Bad Analogy: Comparing Social Media To Guns

from the no,-no,-no dept

We’ve been seeing all sorts of really dumb analogies lately as people try to complain about social media. During the recent Senate hearing about social media and content moderation, Senators from both parties compared social media to cigarette smoking, somehow ignoring the fact that in that analogy the “tobacco” is “1st Amendment protected speech.” But Reuters decided to one up that and compare social media companies to gunmakers. And, if that sounds incredibly stupid as a concept, reading the actual article makes it worse. Much worse.

Guns and social networks have several things in common. Many people enjoy them responsibly, but in the wrong hands they?re dangerous. Yet both enjoy an unfair subsidy in the form of legal protections that shield them from the actions of their users. That can?t last forever.

I mean… what? The article argues that Section 230 is an “unfair subsidy” in the same way that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act is an “unfair subsidy” to gunmakers. But, in both cases, these laws aren’t a subsidy. They’re both laws that properly apply liability to those committing the crimes, and in doing so, creating rules that help protect key Constitutional rights.

Without these shields, both industries would change radically. Gun-rights supporters claim that without PLCAA, a sector with 47,000 workers would go bust. That?s probably hyperbole. But lawsuits and safety features would impose legal costs and make guns more expensive to produce. For social media, more active moderation would mean more employees. Users would have to get more used to the idea that their Facebook or Twitter posts aren?t free.

I don’t know how changing the PLCAA would impact gun makers, but this article takes a huge fucking leap in assuming that removing 230 would “mean more employees” and “more active moderation.” After all, pre-230, the courts seemed to be zeroing in on using traditional distributor liability concepts, which would mean that there was a knowledge standard to create liability. And thus, without 230, you’d be likely to see the opposite in many cases: fewer moderators, fewer employees, and less moderation. More lawyers, though.

Or you’d get the other extreme: a few specialized sites, with very, very heavy handed moderation, which would effectively be true gatekeepers for speech, and not the open arenas for discussion we see today.

Facebook and Twitter have an edge over gunsmiths. They know their legal impunity is threatened and are trying to get ahead of the problem. Dorsey and Zuckerberg have welcomed Section 230 changes. That?s sensible, because they can help reset the rules. Compared with gunmakers, they?ll then be better equipped to survive when their magical armor is taken away.

What? Dorsey and Zuckerberg support narrowly tailored reform (mainly around transparency reporting) in part because they know that they can handle the regulatory burden to deal with the increased liability. All the smaller companies and individual websites could not.

Bad analogies are not useful in understanding how free speech works online — and comparing social media to gunmakers is particularly ridiculous. And, how does it compare to guns? In this analogy, with guns people get killed. In social media… people say dumb stuff? And that needs to somehow be regulated? Really?

It’s really not that difficult to understand how Section 230 works, and the kinds of things that would happen if it were removed. You’d think that a media organization like Reuters would at least make sure the stories its publishing would understand basic concepts. After all, as a publisher, they’re “liable” for whatever they publish.

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Comments on “Bad Analogy: Comparing Social Media To Guns”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

'Equal protection under the law is an unfair subsidy!'

Facebook and Twitter have an edge over gunsmiths. They know their legal impunity is threatened and are trying to get ahead of the problem. Dorsey and Zuckerberg have welcomed Section 230 changes. That’s sensible, because they can help reset the rules. Compared with gunmakers, they’ll then be better equipped to survive when their magical armor is taken away.

Here, let me fix that for you:

Facebook and Twitter have an edge over gunsmiths. They know their legal impunity from being held liable for the actions of third parties is threatened and are trying to get ahead of the problem. Dorsey and Zuckerberg have welcomed Section 230 changes. That’s sensible, because they can survive the new rules. Compared with gunmakers, they’ll then be better equipped to survive when their magical armor is taken away, unlike potential competition that might have challenged their current positions and pressured them to improve.’

Of course major social media platforms are jumping on the ‘scrap/cripple 230’ bandwagon, they know that unlike smaller platforms that might have eventually grown large enough to compete with them they can survive that change, and if they can kill off competitors before those platforms have a chance to grow while a gutted 230 might be annoying to the likes of Twitter and Facebook they still come out way ahead.

I’d say those attacking 230 are really scraping the bottom of the barrel if this is the sort of dishonest garbage arguments they’re coming up with but since the anti-230 arguments have always been this bad it’s just par for the course really.

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B. Einder Twine proud graduate of Baler University says:

YOU assert that those are PRIVATE corporate-controlled outlets

… and not the open arenas for discussion we see today.

WAIT A SEC! YOU assert that those are PRIVATE corporate-controlled outlets, having total and arbitrary power:

"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

(I’m going to have to put that in a starting template, it’s so often handy when Maz pretends he’s a liberal, not blatant corporatist.)

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Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: YOU assert that those are PRIVATE corporate-controlled outle

I am perplexed at why you’ve spent 3 years constantly repeating a factual statement I’ve made about the 1st Amendment rights of companies as if that’s some sort of gotcha.

I mean, it’s the law. Do you have a problem with that?

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Given that he has spent the better part of a decade trolling this site — a blog he openly professes to hating, written by people he openly professes to hating — after someone delivered to him an insult so mild that it makes mayonnaise seem like hot sauce, “mental illness” seems like the obvious answer.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"OK, they hate some other commenters too, and at least one insists several aren’t real."

I assume by "they" you mean Baghdad Bob’s assorted one-man-army of sock puppets? It’s somehow ironic that after he got caught red-handed trying to present "unified" fronts of half a dozen cheerleader accounts he started nagging about how everyone else was really Mike Masnick. His latest iteration of that plot is where CIA and Google are paying Masnick to silence that lonely Voice in the wilderness Baghdad Bob appears to think himself to be. He’s sort of living proof about that old line which starts with "If everyone you meet is an asshole…".

By now I’m not sure whether he’s genuine basketcase-levels of mentally ill or just such a pinnacle of pathetic he considers spending ten years shitposting gibberish time well spent.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: YOU assert that those are PRIVATE corporate-controlled o

I am perplexed at why you’ve spent 3 years constantly repeating a factual statement I’ve made about the 1st Amendment rights of companies as if that’s some sort of gotcha.

Because you advocate that the First Amendment, the very guarantor of Free Speech, actually empower corporations to TOTAL ARBITRARY of what are supposed to be NEUTRAL PUBLIC FORUMS.

Engage that, it’s clear enough even for you.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 YOU assert that those are PRIVATE corporate-cont

What is a neutral public forum? Is that supposed to be the town square?

I find it interesting that some people think the old proverbial town square was a neutral place where they could freely exchange ideas.

Many times the town square was used to humiliate those who did not conform, by putting them in the stockade where the fine upstanding citizenry was allowed to toss things at them.

Neutral forum my ass, what they want is far from neutral.

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Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: YOU assert that those are PRIVATE corporate-controll

Because you advocate that the First Amendment, the very guarantor of Free Speech, actually empower corporations to TOTAL ARBITRARY of what are supposed to be NEUTRAL PUBLIC FORUMS.

I don’t advocate for that. It literally is the law, under the 1st Amendment. As has been explained to you multiple times. Just as I am free to kick someone off of my personal property, so to am I allowed to moderate forums I own. This is just basic property law 101.

The line about "NEUTRAL PUBLIC FORUMS" is nonsense gibberish. No one claims to be a neutral public forum, and it’s a meaningless term that has no meaning under the law. Even if a private site declared itself a "neutral public forum," as a private site, they could always change the conditions at a later date.

Don’t like it? Start your own "neutral public forum" and deal with it how you want. Have fun dealing with spam, harassment, and abuse, though.

Again, though, all of this is explaining what the law is. And you seem to think that it’s some "gotcha" that people, including myself, are explaining to you what the law is. If you want the law to be something else, explain what you think it should be and debate it honestly.

Of course, you doing anything "honestly" has been shown to be impossible. As for your other complaints, people here to not stifle "dissent." I’ve seen plenty of comments that remain visible (or are even voted highly on the "insightful" ranking) that disagree with myself or other authors. It’s just that they do so in an intellectually honest way.

The problem with you is that you refuse to act in an intellectually honest manner, and you make that clear every fucking day.

And, we’ve told you before, that if you didn’t act that way, didn’t constantly spam the comments, and didn’t constantly get those comments voted as spammish by the community, perhaps your comments wouldn’t hit the spam filter quite as often. And no, it’s not "admins" doing it. I honestly try to check the comments only a couple of times per day because I’ve got better things to do than deal with you throwing a temper tantrum.

Also, we’ve told you before that if you have LEGIT non-spammish/trollish comments that get caught in the spam filter, we DO let them through when we review the flagged comments. But, since you always feel the need to keep spamming until they get through we don’t let through your dozens of repeat comments from whatever sketchy proxy you use that our spam filter recognizes as a source of spammers.

In other words: argue honestly (not dishonestly), use facts (not nonsense), and don’t be an asshole.

Your track record on all three is terrible. If you fixed that, maybe you’d not be such a loser.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: YOU assert that those are PRIVATE corporate-controll

"Because you advocate that the First Amendment, the very guarantor of Free Speech, actually empower corporations to TOTAL ARBITRARY of what are supposed to be NEUTRAL PUBLIC FORUMS."

It’s amazing how many levels of fail you can pack into a simple sentence, Baghdad Bob. Bluntly put? You are wrong in every assertion;

1) No private platform is a neutral public forum or supposed to be. The only neutral public forums which exist is the public space. And no private property falls under that heading. None, full stop.

2) The guarantor of free speech, that 1st amendment, prevents governments from stifling your speech. No private individual or entity is bound to it. That’s true for just about all of the constitution, the UN human rights, the EU charter, and every other supreme principle to which a nation as a whole commits itself.

3) Corporations, owning a platform or locale, naturally have complete arbitrary right to show anyone the door for more or less any reason what so ever, with sole exception granted that rules they set up must be consistently enforced.

"Engage that, it’s clear enough even for you."

Engage what, your false premises?
Your deranged belief in what 1A actually means?
Your failure to recognize the difference between a government holding a violence monopoly and a private entity?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 YOU assert that those are PRIVATE corporate-cont

See, the problem with your assertion is that Mike or an "Admin" is not the one doing the hiding. It’s the community who are doing so.

Ah. Now the sock-puppet is ardently defending the site with what he cannot actually know.

They are telling you that your assertions are bullshit.

There’s no need to hide my comments in order to do that.

But instead of just answering, Techdirt provides a mechanism in code which disadvantages viewpoints. It’s complete contradiction to its alleged "open arena" as Masnick writes above. Techdirt provides code for THE HECKLER’S VETO.

And it IS by Admin action. You cannot prove your assertion there. You are simply supporting an obvious MYTH.

How many clicks out of how many readers does it take to "hide" comments?

What about all the people who don’t click and do want to see opposition? — Trick question. They’ve all been driven off long ago. I’m tough and enjoy this.

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 YOU assert that those are PRIVATE corporate-

What about all the people who don’t click and do want to see opposition?

They can choose to click to reveal any hidden comments if they want to. Nothing is stopping them from doing so.

Trick question. They’ve all been driven off long ago.

Do you have evidence of that? Also, why would they be driven off? By having to click to see “opposition”? What’s the big deal?

I’m tough and enjoy this.

As evidenced by your whining and complaining about it at every opportunity.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 YOU assert that those are PRIVATE corporate-

"What about all the people who don’t click and do want to see opposition? "

What about them?
How many of "them" are there?
Why are "them" unable to navigate the Internet by themselves and therefore must rely upon your benevolent feed of alternative facts?
Do you know any of "them"? Are you one of "them"?

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 YOU assert that those are PRIVATE corporate-

"There’s no need to hide my comments in order to do that."

Actually there is. Everyone on this site flags your comment as garbage because your arguments are trash, your logic broken, and your assertions usually outright falsehood. So your posts invariably end up with dozens of flags telling everyone else "save yourself the trouble, this post isn’t worth reading".

"And it IS by Admin action. You cannot prove your assertion there. You are simply supporting an obvious MYTH."

You are the one making the extraordinary claim, so I suggest you come up with the evidence backing that extraordinary claim up. But hey, if your argument is that it’s more likely that one site admin wastes his time trying to block you rather than it is that you are such an offensively ignorant fuckwit everyone reading a single sentence of yours reaches for the flag button then sure. You do you. If it makes you feel better to burn another few hours pounding down the digital equivalent of empty screaming then fine. I’m not sure it’s good therapy for whatever ails you though.

"How many clicks out of how many readers does it take to "hide" comments? "

More than just a few, as I’m sure you’ve discovered yourself, and I strongly suspect anyone using an account to click the flag gets way more weight than random AC’s doing the same.

"They’ve all been driven off long ago."

Strange how every forum you frequent ends up with everyone flagging your ass and you being that one lonely loser screaming in the corner about how you somehow aren’t the only person batshit enough to think private entities and government are the same thing.

"I’m tough…"

Ah, so THAT is why you fall apart like a pane of carnival glass at a shooting range every time someone points out that you’re wrong.

"…and enjoy this."

That level of masochism really isn’t healthy. If your kink is to humiliate yourself in public then there are better ways. You should perhaps look for some club catering to that need – although honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised to find you getting kicked straight out of those as well.
And I guess I have to tell it to you straight; At the end of the day no one around here wants to see your one-man show shame play. That is why your posts keep getting flagged.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 YOU assert that those are PRIVATE corpor

"So your posts invariably end up with dozens of flags telling everyone else "save yourself the trouble, this post isn’t worth reading"."

While – most importantly – leaving the option to go ahead and take the trouble to read, even respond to, the message if the person being warned feels like doing so. Which is something of a contrast to many right-wing echo chambers I’ve seen in the past where users who don’t march in lock step are purged from the record.

It’s hilarious that this one obsessed lunatic whines like he does, because not only do the conspiracies he rails against not exist, most sites would not allow him to even complain about the leniences he gets in the way he does.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: YOU assert that those are PRIVATE corporate-controlled o

I mean, it’s the law. Do you have a problem with that?

The view you have of First Amendment authorizing corporate CONTROL is NOT the law:

"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."

Your view doesn’t guarantee MY Free Speech, you want corporations to CONTROL speech for their own gain.

You clearly do not want "platforms" to be NEUTRAL PUBLIC FORUMS.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

You’ll have to forgive Brainy Smurf. He operates under the assumption that all corporations should serve the public and all their property should be public property…until you bring copyright into the mix, at which point he will defend to the death corporations using copyright as a means of protecting their property. The cognitive dissonance fried his brain years ago.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 YOU assert that those are PRIVATE corporate-cont

You have no right to free speech on a private site.

This is not a private site. Masnick of own free will provides PUBLIC input through HTML code. He thereby CEDES total control, and falsely advertises it as a Free Speech site, breaching the site’s Form Contract. (see Consumer Review Fairness Act, which has no teeth)

bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 YOU assert that those are PRIVATE corporate-

First, while the site is supportive of speech free from government control (i.e. free speech) and doesn’t actually remove posts outside of spam, that doesn’t mean that it has to allow all speech or make all speech equally visible. Also, where exactly is this site advertised as a “free speech site”?

Second, it is a private site in that it is privately owned. That is not the same as being private as in inaccessible to the general public. This is a privately-owned site that happens to be open to public viewing and public input. That still means it’s a private site.

Third, that Masnick allows public Input “through HTML code” (though I should note that how it’s done is completely irrelevant) is not tantamount to ceding all control. Some de facto control may be lost, but not all, and he still retains full de jure control of it outside of anything he gives up through a contract. Again, simply allowing public input does not mean giving up the right to moderate third-party content on the site.

Fourth, show us exactly what part of the site’s contract Masnick is supposedly breaching and how. Most sites do retain the right to remove content for any reason at their sole discretion, but Masnick has only removed commercial spam and blocked shady or repetitious comments (the latter through an automated filter), so that doesn’t even matter. As for hiding comments, that’s done by users, anyways, so that’s not Mike breaching the contract, either.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 YOU assert that those are PRIVATE corporate-

"This is not a private site."

Actually, it is. Mike built it, owns it, and operates it. It’s his the same way a restaurant or bar belongs to the owner of that restaurant or bar. Which means he’s free to toss out just about anyone, for any reason. And yet, you are still here.

"Masnick of own free will provides PUBLIC input through HTML code."

He allows people to visit his premises, the same way as the before mentioned bar owner does. Much like the bar owner Mike is free to toss you out on your ear for any reason, ranging from "disturbing the other patrons" to "your teletubby shirt is offensive".

"He thereby CEDES total control,"

Bullshit. I suggest you go to ANY police station and file a report. See what the law says about that. Mike naturally retains total control over what he allows on his own property – because that’s how "property" works.

"…and falsely advertises it as a Free Speech site, breaching the site’s Form Contract."

Nope. Try again. If that was the case then, again, take it to the damn police.

"see Consumer Review Fairness Act"

Which explicitly backs Mike’s right to do as he likes as long as it can not be shown that he discriminates based on color, ethnicity, religion, gender identity or sexual preference…or any other protected classification. None of which applies to you, and even if you were visibly being a black jewish one-legged transgendered lesbian senior citizen muslim in a bar they could still evict your ass over you simply being the same type of belligerent shitwit you keep being around here.

But you do you, Baghdad Bob. If ten years hasn’t been enough for you to learn civics at the level we’d expect from an eight year old in grade school I doubt you have the ability to do so at all.

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: YOU assert that those are PRIVATE corporate-controll

Actually, the law is that platforms have their own free speech rights which allow them to deny service to anyone. There’s a ton of case law supporting this. Furthermore, the right to free speech doesn’t guarantee that you can say whatever you want anywhere you want without consequences. They just can’t be consequences enforced by the government.

And even then, there’s contract law to deal with (you can waive some rights via contracts), like those ToS’s that you agree to to even be able to use these services.

You clearly do not want "platforms" to be NEUTRAL PUBLIC FORUMS.

Such a thing is fundamentally impossible, and none of the platforms (outside of places like 8kun) even pretend to be one. And no, I don’t have a problem with that, nor is there a law requiring them to be neutral public forums.

Also, as a reminder, there’s a massive difference between “public” as in “publicly owned” (i.e. owned by the government) and “public” as in “publicly accessible” or “open to the public”. The First Amendment only restricts the former from regulating speech; the latter is what Facebook, Twitter, etc. are: privately owned platforms open to the public, much like a privately owned billboard or a bar. Things can be publicly owned and publicly accessible (a public park), publicly owned but not publicly accessible (a military base), privately owned and publicly accessible (a restaurant or social media site), or privately owned but not publicly accessible (your house or a private factory). There’s no real correlation or connection between the two uses of the word “public”.

If you want Facebook or Twitter to be “public forums” such that the First Amendment prevents speech from being removed from them, you would first have to make them owned and run by the government. (That or maybe give them powers that are traditionally reserved for and exercised by the government exclusively. Running a forum that is open to the public is not one of those things.)

Then there’s the issues with “neutral”, which is impossible because bias is inevitable and unavoidable, plus it’s not always desirable. At any rate, while the government has to stay content-neutral regarding speech, social media sites are not the government, so there is no such restriction for them.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: YOU assert that those are PRIVATE corporate-controll

"You clearly do not want "platforms" to be NEUTRAL PUBLIC FORUMS."

Private property never has been the public forum, isn’t now, and will not be in the future.

Whether that private property is a person’s home, a bar, or a platform is completely irrelevant as far as 1A is concerned. "Free speech" means only one thing; The government is not allowed to make a law which forbids you from speaking at all. That’s why a judge can throw you out of a courtroom but if you’re standing on a soapbox on Times square you may have a case if the cops try to haul you away.

Twitter, Facebook, Parler and Gab are all privately owned and are not bound by the restrictions placed on the government which holds the monopoly on violence.

Sheesh, even an 8 year old can get basic civics, but you appear to be that particular level of deranged fuckwit unable to understand even the most basic of basics when it comes to how society works.

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James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: YOU assert that those are PRIVATE corporate-controlled o

As i’ve noted before. They are Schrodinger’s douchebag. Debate law and they debate the moral impact. Debate the moral impact and they debate the law. They don’t see these as separate concerns, but that the law is morality, and therefore by conceeding the law you have concceeded morality.

That said, I don’t think they actually understand what the argument means. They aren’t arguing a point, they are bringing up a point and inserting it into a conversation and letting you argue their own point for them. What they are doing is repeating a broad general argument we’ve all heard before that they probably heard being made by someone who is much smarter and in better detail for more coherency, but they didn’t really understand it. They ape the summary of the argument without understanding the substance, so arguing against the substance doesn’t help because they don’t actually know what is being said.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 YOU assert that those are PRIVATE corporate-

Says the guy yapping like a Chihuahua.

In part, I’m seeing how long before all my on-topic comments are censored by this Free Speech site, while mindless one-liners from its zombie supporters are left showing. — That helps me, see? So do go on!

You have the inexplicable 43 month gap of ZERO comments yet are ardent today to defend the site.

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 YOU assert that those are PRIVATE corpor

You make it sound like this is the first day that AC Unknown has posted anything in 43 months, but they’ve posted on a number of other recent days, too, as well as on multiple articles.

At any rate, there’s nothing inexplicable or suspicious about long gaps of no comments on many websites. Not everyone who has an account feels the need to both a) go to this site all the time and b) write comments every time they visit the site. You have not explained why that’s so strange to begin with. It’s a small site, so you shouldn’t be expecting everyone to actively engage with the site with any sort of regularity.

Also, hiding comments isn’t censorship. We can still see them easily on this site, which means that they’re clearly not censored.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

not be fascinated with ME

It’s hard not to be fascinated by someone so obsessed with a single blog and the people who write for it that they’ve dedicated a decade of their life to trolling it because of an insult so weak that it makes Yamcha look like Super Saiyan Blue Goku.

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B. Einder Twine proud graduate of Baler University says:

You've objected to hosts regarded as "Neutral Public Forums".

But now you’re blithely referring to them as "open arenas"???

COMPLETELY CONTRADICT YOURSELF! — Don’t go into semantics trying to wiggle out, you cannot resolve that contradiction.

You really need to write your assertions down and kind of be consistent, Maz.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: You've objected to hosts regarded as "Neutral Publi

You are not very smart, dude.

Irrelevant to truth / substance of my charges.

You’re simply dodging the inconsistency with your own prior statement, Maz.

Can’t you even be on-topic without ad hom?

This is why you’re famous for people typing chicken noises at you. Won’t engage the topic, just want your notions accepted on authority that your parents paid for a piece of paper calling you a "Doctor".

bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: You've objected to hosts regarded as "Neutral Public Forums"

I’m afraid there is no contradiction. Being an “open arena” doesn’t require being a “neutral public forum”. An “open arena” just means that any member of the public can contribute content or ideas. A “neutral public forum” would require that all ideas must be given equal weight and treatment by those running the site. Basically, while one could argue that all neutral public fora are open arenas, it’s simply not the case that all open arenas are neutral public fora.

You can complain about that being a semantic argument, and it technically is, but that a) doesn’t make it invalid and b) is really the only option when an apparent contradiction between two terms exists. Semantic arguments are a perfectly valid way to resolve apparent contradictions.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: SOCK PUPPET ATTACK!

Another of Geigner’s Zombie sock-puppets, just to attack me.

First note that resurrected in 2020 after 43 months dormant.

AC Unknown: 127 (17), resume 2020 after 43 mo gap; 15 mo gap; 24 Jun 2013 https://www.techdirt.com/user/acunkown

Not odd, eh? Well, it’s consistent with theory that the zombies are to provide a supportive background AND inflate number of comments here. Except when the fanboys have an ad hom target — which I’m happy to provide as shows Techdirt clearly and stops anyone reasonable from lingering here — the site is a tenth of former, single-digits of comments.

MANY ad hom one-liners at me, looks to be its main purpose in 2013 and of late; and another that familiarly calls me "Blue" as Geigner started.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 SOCK PUPPET ATTACK!

I’m no sockpuppet. Maybe if you’d look at how I post compared to Mr. Geigner, you’d notice some differences that prove it. So cease and desist with your baseless accusations of conspiracy.

That’s what all the sock-puppets say.

Explain the 43 month gap in your comment history, then, like dozens of other "accounts" that only support Techdirt.

Looks like zombie, smells like zombie, I reasonably conclude IS a zombie. — Based on FACTS available to everyone.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 SOCK PUPPET ATTACK!

I have a job, dipshit. I’m not on the computer every day nor do I have Techdirt on my phone.

WELL, you have plenty of time today for off-topic ad hom and to support the site as if you know all the details of how it works! Just like Geigner, again.

What about that 43 month GAP, though, and the 15 month gap before? You can’t explain those in light of your ardent back-and-forth just here.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

Try not to get overly worked up over Woody’s lies, they have to believe that it’s a single moderator calling them out on their bullshit and/or flagging their comments because the alternative means that a lot of people see them for the disgusting little worm that they are and are treating them appropriately, and part of that includes baseless assertions to ‘bolster’ their conspiracy theory that anyone that isn’t as obsessed with the site as they are simply must be part of the conspiracy.

It’s best to see and treat them as a whiny child with a penchant for lying, namely send them to time out with the report button but otherwise ignore them.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Understandable, however in this case it’s little different than a child with a long history of dishonesty calling someone a ‘butthead candy stealer’ in that even if the accusation might be a serious one normally the source of that accusation gives it as much weight as a feather.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

"…but the baseless accusations of sockpuppetry really pushed one of the few berserk buttons I have."

Eh, you get used to it. Baghdad Bob has been railing about how everyone is a sock puppet trying to silence him ever since his days on Torrentfreak when he got caught in flagranti with a team of half a dozen accounts all logging in from the same IP address to cheerlead his latest bullshit.

With him just consider every accusation to be a confession. Old Baghdad Bob/out_of_the_blue/jhon smith/Bobmail/etc simply has no bottom line to his shitposting. After ten years it’s more or less irrelevant whether he’s actually clinically insane or a shitposting troll so pathetic he thinks that shit’s worth wasting ten years of his life on.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Well, in Baghdad Bob’s "defense", to him every post that he manages to make on this site, governed as it is by Google and the CIA through their Mike Masnick stooge is a win.

And yea, he’s actually implied the above. Apparently the NWO and the Illuminati are so concerned with old Baghdad Bob they pay a dozen astroturfers for around-the-clock labor just to smack him around with his own bad arguments.

Personally I would assume if the NWO existed and really wanted someone gone then that someone would be quietly disappeared instead and they probably might not give that many shits about the frothing lunatic gibbering in the corner…but that fairly simple logical conclusion is still lightyears over old Baghdad Bob’s head.

bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 SOCK PUPPET ATTACK!

That’s what all the sock-puppets say.

That doesn’t make the point invalid. In fact, it suggests that what you call “all the sock-puppets” are not actually sock-puppets. After all, most of the points made are regarding the most reliable indicators for a sock-puppet account.

Explain the 43 month gap in your comment history, then, like dozens of other "accounts" that only support Techdirt.

Real life worries, lack of time, temporary lack of interest, not having anything new to add… There are a number of perfectly reasonable explanations.

Also, regarding the “supporting Techdirt” part, I would surmise that 1) most (though certainly not all) people who sign up for a Techdirt account generally have similar opinions as Techdirt and 2) people who visit a site frequently despite disliking/disagreeing with most or all of its content are more likely to post comments and do so more frequently than those with a neutral or supportive stance regarding Techdirt’s content, followed by those who support Techdirt. (If you’re wondering how 2 can be reconciled with the fact that most comments tend to be supportive, a) people who dislike/disagree with most or all of the content on a site are far less likely to stick around than those who like/agree with it, and b) perhaps more people who learn about Techdirt to begin with tend to have similar views on the content on this site.)

Looks like zombie, smells like zombie, I reasonably conclude IS a zombie. — Based on FACTS available to everyone.

No one’s disputing that (if by “zombie” you mean “account with no activity for an extended period of time that then becomes active”). The dispute is over whether that’s suspicious or unusual and whether there’s any correlation between “zombies” and sock-puppets. You have proven neither.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: innocuous leader

Nah. It’s not locked down. You might be challenged on your assertions, though.

AGAIN you answer as though know exactly how the site works!

And AGAIN you have time and inclination to sit and defend the site — against someone you called "Blue" as Geigner does, way back in 2013 — and know is incorrigible, so it’s futile. You act in every visible way just like Geigner.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

AGAIN you answer as though know exactly how the site works!

I don’t even work for this site, and I have a general idea of how it works because I’ve used it for years without spamming a bunch of all-caps bullshit like doing so is supposed to make my argument better. When you make comments that appear to be spam or trigger some specific keywords, you get caught by the spamfilter. I’ve had it happen before to some of my comments. You keep running into it because…well, look at how many comments of yours are hidden on this comments section alone.

way back in 2013

Dude. You’re obsessing over shit people said seven years ago as if it happened yesterday. You need to sit down with yourself and work out whether trolling this site for a decade has harmed your mental health.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Every media org has a website , so reuters cannot spend 10 minutes reading section 230 it’s simple , it protects free speech , it means you can sue the person who makes a post or a comment that may be false or defames someone,
Not the platform its hosted on.
It protects blogs nonprofits small websites journalists and newspapers not just big tech company’s
And I.d prefer to be insulted or harassed by 1000 people
than to be shot by one person with a gun

This article is an insult to all the innocent victims of mass shootings.
It’s strange to see a media company who attacks the section which is the main protection for free speech for journalism as well as ordinary users on the internet

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Anonymous Coward says:

now maybe the 5th...

Actually, that’s just a PR front — propaganda which Maz is paid to put out by Silicon Valley, take the Copia link to see his "sponsors" that he never mentions here. — As a "blogger" he doesn’t have to reveal such links, but he claims the authority of unbiased "journalist" too! Like his corporate masters, Masnick chooses way that suits needs of the moment, no consistency. Reader beware.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 A. Stephen Stone, can you ever be on-topic?

Cease with the incessant and endless posting of worthless dribble, you vile and odious enemy of righteousness, or I shall taunt you a second time!

You’re wrong about second time, just here it’s three or four stupid off-topic "taunts".

YOU CLOWNS ruin the site. NOT ME. Masnick allows you to, even advantages you with the hidden sneaky suppression of dissent, else I’d run the site, you all know that.

steell (profile) says:

PLCAA

I remember when that act was passed. It was passed due to a documented conspiracy between several large cities and several anti-gun groups.Their plan was to sue every gun manufacturer in the country into bankruptcy and sue again until there were no guns being manufactured in this country. According to them the only reason for manufacturing guns is to kill people, although my guns have killed a few squirrels, rabbits, coyotes, and paper, to the best of my knowledge never any people. Thanks to a idiot judge in Connecticut that decided the PLCAA didn’t apply Remington is history.

No comparison.

ECA (profile) says:

I really think.

That there has to be something else going on about 230.
They keep pointing, and so do we, that its about Chat/forums/such.
But what other things will this impact?
restaurant rating system?
Amazon rating system?
being able to sue someone AND the company that sponsors the rating system, IF someone says a bad thing/bad rating, and its not removed?
HOw about suing a person and the SITE that holds a video or review of a product, and its a Bad product. And the review states it so.
Any place that can have a review of video that analysis, of product/goods/service/people/politics/anything to bitch at.

Talk about editing life and opinion..Wow.

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Free speech and guns

Yes. Free speech and guns both share qualities intersection of elements that should generally be free but also require some responsibility. The irresponsibility of gun use comes from state institutions (law enforcement) and private individuals. The irresponsibility of free speech is shared between private individuals, media and news networks and government officials, the latter two of which should be regulated somehow, but totally are not.

The guns situation in the US is odd. I’d have to check (and the current number change) but I think suicide is facilitated more by firearms than crimes against others. We have a whole lot of people shooting themselves in the head, but we also have a whole lot of people shooting others (and typically putting them in the hospital). We like to complain about rampage killers (who are very rare, and kill fewer unarmed, unresisting people than law enforcement) and brandishing open carriers, who’d totally be convicted of murder one or murder two if they carried out their threats.

On the speech side, we have a whole lot of hate speech and incitement to do violence, which falls into the category of irresponsible (and often illegal use of speech).

What’s curious to me is when we narrow down the kind of social media moderation that is ordinarily complained about, it is speech that fits into the above category. But only far-right hate speech and incitement: When a teen posts violent rap music lyrics, we send law enforcement officers to collect him and throw him in jail. When I say someone totally needs to compel the retirement of Justices Thomas and Kavanaugh for their unrepentant sexual assault crimes (and not necessarily their dickish opinions), then I get to talk to nice men from the local precinct and assure them I’m not a radicalized terrorist.

[Dear Nice Men from the local precinct:

I’m totally not saying someone needs to compel the retirement of Justices Thomas and Kavanaugh for their unrepentant sexual assault crimes. I’m a good law-abiding citizen…mostly. This is me just citing a (suspiciously specific) example. But I’m not saying anyone should kill anybody. Right? Right? Thx.]

But I’m pretty sure none of the anti-230 crowd wants all the child-porn, war gore, bomb plans, open Islamist radicalization screed, and (false) advertising (The penis pills never worked. False.) that comes with completely unmoderated forums. They just don’t like their own bullshit getting fact-checked or hidden behind click-gates.

Of course, the shadowy masters behind the anti-230 crowd want to go back to the MAGA days, where only Pulitzer and Hearst got to choose which opinions were expressed, and no-one had bad things to say about General Electric who brought good things to life (including a lot of nuclear warheads).

Because when everyone can express (fact-based, non-hateful) political speech it starts Arab Springs and other movements towards disestablishment.

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: "THEY'RE ALL FAR-RIGHT WING TERRORISTS"

Boy did you critically fumble that judge of character.

I’m pretty darned pro-gun-access. Granted the folks in the US are perplexingly stupid about their gun ownership, but I see that as a social problem not one that works by obstructing access. We used to be better about it in the 70s. Nevertheless, I think US citizens should have unrestrained access to military hardware, and we should be restrained instead by a culture of responsibility and awareness of consequences of our actions. Kinda like how we learn to use power tools without losing fingers.

We don’t have that, as per the whole Rittenhouse affair. But that incident is one of those symptoms the nation marches in lockstep towards fascism when people start opining that dissenters and protestors are fair game. The summary execution of Michael Reinoehl by US Marshals also smacks of the same movement. (Scarier still, our Dear Leader’s repeated gloating about it during the election.)

The people of America also weirdly fetishize the AR-15 style range of rifles. As guns go, they’re fun at the shooting range but suck as an actual soldier / survival gun, yet we buy them up like caramel popcorn.

And, yes, the police absolutely abuse their access to guns, but again, it’s less an abuse of the sidearm as it is the ability to kill whoever they want without consequences. I’ve already gushed at length about the fire discipline of GSG 9 on these forums, and why can’t all the police forces throughout the US be so restrained? And why do they need to be tied to white supremacist movements?

And yes, gun suicides are off the chart. (Non-gun suicides are also off the chart — by a higher order of magnitude if we consider survived attempts) But I can acknowledge these things and still think the people should have access to the same weapons that law enforcement and military services do.

We have policies here in California that allow veterans to keep their guns (usually) even if they are sometimes at suicide risk. In involves having buddies to help them, and hold onto the piece when he’s not feeling right. It’s not perfect, of course, but it means fewer dead veterans.

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Free speech and guns

As some day it may happen that a victim must be found
I’ve got a little list — I’ve got a little list
Of society offenders who might well be underground
And who never would be missed — who never would be missed!

Oh do elaborate!

To be fair, our current administration has denounced more than half the nation, including my entire state, and has made it clear he would purge us all — preferably into mass graves — except the nation depends on the taxes it can pull from our industries. As a coastal elite I’ve been on the federal enemies list since before I could vote.

So all I need to do to do better than the right is not want to massacre all of the right-wing. But I don’t want to do even that.

So who would I have to keep out of my society?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: and that browser session died mysteriously...

I find it amusing, how many posts you put up here (for instance, three individual ones responding to a particular post critical of you).

… and how many people rise to your bait regardless.

Whether the ‘hide’ option is the result of a single (‘rogue’) admin, a core of regulars, an algorithm, or what-all, you still gather responses.

Your posts are generally nonsense, but you do get responses. How about that.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: and that browser session died mysteriously...

Your posts are generally nonsense, but you do get responses. How about that.

But it’s not the responses he wants. He post here to seek validation of his beliefs, but since his beliefs doesn’t make sense he’ll never get it, so he continues to post even more to seek that elusive goal.

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