Re: Re: Re: MM advocates CONTROL BY OPENLY POLITICIZED GATEKEEPE

What’s weird is the fact that you’re unable to comprehend that section 230 protects every website

No, what’s amazing is that you don’t grasp that I AGREE there, but that’s not Masnick’s / corporate only or true goal.

Corporations want arbitrary unaccountable power over even First Amendment protected speech on the very "platforms" the statute made.

That’s worth BILLIONS, even if only to suppress anti-corporation speech so that they can get even more government-conferred power.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 MM advocates CONTROL BY OPENLY POLITICIZED GATEK

"I AGREE there"

No you don’t, because if you agreed and understood you wouldn’t be arguing as if it’s some kind of conspiracy.

"over even First Amendment protected speech "

Yet again, you really need to read what the first amendment actually says,. because it openly states it’s irrelevant to the things you’re raving on about.

Aftershocks Headed Toward The Garlock Fault says:

ANY entity that CAN control speech needs closely regulated.

First, here again is Masnick FLATLY stating that corporations have a superior Right to yours: "And, I think it’s fairly important to state that these platforms have their own First Amendment rights, which allow them to deny service to anyone."

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170825/01300738081/nazis-internet-policing-content-free-speech.shtml

None of you would support the government having arbitrary and total power! Why the HELL do you support it for corporations?

This isn’t only about putting your views on a given "platform", and you could move to another: If corporations controlling the speech of "natural" persons is allowed to stand, then you have no Rights at all which are safe from corporate power! The Constitution won’t protect you at all!

Look at it with simple substitution: "These platforms have their own Fourth Amendment rights, which allow them to search anyone and their property including electronic devices, anytime, for any reason." — Do you accept that? — NO? (And I rule that any less than firm yes is a NO. This is separating you from "inalienable" Rights, not open for hedging.) — Then why accept the anti-Constitutional usurpation of your Right that Masnick asserts apply to Speech?

It’s the First Amendment because THE key to freedom. If you let corporate power grow as Masnick wants, then soon you will simply not be heard protesting that your other Rights are subject to corporate power.

Now, it’s time to decide: Is Masnick right, or am I? — Doesn’t matter to me which you choose! If you choose Masnick, then you fully deserve to be ground into sausage by corporations. — You are like the NPCs in Atlas Shrugged, to whom John Galt says: "You asked for it, brothers!"

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: ANY entity that CAN control speech needs closely regulated.

"First, here again is Masnick FLATLY stating that corporations have a superior Right to yours:"

Where? The quote you just posted say they should have the same rights, not greater. Well, within the limitations of the business still not being able to discriminate based on protected classes, whereas your ignorant ass is still free to do that – so he’s actually arguing for less rights than you have.

"Do you accept that?"

It already happens, numbnuts – for example, getting your bags checked when you exit WalMart. If you don’t like that then the answer is not to shop at WalMart, not demand that they get treated as a government agency and stop policing their own property the way they see fit. If they start doing it outside their own property, we have a problem, but they have the right to do that on their own property if they wish as long as they aren’t breaking any laws that actually do apply to them.

"Now, it’s time to decide: Is Masnick right, or am I? "

The one with a grip on reality, and it sure ain’t you.

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