Ted Cruz Once Insisted That Net Neutrality Was The Gov't Takeover Of The Internet; Now Demands That Twitter Host All Nonsense

from the that's-not-how-any-of-this-works dept

I guess Senator Ted Cruz was getting jealous of Senator Josh Hawley for monopolizing the “I’m a constitutional lawyer who doesn’t understand the 1st Amendment when it comes to internet content moderation” space, and has jumped in as well. He has announced that he’s going to issue a subpoena to get Jack Dorsey to come justify what he falsely claims is “election interference.”

Let’s be clear here. Like Senator Hawley yesterday, Senator Cruz is full of shit. And, like Hawley, Cruz is a constitutional lawyer who knows this is bullshit. Like Hawley, Cruz has now sent silly, laughable letters to Twitter and Facebook.

And, of course, it really was not that long ago when I remember this very same Ted Cruz screaming about the evils of the “government takeover of the internet.” To him, the idea of net neutrality was “Obamacare for the internet” and he decried:

Washington politicians want the money, and they want more and more control over our speech.

That… describes Ted Cruz trying to punish a company for its editorial decisions. That same article has some other choice quotes that can now be thrown back at him:

[W]e must promote growth in the technological sector, a consistent bright spot for the U.S. economy. But we won?t realize more of that dynamic growth unless we keep the Internet free from the kind of unnecessary regulation that is strangling our health-care, energy and banking industries.

And yet, here he is threatening regulations to strangle growth of the technology sector.

In 2012, those who care about Internet freedom were shocked as bills such as the Stop Online Piracy and Protect IP acts, which would regulate speech on the Internet under the guise of protecting property rights, started gaining popularity in Washington. Thankfully, online activists were quick to mobilize to protect their free-speech rights. But we must remain vigilant. Intellectual property must be defended, but any threat to quell speech on the Internet must be treated seriously and subsequently defeated.

The same activists who were “shocked” by SOPA and PIPA are the ones pointing out that Ted Cruz’s attacks on Section 230 are an even bigger threat to quell speech on the internet and need to be treated seriously and defeated. It’s just that Ted Cruz is the one now championing these efforts at censorship.

And for anyone trying to defend Ted Cruz right now, here’s a basic question: how would you respond if a Democratic Senator stood up and said he or she was going to subpoena the CEOs of Fox News or Breitbart to discuss their “bias” in covering the election? People would be throwing an absolute and total shitfit about how unconstitutional that is. And yet, here we have a Republican Senator threatening a company for its own editorial decisions. Ted Cruz’s grandstanding on this issue is, itself, a violation of the 1st Amendment. It is an attempt to punish a private company for its own 1st Amendment protected editorial discretion. And no one should let a grandstanding Cruz get away with this nonsense.

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Comments on “Ted Cruz Once Insisted That Net Neutrality Was The Gov't Takeover Of The Internet; Now Demands That Twitter Host All Nonsense”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

'We care about the constitution! ... so long as it serves us'

Republicans: The party of ‘Small Government and Law and Order!*’

*Some restrictions apply, see party platform for full details. Small government and/or law and order may not be available in your area or for your company. Small government and/or law and order may be applied selectively depending on party affiliation or other factors, contact your republican representative to find out if you qualify for small government and/or law and order. Small government and/or law and order may result in blatant lies and glaring hypocrisy, if either of these symptoms persist longer than four years do not contact your representative, as these are known and expected side-effects. Small government and/or law and order may also result in persistent constipation leading to being constantly full of shit, to address this issue please accuse anyone not on your side of your own misdeads.

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Ted Cruz is an embarassment to Texas

I can only assume that Ted Cruz is still in place as a US Senator because Texas is so gerrymandered that they can’t break the lock-in.

They should be able to find a smarter person among themselves that is much less of an asshat on the national stage — unless Texas Republicans want someone who is an asshat on the national stage. There does seem to be a lot of conflation lately between asshattery and political savvy, which again makes me question the integrity of our education system.

According to demographic analytics, Texas is actually rather purple, so without gerrymandering, the Democrats might actually pose a real threat in Texas, but the same factors keeping the democrats at bay seem to also be keeping competence at bay as well.

Democracy, like politics, doesn’t work without a robust competitive market.

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Thad (profile) says:

Re: Ted Cruz is an embarassment to Texas

I can only assume that Ted Cruz is still in place as a US Senator because Texas is so gerrymandered that they can’t break the lock-in.

That’s…not how the Senate works.

Gerrymandering affects the House. Senators are elected by statewide popular vote.

Ted Cruz is still a senator because Texas is still Republican.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Ted Cruz is an embarassment to Texas

But gerrymandering allows Republicans to control election rules that enable voter suppression. Case in point, the governor’s order for only 1 ballot dropbox in each country. Harris County is roughly the size of Connecticut and home to Houston which is the 4th largest city in the nation. It is true, traditionally Texas isn’t a red state. It was blue for decades. Some of us still remember when Ann Richards was governor governor and Lloyd Benson was a long time senator. Since then, Texas hasn’t been a red state but rather a non-voting and voter suppressed purple state. However I think that is changing thanks to the Trump administration.

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Oliver Snacks Argon says:

Re: A. Stephen Stone, the gov't is for WE THE PEOPLE.

Yet again, your focus is not individuals, but a worry that corporations, mere legal fictions, might have to SERVE even conservatives with some fairness.

You and Masnick are now fully out in the open. "Free Speech" to you means only that which you approve of, the leftist, globalist agenda.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

your focus is not individuals

Assume you get your fever dream of a wish and Twitter ends up forced to host all speech. What do you think will happen to the individual users who counted on Twitter’s moderation to stop harassment, spam, and other such filth from reaching the “doorsteps” of those users? Because it sure as shit won’t be “they’ll thank Twitter for hosting all that bullshit”.

"Free Speech" to you means only that which you approve of

If someone wants to use their rights for the sake of sending racial slurs to Black people on social media, that is their right and I can’t stop it. But I don’t have to condone it — and if I were running the social media service in question, I sure as hell wouldn’t have to host it.

Now please: Explain why the government should force Twitter into allowing racists to expose Twitter’s Black users to racial slurs.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: A. Stephen Stone, the gov't is for WE THE PEOPLE.

Free speech has only ever meant that the government cannot stop you standing on your soap box, or publishing at your own expense. It allows, but does not mandate, that others may help you publish, or enter a contract to publish your words. Such assistance is on a voluntary basis, but you want to compel that assistance like a good little fascist.

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Compelling publication of political speech

Oh I’m sure that our fascist friends only want to compel state-aligned speech. When it comes to the leftist, globalist agenda or any other speech that runs against regime interests, they’re happy to burn books in the town square, or guillotine them for treason at Stadelheim Prison.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: A. Stephen Stone, the gov't is for WE THE PEOPLE.

"Yet again, your focus is not individuals, but a worry that corporations, mere legal fictions, might have to SERVE even conservatives with some fairness."

Because that’s how capitalism works? Fairness is something governments, not individuals and certainly not corporations are beholden to.

"You and Masnick are now fully out in the open. "Free Speech" to you means only that which you approve of, the leftist, globalist agenda."

He said, having delivered a full rant in favor of actual communism where the corporation and the individual all need to abstain from control over their private property. Because that’s what you argue for in your very first sentence.

Ah, I keep forgetting how badly you tend to lead pipe your own arguments. It’s refreshing to have you back, somehow.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: A. Stephen Stone, the gov't is for WE THE PEOPLE.

"SERVE even conservatives with some fairness."

Not quite sure what you mean by fairness but I assume that means that you get to blab all you want whilst others are mysteriously kept quiet as though they all agree.

As far as serving .. I refuse. If you do not have to "serve", then neither do I.

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Oliver Snacks Argon says:

The First Amendment is to guarantee free and open Public Forums.

NOT corporate-controlled "platforms" as you wish, arbitrarily discriminate against viewpoints — as you practice right here.

Net Neutrality was NEVER about Forums, but privileges paid for from the Obama administration so that large corporations (prominently GOOGLE, Youtube, Netflix) wouldn’t be charged for using everyone else’s bandwidth. — Fairness would be large users paying proportionately to bandwidth, right?

This is in no way contradictory, and not even vaguely related. You’re just getting down to level of your fanboys, mixing disparate items as if have discovered amazing news.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The First Amendment is to guarantee free and open Public For

Net neutrality was and is about preventing the likes of Comcast deciding what sites on the Internet you can use, nothing more and nothing less. It should include prohibition on practices like placing Comcast streaming services outside of data caps which impact the use of the likes of Netflix, which is a subtle way of controlling what services on the Internet that you use.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

The First Amendment is to guarantee free and open Public Forums.

And if Twitter, Facebook, or any given Mastodon instance were public forums, that might mean something. But even the Supreme Court — the highest court in the land! — said they’re not. So…I mean, damn, you’re shit out of luck on that argument.

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: The State Option, maybe?

Perhaps if enough of our government wants so much to create public forums that must adhere to public rules, they could create a state option.

Is there anything stopping the US federal government from starting social media services on the internet that are comparable to Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, 4Chan or whatever?

If they did, they might have some better understanding of the challenges of mass moderation. I suspect also, it might iron out all the exceptions we have to free speech. (say, cat-slaying videos)

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The State Option, maybe?

Is there anything stopping the US federal government from starting social media services on the internet that are comparable to Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, 4Chan or whatever?

Funding, expertise, but I think the biggest issue is that even they know that any such platform, a true ‘free speech site’ that allowed any speech that was legal because the first amendment would bar almost all moderation, would very quickly turn into a festering cesspit, showing just how stupid and unworkable the idea really is and more to the point what they are trying to turn the current social media platforms into by demanding that the government prohibit moderation.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The US National Cesspit Public Forum

A free speech forum that has the sensibilities of 4chan/b would serve the nation not only as a place where radicals can express their opinions without moderation, but also as a sounding board where the ordinary citizen can identify what they can say.

Prurient contents aside, a political campaign, for instance, might be able to post ads there and have them combed for falsehood, incitement to violence or any other questionable content.

Of course that presumes we’re in a society that cares about fair play, which presently we are clearly not.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 The US National Cesspit Public Forum

"Prurient contents aside, a political campaign, for instance, might be able to post ads there and have them combed for falsehood, incitement to violence or any other questionable content."

Except, that wouldn’t happen. What would happen is that most normal thinking people would avoid the place at all costs, while the scum of the Earth now have a new playground to wallow in their worst excesses, paid for by the US government. A place unique in the sense that it would be the one place that was actually legally prevented from moderating their "political" speech.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Seconded. A village idiot may be good for cheap laughs for the really bored or easily amused but when you’re talking about one that thinks it’s hilarious to shit in the village square and roll around in it on a regular basis, daring others to sink to their level and do the same(something no few fall for), that is something that can easily be done without, as they bring nothing of value and only make a mess of things.

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Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: The First Amendment is to guarantee free and open Public For

In the real world:

At no time was Net Neutrality, even a little bit, related to the fiction of "large corporations wouldn’t be charged for using everyone else’s bandwidth."

"Only being paid once for providing service once instead of triple-dipping" =/= "giving service for free"

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: The First Amendment is to guarantee free and open Public For

It is interesting that after so many years of lying about net neutrality, you still have to invent new lies.

"Fairness would be large users paying proportionately to bandwidth, right?"

…which is why they pay for their bandwidth, as do the customers signed up to their service. That’s 2 parties paying for the same connection. We oppose them being charged a 3rd time for the same bandwidth.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: The First Amendment is to guarantee free and open Public For

"Net Neutrality was NEVER about Forums, but privileges paid for from the Obama administration so that large corporations (prominently GOOGLE, Youtube, Netflix) wouldn’t be charged for using everyone else’s bandwidth."

As usual your "facts" appear to be drawn from smoking crack – butt or pipe, take your pick.

No, net neutrality was never about forums. It was about broadband providers not simultaneously being able to lock-out competing content providers, thus preventing monopolization of the infrastructure. I’m not sure what Obama had to do with that other than your feverish desire to squeak in a "But Obama!" just for the sake of your Alt-right Bingo card.

And why should Google, Youtube or Netflix pay a single cent when they weren’t the ones using a single kbsec of bandwidth?

Because that would be the consumers who had already paid for that bandwidth and were using the aforementioned services.

As usual you keep turning cause and effect on it’s head, claiming that the seller of a service must be the one paying, rather than the one who ACTUALLY MADE THE PURCHASE.

"This is in no way contradictory…"

I assume your "complete pants-on-fire lie from start to end" can’t be considered a contradiction, then?

Pro tip once again, Bobmail – when your assertions are too wildly off target they no longer sow confusion or conflate – they just point straightaway to the actual truth of the matter. Next time just don’t try to make the argument that the ISP should get to double-dip content providers over bandwidth already bought and paid for by the consumers.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The First Amendment is to guarantee free and open Public For

"arbitrarily discriminate against viewpoints"

Arbitrarily? Moderating claims about injecting bleach is not arbitrary as it is based upon medical science … oh yeah, you do not believe in science. How can the belief that injecting bleach will cure covid be considered a viewpoint?

Net neutrality … is "privileges paid for from the Obama administration"???

"wouldn’t be charged for using everyone else’s bandwidth"
Ignorance is a hell of a drug.

Anonymous Coward says:

Somebody remind the political parties that they have their own websites where they can post whatever they want, and even allow the electorate to contribute to the political discussion. That allows people to find out what they are saying without any risk of moderation by third parties. Turning social media into political mouthpieces will create the impression that they want authoritarian rule…..

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Well, I didn’t tell the political parties, but when Hawley reared up on his hind legs and brayed that "of course Wyden is delusional", him I did tell.

… no, that’s wrong. I told his staff that they needed to school him in the ways of the REAL internet. ’cause there’s no way he’d read "fan mail" from his own web site himself. Gotta think of the plausible deniability here.

Bloof (profile) says:

Republican policy is a lot like golden age superman, where he was legendary for developing new powers as the plot demanded, from super jellybean counting to super knitting. In the republican case, they produce policy according to whatever the nonsense argument du jour is, even if it directly contradicts what they wanted last week, and while Superman is immune to bullets, they’re immune to hypocrisy as let’s face it, nobody expects better from them.

jmht says:

Eh?

I’m no fan of Sen Cruz’s selective rights either, but Facebook and Twitter are exercising their "editorial rights"? What editorial rights? They are not publishers. That’s what gives them cover under 230. If you really want to point out the double-speak here, "editing" isn’t it. Remember, it’s also the Republicans spouting bias are the same ones demanding censorship when the platforms allowed posts that they didn’t like and wanted to hold the platforms liable for the posts of their users. (Of course the Dems, too, have a problem with this.) Frankly, it’s a rather untenable situation – they’re "just" platforms, but they’re responsible for all manner of things. And if they act on this "responsibility", then they’re unfairly censoring "free speech" (truth be damned)

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

Facebook and Twitter are exercising their "editorial rights"? What editorial rights?

The editorial rights granted to them by virtue of owning and operating their individual interactive web services — that’s which ones. When you own your own social media service, you can decide what will and won’t be allowed on the service, too.

They are not publishers.

And if either the First Amendment or Section 230 made mention of “publishers”, you might have a point.

they’re "just" platforms, but they’re responsible for all manner of things

Just not the things you think they are.

And if they act on this "responsibility", then they’re unfairly censoring "free speech" (truth be damned)

They’re not censoring anything unless they’ve somehow managed to delete the speech being moderated from the entire Internet and prevent it from being reposted literally anywhere else on the Internet. Moderation of your speech on a privately owned platform that you don’t control doesn’t infringe upon your First Amendment rights.

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Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Eh?

I’m no fan of Sen Cruz’s selective rights either, but Facebook and Twitter are exercising their "editorial rights"? What editorial rights?

They have editorial rights, to determine what speech they wish to host and which they do not.

They are not publishers. That’s what gives them cover under 230.

Um. No. There is no "publisher/platform" distinction under the law. Read here for more details: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200531/23325444617/hello-youve-been-referred-here-because-youre-wrong-about-section-230-communications-decency-act.shtml

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Ron Currier (profile) says:

Fake news

And we now know from various intelligence services that the whole Hunter Biden story that Guliani gave the Post was given to him by Russian operatives looking to undermine Biden. So Twitter and Facebook were correct in taking the story down. Why anyone continues to believe anything that comes out of Guliani’s mouth is beyond me.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

Twitter didn’t censor the article. It’s still available on the NY Post website, where it was originally published. What Twitter did was moderate speech — first by deleting the NY Post tweet that linked to the article, then by preventing the link from being posted by other users. At no point did Twitter prevent anyone from going to the website hosting the article and reading the article itself.

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Maybe you should think... says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yes, Twitter did censor the article. They censored it for users of their platform. Censoring is the act of suppressing or deleting information that a censor finds objectionable. That is exactly what happened.

Whether or not it is available somewhere else is irrelevant. If your definition of censorship were true, then I guess China never censors anything because the information people can’t obtain is actually still there.

Whether or not Twitter has the right to do that is another question entirely.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"Yes, Twitter did censor the article. They censored it for users of their platform"

So, you’re saying that any action taken by Twitter to moderate its own property is censorship, even though the article is completely unaffected elsewhere (and, in fact, the article probably has more views due to the right-wing temper tantrum than it would have done if Twitter did nothing)?

Do you apply the same standards to Breitbart, who by your claims censor at a rate far, far greater than anything Twitter have ever done?

"Whether or not Twitter has the right to do that is another question entirely."

…and the answer to that question is a resounding yes, they do have that right.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Censorship

"Yes, I don’t know much about Breitbart, but censoring is censoring"

Breitbart is a right-wing echo chamber that since its inception has blocked and deleted any user who dared inject facts into the echo chamber. It’s also one of the primary sources for the rabid nonsense spewed by right-wingers on mainstream social media, where they when whine when they get the same treatment they give to others.

"The whole point is keeping public discourse open, but also to keep it civil"

Yes, and then when people refuse to be civil, something that includes not spreading misinformation and lies as if they were fact, they get moderated.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

The whole point is keeping public discourse open, but also to keep it civil.

Public discourse can be messy and angry and all kinds of negative. Admins of services like Twitter should have the right to determine, by and for themselves, how far they’ll let that discourse go before they call it “too much” and start moderating.

Or would you rather have the government compel you to host (or not host) certain kinds of speech?

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Mandate to not host

We essentially have this when it comes to lonely hearts ads and sexual services ads, which are close enough to human trafficking to qualify for the 230 exception. Which killed porn (content containing nudity or sexuality, including LGBT+ sentiments) in non-anonymous media sharing like Tumblr.

Though Tumblr may be a coincidence — that policy changed right after Yahoo was bought up by Verizon, which is as prudish as Sony.

Though yeah, this blank-out is facilitated by a 230 exception, so it’s kinda the exception that proves the rule.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yes, Twitter did censor the article.

No, it didn’t.

They censored it for users of their platform.

No, they didn’t. Twitter users could go to the NY Post website and find the article there or go through a link offered on any other website outside of Twitter to read the article.

Censoring is the act of suppressing or deleting information that a censor finds objectionable. That is exactly what happened.

It would be…if Twitter had the ability to infringe upon someone’s First Amendment rights. But since it doesn’t, it couldn’t (and still can’t) stop the NY Post from publishing the article, Twitter users from going elsewhere and linking to the article, or discussion of the article itself on Twitter. Moderation is not censorship; if it were, no interactive web service would have the right to decide what speech is and isn’t acceptable on that service and moderate accordingly.

Whether or not it is available somewhere else is irrelevant.

It, uh…it kind of is relevant.

If your definition of censorship were true, then I guess China never censors anything because the information people can’t obtain is actually still there.

Nah, the Chinese government censors the shit out of the Internet in China by making illegal the publishing and distributing of certain kinds of speech. The key difference between Twitter and the Chinese government is the Chinese government has the power to infringe upon the rights of its citizens, whereas Twitter does not have the power to infringe upon anyone’s rights anywhere. Or do you believe Twitter censored Alex Jones, who can still broadcast his bile via InfoWars, when Twitter admins kicked him off Twitter for violating the rules?

Whether or not Twitter has the right to do that is another question entirely.

Yes, it is. And that question has been settled law for many, many years now: Twitter admins do have the legal right to moderate speech on Twitter (and only on Twitter).

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Maybe you should think... says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Censorship

Yes, it did censor, by definition. While you are entitled to your own opinion, you can’t get around definitions of words. Even when you attempt to use double speak.

What you call "moderating" is censorship. You can find many good dictionaries on the internet if you need one.

Also your attempt at settling the matter by saying it has been settled by law for many, many years now is also untrue. There are several cases at different levels of litigation. Again a little googling will help you there. And, looking like there is more to come now, thanks to their unwise actions. As long as there is litigation it is not settled.

Your example of the difference between the Chinese government and Twitter is also incorrect. You seem to think that only government can infringe on people’s rights. First, in China the people only have the rights that the government gives them. In America our country is founded on the belief that everyone is born with certain rights and the government’s responsibility is to protect them. So, they don’t make them illegal, if they were not given the right they don’t have them. Second, anyone or any company has the power to infringe on anothers rights whether through deleting tweets, or through personal intimidation, etc… What you seem to lack is an understanding of what is considered public discourse which goes along with understanding censorship.

This understanding of public discourse and censorship is what has protected social media platforms in the past. It has been that social media has been considered a "interactive computer service", so Sec 230 was applied and censorship was allowed. However the courts seem to be coming around to understanding them as a "information content provider". When/if that happens, sec 230 won’t save them anymore.

If you look at a more recent case where Trump was ordered to not block users from his twitter account, the decision specifically stated his account was seen as public discourse and therefore his blocking of accounts was seen by the court as censorship. This has essentially opened the door, I believe. Because we are now seeing litigation that is testing the boundaries of social media companies consideration as an "internet computer service", and pushing that they are "information content providers".

Not to mention, they seem to be getting the ire of too many people. Ultimately that could result in new laws. It will be interesting to see where it all goes.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Censorship

"You seem to think that only government can infringe on people’s rights"

Yes, people familiar with facts do tend to think such things.

"When/if that happens, sec 230 won’t save them anymore."

Nor will it save the right-wing cesspools you frequent that you’ve fooled yourself into thinking will be magically exempt from the government control you’re demanding.

"If you look at a more recent case where Trump was ordered to not block users from his twitter account, the decision specifically stated his account was seen as public discourse and therefore his blocking of accounts was seen by the court as censorship"

Yes, his account, not Twitter as a whole. Accounts not operated as official government communications channels like Trump’s account is are not affected by the decision.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

What you call "moderating" is censorship.

No, it isn’t. If I kick someone out of my home for saying “the live-action Speed Racer movie sucked”, have I censored them? Hell no — they can go anywhere else that will have them, in meat- or cyberspace, and say the exact same thing. I’ve moderated their speech by telling them it isn’t welcome on my property; I didn’t infringe upon their right to express their objectively wrong opinion.

your attempt at settling the matter by saying it has been settled by law for many, many years now is also untrue

No, it isn’t. The law, as it stands right this moment (and regardless of any pending or in-progress court cases), says Twitter has the absolute legal right to decide what speech it will host. If you had an actual argument against this point, you could cite the law, statute, or “common law” court ruling that says the law can force Twitter to host certain kinds of speech. Since you can’t do that, you don’t have an argument.

You seem to think that only government can infringe on people’s rights.

No, I don’t. I know that private institutions and private individuals can infringe upon the rights of others. The key difference between the Chinese government and Twitter admins, then, is that Twitter admins can’t infringe upon someone else’s right to speak freely because they can’t control where someone else chooses to speak. Twitter admins can only choose whether they’ll allow people to speak on Twitter — which is their absolute legal right, as we’ve already established.

What you seem to lack is an understanding of what is considered public discourse which goes along with understanding censorship.

Having participated in public discourse via Twitter and other outlets (including Techdirt’s comments section) for years, I know what it is. And I know that Twitter, Techdirt, or any other site/service telling me to GTFO because I broke the rules (or because they plain don’t like me) doesn’t violate my civil rights in any way. If Twitter actively tried to suppress my speech on every website other than Twitter, maybe you would have a point. But they don’t (and can’t), so you don’t.

social media has been considered a "interactive computer service", so Sec 230 was applied and censorship was allowed

You mean “moderation”. Moderation is not censorship. If it were, you could legally sue Twitter for violating your First Amendment rights every time an admin/moderator deleted one of your tweets. But you can’t. Because telling you “we don’t do that here” and pointing to the rules isn’t violating your civil rights. It’s telling you that if you keep breaking the rules, you’re going to lose your spot on their property — a spot, might I add, to which you aren’t entitled.

the courts seem to be coming around to understanding them as a "information content provider"

[citation needed]

If you look at a more recent case where Trump was ordered to not block users from his twitter account, the decision specifically stated his account was seen as public discourse and therefore his blocking of accounts was seen by the court as censorship.

And if you look at that case closer, you’ll see that the decision was limited to Trump’s account specifically because the courts ruled that Trump using his account to conduct official government business made it a public forum of sorts. Trump can’t legally block American citizens from replying to (or viewing) his tweets because they technically count as government speech, and the government can’t block the citizens it serves from reading and responding to that speech. It didn’t rule that Twitter as a whole, or any other social media service, was a public forum.

This has essentially opened the door, I believe.

You believe wrongly.

we are now seeing litigation that is testing the boundaries of social media companies consideration as an "internet computer service", and pushing that they are "information content providers"

Y’know what’s funny? The same law that allows Twitter to avoid liability for third party speech is the same law that allows Breitbart and InfoWars to do the same. And since a court can reasonably infer that those two sites are “information content providers” (regardless of the veracity of that information), any change to 230 would affect all three sites regardless of that “classification issue” you think is an actual thing.

230 isn’t a law that protects social media sites. It protects all websites that accept third-party submissions, and the users of those websites, from being held liable for the speech of others. Mike Masnick can’t be held accountable for any of my comments, and neither he nor I can be held accountable for any replies to our individual comments. It also protects you from that same liability. Be thankful this is the case.

they seem to be getting the ire of too many people. Ultimately that could result in new laws.

And any law that tries to control what speech Twitter can and cannot, will and will not, must and must not host will run into a damned strong roadblock that’s been around for a couple of centuries: the First Amendment.

But I have to wonder: How badly do you want the government to take over Twitter and force it to host any and all legally protected speech? Because compelled speech and compelled association are in clear violation of the First Amendment, and if you’re going to root for the government in that instance, I’d have to wonder why.

You can’t make other people associate with you or listen to your speech. You’re not entitled to use someone else’s private property as your own personal soapbox. You have the right to speak freely; whether someone wants to listen or help you spread your speech is a decision they get to make for themselves. And neither you nor the government should be able to make that choice for them. If you think you can make a convincing argument for why every prior sentence in this paragraph shouldn’t be true…well, I wish you luck in that, because you’ll literally be arguing for fascism.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

"The same law that allows Twitter to avoid liability for third party speech is the same law that allows Breitbart and InfoWars to do the same"

It’s also worth noting that the reason why Alex Jones is getting his ass dragged through court for inspiring harassment of the relative if murder victims is because the same laws don’t shield him for the consequences of his own speech. These arguments boil down to people being held accountable for things they didn’t do, which is why no sane person supports a repeal if section 230.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: I agree with Techdirt on section 230. BUT

"Does Twitter have a right to censor major newspaper articles"

No, but that also don’t have the ability to do that. What they have the ability to do is moderate their own property, which private companies have been doing for centuries without issue.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Twitter is not blocking the NY Post story

As far as I know this story is still available on the NY Post site.
There are many ways to access this story other than Twitter.
What Twitter is doing is stopping people from posting links to the story.

People make it sound like this story has now disappeared from the web and nobody can go and read it.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Twitter is not blocking the NY Post story

Keep in mind you’re dealing with people who seem to think that if you can’t speak on one social media platform that means you’ve been silenced entirely, it’s entirely consistent though still laughably wrong for them to argue that if you can’t see a particular story on one platform it means it’s gone entirely.

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dickeyrat says:

Teddy Cruz is merely following his obligation of duty to The Party, in knowing that anything and everything that may benefit The Party is not only allowable, but also wields the obligation for full promotion and promulgation, by its starry-eyed upholders, enablers and worshipers. Ah, but just give us two or three more years of TrumpWorld, and we’ll see a Cabinet-level "Secretary of Information", who will regulate and assure such things (probably Sean Hannity or Alex Jones will fill the bill nicely). Hey, it gave Goebbels steady work back in the ’30s and ’40s, so why not now? Or at least by 2023 or 2024?

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