Donald Trump Now Wants To Repeal Section 230, Which Will Actually Make The Stuff He Complains About Worse

from the our-president-is-a-fool dept

We’ve already discussed how the President has been urging Congress to make “complaining about the internet” a key election issue for Republicans. This is why Congress has introduced 17 different bills about Section 230 this year, combined with two separate proposals from the White House itself. But apparently, even that is not enough for our completely clueless President. On Tuesday after facing a bit more mild moderation concerning dangerous lies about COVID that he had posted, he announced that he wanted to “repeal” 230 entirely.

This was in response to both Facebook and Twitter taking action after Trump’s accounts falsely claimed that the flu is more deadly than COVID-19 (a truly incredible bit of disinformation coming directly from the President, a man still sick with COVID-19). Facebook removed the post while Twitter put a misinformation warning on it. And this is why Trump is upset and wants to “repeal 230.”

To be fair, this is the same thing that his opponent in next month’s election has been saying, with his equally ridiculous and foolish calls to “revoke” Section 230. Both of them are wrong. Neither of them seem to understand what Section 230 does or why repealing or revoking it won’t help with whatever they think they’re doing.

But since the President is the latest to spout this nonsense, it should be pointed out that if he got his wish, it would create the exact opposite of what he thinks will happen. Rather than putting pressure on social media companies to leave his nonsense, lies, propaganda, and disinformation alone, it will make them more likely to pull it down to avoid being taken to court and having to deal with questions of liability.

It’s an ironic statement since, without the existence of Section 230, Trump very well might not be able to tweet it. If Congress were to remove social media platforms’ liability protection, then companies like Twitter and Facebook would have no choice but to remove users’ ability to post content at-will. Instead, moderators would have to vet and approve content to make sure that it wasn’t potentially libelous.

This would exacerbate the very problem that many conservatives have with social media?namely, that Twitter (and to a lesser extent, Facebook) sometimes takes aggressive action against provocative right-wing speech, by labeling the content as misleading or removing it outright.

For whatever reason, both Democrats and Republicans seem to think that “Section 230” is Facebook/Google/Twitter. And if they don’t like a move made by any of those companies they think the “solution” is to harm 230. This is wrong and shows a fundamental lack of understanding about how 230 works, what it does, and what would happen if it were changed or removed. It is ridiculous that the President calls for this in response to those sites trying to limit the damage caused by the President himself, and it’s just as ridiculous that this seems to be one area that the President and his opponent actually agree on: that the open internet should go away.

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Comments on “Donald Trump Now Wants To Repeal Section 230, Which Will Actually Make The Stuff He Complains About Worse”

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Anonymous Coward says:

If Congress were to remove social media platforms’ liability protection, then companies like Twitter and Facebook would have no choice but to remove users’ ability to post content at-will.

And immediately cease to be useful for most users, as the queue of posts awaiting moderation would grow until users gave up on the platform.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Repeal 230

Did you really read the OP? Cutting off comments for a day is very unlikely to seriously harm anyone, no matter how much they depend on the internet. Netflix will work without change. Youtube will still have videos to view. Email will still work. It may wake up president Dopey, though, which would be a good thing. Either it will scare him straight or set him off on another self-destructive rant fest, further reducing his chances in the upcoming only-poll-that-matters. Win-win I’d say.

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Samuel Abram (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Repeal 230

Did you really read the OP? Cutting off comments for a day is very unlikely to seriously harm anyone, no matter how much they depend on the internet.

Not so. It would hurt users of teleconferencing programs such as Zoom and chat platforms such as Discord and Slack. What if hospitals or health clinics rely on said programs?

I do hope you’re right and I’m overreacting. However, 2020 has taught me to be as pessimistic as possible.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Repeal 230

Which is why they should do it.

It will shut up this nonsense real quick once people realize that no section 230 means no modern internet. Not through some political speak, but from forced social media withdraw. Some of them would probably be traumatized by it, having nightmares about the notification for years to come.

Just do it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Vote 3rd party

Depends on where you live. My state has been straight blue across the board for the last 12 years, and hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate in 32. My vote will make no possible difference to Biden winning the state.

I say, if my vote doesn’t matter, let it not matter in my favor!

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Vote 3rd party

"My vote will make no possible difference to Biden winning the state"

…and if enough people think like that and act on the assumption, he will lose!

I get what you’re saying, but apathy on the part of Democratic voters in states where Clinton was assumed to win is part of the reason why Trump won the electoral college last time around. Also, local votes still matter, most elections at this point in time cover more than just who will be in the White House in January.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

In my home state (North Carolina), the ballot had lots of spots for state-level judiciary seats. Downballot voting means more than people might think, which is part of the reason why Republican voters tend to turn up in greater numbers in the midterms: They’re far more willing to recognize that local and state elections often matter as much as, or possibly more than, the national election.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Vote 3rd party

"…ANY other party."

If you guys had ranked-choice voting or any other form of proportional representation then that’d be the choice. But you don’t. You poor sods have plurality for everything, so the two real options you have is to either eat broken glass or eat shit. Any other choice or just abstaining means you’ll be forced to eat the broken glass anyway.

At least you don’t have to smile while you swing the spoon.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"I’d like to hope…"

In US politics, year 2020?

Optimism is a good quality, but to hold actual hope for anything good to come out the next decade is a bit naíve. I’m thinking the usual procession of slow progress to the brink of the abyss, the flying leap down it, and the resulting crash and possible rebuild a decade later is about all that can reasonably be hoped for.

I’m thinking the best possible case here is the one which doesn’t involve other continents in the shit-show hitting the turbine.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

That’s not really president territory, seeing as election rules are set by the states.

Of course if we want to implement RCV for the presidency, that’s going to require a constitutional amendment. And seeing as amending the constitution requires ratification by the states, I think working to get the states onboard first is probably the way to go.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

Yeah, at this point, reporting tweets from his account as “the words of Donald Trump” is ethically irresponsible. Best to report them as “tweets from the Twitter account of Donald Trump” — it’s far more honest about the fact that Trump himself probably doesn’t use Twitter personally as much as he directs other people to tweet for him.

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Koby (profile) says:

Shhhhh

falsely claimed that the flu is more deadly than COVID-19

We have developed a number of treatments for coronavirus, and we understand it a lot better than we did 30 weeks ago. Fatality rates have been falling, despite a surge of infections. And if you compare the recent IFR of coronavirus to the influenza IFR, you might actually have a lower survival rate from influenza, depending on your age and preexisting conditions. But we can’t talk about that here or we might get censored.

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Koby (profile) says:

Re: Re: Shhhhh

you mean I’ll have to click once in order to view your comments?

I reject your censorship-lite approach. We all know that Trump would have been completely censored if Twitter felt they could get away with it. The extra clicks and functionality elimination were designed so that the monopoly apologists could say "but he wasn’t totally censored". Yet. This is exactly why section 230 needs some serious reform. Censorship IS on the line.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Shhhhh

I reject your censorship-lite approach. … This is exactly why section 230 needs some serious reform. Censorship IS on the line.

Would you prefer the "censorship-heavy" approach where you’re simply blocked from submitting comments? Or the "censorship-free" approach where comments are disallowed entirely?

And were you not the person quoting the parable:

… As the frog slowed down, struggling to stay above water, the poison filling his veins, and death becoming apparent, the frog asked "Why did you sting me, scorpion? Now we will both die in the river."

And the scorpion replied, "I tried not to, but I couldn’t help it. I’m a scorpion!"

You are carrying a scorpion, Koby. And if you let it have its way, your comments will be heard by nobody, because the comments sections will have been stung to death by lawsuits and potential lawsuits.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Donald Trump having a warning placed on one of his tweets isn’t censorship. Twitter giving Trump the boot — which I sincerely hope it does once he leaves the White House — wouldn’t be censorship. Donald Trump can’t be censored by Twitter because Twitter doesn’t have any way of shutting him up, never mind having a way that would qualify as censorship.

You’re not being censored when we hide your comments, either. You can go start up a Twitter account or a WordPress blog or a Neocities page and spew the exact same anti–free speech garbage that you vomit out here. Nobody here is silencing you because we can’t silence you.

230 doesn’t need reform. It needs to stay in place. Only people who like the idea of compelling Twitter to host racial slurs, anti-queer propaganda, COVID disinformation, spam, and anything you might have to say about anything want to get rid of 230. When I say you’re anti–free speech, I mean it — you’d rather have the Internet turned into a read-only medium like TV than admit you’re trying to defend forcing Twitter to let people say the N-word without getting the boot.

So please, Koby, by all means: Shut the fuck up, you train-flattened coin of a person.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Shhhhh

" We all know that Trump would have been completely censored if Twitter felt they could get away with it."

No, what we know if that Twitter allow Trump almost free reign to post whatever he wants, despite flagrantly violating all of their community standards in ways that normally get people banned.

Typical for you, Twitter go out of their way to give the Mango Mussolini special treatment, and you still launch into a conspiracy theory about how they’re somehow biased against him.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Shhhhh

"The extra clicks and functionality elimination were designed so that the monopoly apologists could say "but he wasn’t totally censored"."

Were you clutching your pearl and heading for the fainting couch while trying to formulate just how upset you are that the majority of your audience chose not to hear you out?

Damn, Koby, your act has been slipping lately. Too many forums you need to spam with "People shouldn’t be allowed to throw me out of their own property!" rhetoric?

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Shhhhh

We all know that Trump would have been completely censored if Twitter felt they could get away with it.

You know Koby, you keep dodging this comment about why Trump just doesn’t pack his virtual shit and fuck off over to Parler. Why does he continue to give Twitter free advertising revenue via his presence on Twitter? That doesn’t seem very stable geniusy.

Why doesn’t he go ask Melania for his balls so he can nut up and close his Twitter account and freeze peach all over Parler without problems? Same for all you other whiny, complaining, do-nothing shit-posters who are censored because you’re assholes (which is synonymous with "persecuted conservative").

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Shhhhh

The idiot in chief also claimed the flu kills sometimes more than 100k people per year with the implication that those are American deaths. That is patently false.

Face it: Everything that falls out of his face or fingertips is bullshit. We can’t trust anything he says. He is completely untrustworthy and unfit to be president of this nation or even a manager at a gas station.

Until you have actual studies to back up claims that the flu is [now] more deadly than COVID-19 just shut the fuck up and stop spreading potentially false information. You’ve suckled at the teat of stupid for too long.

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Rocky says:

Re: Shhhhh

It’s funny how social distancing and other protective measures lowers IFR, it’s almost like that was the thought behind it…

The number of influenza cases this year is about 2.3%, which is way lower than the normal +20%. Influenza has a mortality rate about 0.1% and Covid-19 about 1% (dependent on access to health-care) which means statistically that about ~7500 people (330 million x 2.3% x 0.1%) will die of influenza in the USA. Even a bad influenza year with a 25% infection rate only yields about 82,500 deaths, Covid-19 is at +200,000 deaths so far.

Whoever says influenza is deadlier than Covid-19 is either a fool or someone with an agenda that doesn’t include you and your health.

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Koby (profile) says:

Re: Re: Shhhhh

The number of influenza cases this year is about 2.3%, which is way lower than the normal +20%.

Certainly, the number of cases can decrease when the country is on lockdown. But that doesn’t change the IFR, or Infection Fatality Rate. It reduces fatalities by reducing the number of people who contract the disease. The IFR largely stays the same.

As an example, one website covidus dot com is reporting 30846 cases in the US and 541 deaths for today 10/07/20. So 1.7%, much better than the numbers from April, and also there’s the problem of the 2 week time lag between contraction and death, but I’ll keep going. If someone saved the case load from 2 weeks ago, perhaps we can recalculate later.

Now this is the CFR, not the IFR, and of course the IFR is much lower than the CFR. What percentage of infected need to go to the hospital? How many people are non-symptomatic? Estimates put it at a factor of 10, so now we’re down to 0.17%. But people age 65 and older account for 80% of the deaths, so now we’re down to 0.035% for the remainder age groups. So it’s looking better for many than the 0.1% IFR for influenza.

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Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re: Shhhhh

Did you miss the numbers that said 7759406 confirmed cases and 216456 deaths which amounts to an CFR of 2.8% so far? Picking weeks with favorable numbers is like declaring a winner in a race by looking at who ran the fastest at a small part of the track.

From statistics available the projected IFR for COVID is 1% with a functioning health-care system, which is still 10x higher than the influenza unless you want to compare it to the Spanish flu which had an IFR of about 2% (which probably would have been much lower if the standard of health-care where equivalent to today’s).

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Shhhhh

Yes, the biggest problem with this isn’t going to be deaths, it’s the long term health problems inflicted on a population with limited access to real healthcare. Add to the fact that it seems that people who have it aren’t automatically immune long term, and that’s a major crisis coming up.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Shhhhh

There’s a term for people suffering chronic symptoms from their Covid-19 infection; Long-haulers.

No one knows, yet, for how long a covid infectee will be impaired, or in which ways with the heart, brain, and lungs catching the most of what appears to be permanent damage.

So when we say, for the US, a 200k+ death toll we shouldn’t forget it may very well be orders of magnitude as many who survived but will be suffering permanent disabilitating effects.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

Also: Any damage from COVID-19 would likely count as a “preëxisting condition”. The Trump administration is literally fighting to undo the entire Affordable Care Act — including the provisions that protect people with preëxisting conditions. The Trump administration has both allowed a catastrophic pandemic to occur (and continue) and argued in court that people with COVID infections essentially shouldn’t have access to affordable healthcare.

Christ, I wish this country would pull its collective head out of its ass and institute nationalized healthcare.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

"Any damage from COVID-19 would likely count as a “preëxisting condition”."

I swear, every time I’m reminded of how things work in the US, particularly when it comes to health care, I start wondering "People want to live there why, again?".

"Christ, I wish this country would pull its collective head out of its ass and institute nationalized healthcare."

I’m fairly convinced that just isn’t doable. Too many americans grew up believing the concept of "society" does not exist and that anyone who can’t afford healthcare must surely themselves be to blame for being too shortsighted to lay aside the money.

I can’t help but think there’s something fundamentally wrong with the US concept of "society" – it doesn’t appear to have moved very far past pure tribalism.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

I’m fairly convinced that just isn’t doable. Too many americans grew up believing the concept of "society" does not exist and that anyone who can’t afford healthcare must surely themselves be to blame for being too shortsighted to lay aside the money.

I’m not sure if it’s a society thing so much as a mix of ‘everything happens for a reason’ religious propaganda and the toxic side of ‘anyone can be successful if they work hard enough’, with the first being used to justify terrible things happening either because ‘it’s all part of god’s plan’ or because someone could only suffer like that if the had it coming, and the latter leading to the idea that when work equals success then obviously if someone has it rough it’s not because of bad luck or no opportunities it’s because they’re lazy and simply won’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

Mix in a wildly successful campaign to vilify anything ‘socialist’ with assertions that nationalized healthcare would be socialist and suggesting national healthcare becomes the equivalent of spitting in god’s face to benefit lazy people, in the form of instituting a tool of the filthy commies to take money away from hard working, god fearing americans and give it to lazy socialist commies.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

"…the first being used to justify terrible things happening either because ‘it’s all part of god’s plan’ or because someone could only suffer like that if the had it coming, and the latter leading to the idea that when work equals success then obviously if someone has it rough it’s not because of bad luck or no opportunities…"

What really gets to me is that that particular ideology – the mix of divine plan and the chosen people where only the strong will prosper…can be aptly summarized as the core of feudalist ideology (and several other variants of millenialism, including nazism).

Ironically the US was very much key in suppressing that ideology in europe not too long ago so it’s really depressing to realize how it now prospers in the US.

"…suggesting national healthcare becomes the equivalent of spitting in god’s face to benefit lazy people, in the form of instituting a tool of the filthy commies to take money away from hard working, god fearing americans and give it to lazy socialist commies."

Yeah. The extension of american logic in this regard is that everyone should build their own roads, power lines and water supplies. It’s as if everyone’s a borderline prepper thinking any resources spent on infrastructure from which all may benefit is wasted.

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Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Shhhhh

We have developed a number of treatments for coronavirus

None of which are considered sure things — many of which are still ongoing testing. And some of the early promising treatments have since been shown not to work. So, no, we haven’t really developed successful treatments that we know of.

and we understand it a lot better than we did 30 weeks ago.

That’s true. Because we knew basically fuck all 30 weeks ago. But knowing 1% instead of 0% still doesn’t help that much. And it’s still killing 1,000 people a day in the US. So what’s your point?

Fatality rates have been falling

Barely. And it’s STILL worse than the flu, by a lot.

And if you compare the recent IFR of coronavirus to the influenza IFR, you might actually have a lower survival rate from influenza, depending on your age and preexisting conditions.

Oh, I see. If you throw out all of the data that proves what you’re saying is bullshit, then you can make a meaningless point to support your Fox News propaganda.

Koby: you’re a terrible person. People like you are getting other people killed. You should stop it.

But we can’t talk about that here or we might get censored.

You’re not getting censored. People are telling you that you’re a deluded and dangerous moron.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

'You win, here's your loss.'

The punchline of course is that if the idiots attacking 230 from either side actually ‘won’ they would almost immediately be screaming about how ‘this wasn’t what you were supposed to do!’

Those complaining that social media took down too much would find out how much restraint social media was able to exercise thanks to 230, restraint that was no longer viable with 230 gone, and those that thought that not enough was being taken down would find out that the content that was left up included stuff on their side as well, content that was now being taken down because no platform would want to risk liability and would be taking down anything that even might get them in trouble, assuming they allowed posting at all.

ECA (profile) says:

DEAR who-ever.

THINK HARD, before opening mouth.(not intended for those here)
I agree with the article.

LET IT HAPPEN, it wont last long.
But they will fill it back in, and make it TONS more complicated and place holes in it so that only Certain groups may NOT be edited.

Can you see every political statement being DUMPED, because the other side will SUE?

If this happens. how many other laws that protect NEWS/News papers/TV/ every magazine from ‘Boys life’ to ‘Hustler’ Can/will be affected?

There could be 1 stance. That the posted data IS NOT distributed. It is only Local as to the server. And those in the Forums/chats, COME to them. We do not GOTO any user.
Like every book in the library, you must GO get the book. it aint coming to you. And we have enough protections on book burning to subscribe to this idea.

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