Not Easy, Not Unreasonable, Not Censorship: The Decision To Ban Trump From Twitter

from the there's-a-point... dept

When I started writing this post, it was about Facebook’s decision to suspend Trump’s account indefinitely, and at least until Joe Biden is inaugurated in a couple weeks. I had lots to say on that… and then Friday afternoon, Twitter decided to ban Trump’s Twitter account permanently. This is a bigger deal, not just because it’s permanent, rather than indefinite, but because so much of Trump’s identity over the last four years (and before that) is tied up in his Twitter account and followers.

Certainly, all of this has kicked off a whole new storm from across the political spectrum. You have Trump supporters who are furious and (falsely) claiming that this is “censorship” or unprecedented and heavy handed (it is none of those things). Then you have Trump haters who are screaming about how this is all way too late and is trying to close the barn door after the horses have long since bolted. I think neither argument is accurate. Will Oremus has a long (and very interesting!) look over on OneZero about how Facebook supposedly chucked out its own rulebook to come up with an excuse to suspend Trump’s account:

Yet Facebook?s ?indefinite? ban on Trump marks an overnight reversal of the policy on Trump and other political leaders that the social network has spent the past four years honing, justifying, and defending. The unprecedented move, which lacks a clear basis in any of Facebook?s previously stated policies, highlights for the millionth time that the dominant platforms are quite literally making up the rules of online speech as they go along. As I wrote in 2019, there?s just one golden rule of content moderation that every platform follows: If a policy becomes too controversial, change it.

Zuckerberg?s claim that Facebook has allowed Trump to use its platform in a manner ?consistent with our own rules? is laughable. The only thing that has been consistent, until now, is Facebook?s determination to contort, hair-split, and reimagine its rules to make sure nothing Trump posted would fall too far outside them. The Washington Post wrote a rather definitive account of the social network?s yearslong Trump-appeasement campaign earlier this year. Among other Trump-friendly measures, the Post noted, ?Facebook has constrained its efforts against false and misleading news, adopted a policy explicitly allowing politicians to lie, and even altered its news feed algorithm to neutralize claims that it was biased against conservative publishers.?

And Twitter is also justifying its decision by saying that the reason was a rules violation:

We assessed the two Tweets referenced above under our Glorification of Violence policy, which aims to prevent the glorification of violence that could inspire others to replicate violent acts and determined that they were highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

This determination is based on a number of factors, including:

I don’t need to post the factors. You can take a look yourself if you want. So, Oremus is mostly correct that they’re making the rules up as they go along, but the problem with this framing is that it assumes that there are some magical rules you can put in place and then objectively apply them always. That’s never ever been the case. The problem with so much of the content moderation debate is that all sides assume these things. They assume that it’s easy to set up rules and easy to enforce them. Neither is true. Radiolab did a great episode a few years ago, detailing the process by which Facebook made and changed its rules. And it highlights some really important things including that almost every case is different, that it’s tough to apply rules to every case, and that context is always changing. And that also means the rules must always keep changing.

A few years back, we took a room full of content moderation experts and asked them to make content moderation decisions on eight cases — none of which I’d argue are anywhere near as difficult as deciding what to do with the President of the United States. And we couldn’t get these experts to agree on anything. On every case, we had at least one person choose each of the four options we gave them, and to defend that position. The platforms have rules because it gives them a framework to think about things, and those rules are useful in identifying both principles for moderation and some bright lines.

But every case is different.

And no matter what you think of Trump, his case was different.

The regular rules could never apply to Trump because Trump is not a regular person. And, no, not even comparisons to foreign leaders are apt, because as silly as American exceptionalism is, the United States is still different than nearly every other country in the world. And, it’s not just the position he’s in (for the next few days anyway), but also Trump’s willingness to use his account to make pronouncements unlike pretty much any other world leader (or at least, world leader of consequence).

Trump is, perhaps, the perfect example of why demanding clear rules on social media and how they moderate is stupid.

As for the question of why now? Well, clearly, the context has changed. The context is that Trump inspired a mob of goons to invade the Capitol building this week, and there remain legitimate threats that his cultish followers will continue to do significant damage. Certainly some people have insisted that this kind of violence was always a risk — and it was. But it had not actually erupted to this level in this fashion. Again, we’re talking about context. There’s always more context.

And given that the situations are always edge cases, that the context always matters, and that things are always shifting, you can totally see why it’s a reasonable decision to ban Trump from their platforms right now, based on everything else going on, and the likelihood that he might inspire more violence. I think it’s worth reading Ben Thompson’s analysis as well. He’s long explained the risks associated with banning Trump from these platforms, and suggested why they should not have in the past. But the thing that changed for him, beyond even just the threat to democracy, is the threat to the rights of both individuals and companies to make their own decisions on these things:

Remember my highest priority, even beyond respect for democracy, is the inviolability of liberalism, because it is the foundation of said democracy. That includes the right for private individuals and companies to think and act for themselves, particularly when they believe they have a moral responsibility to do so, and the belief that no one else will. Yes, respecting democracy is a reason to not act over policy disagreements, no matter how horrible those policies may be, but preserving democracy is, by definition, even higher on the priority stack.

Turn off Trump?s account.

But here’s the more important point — especially directed at the people who will falsely claim that this is somehow censorship: President Trump is not being censored. He is not being limited. At any moment of any day (certainly for the next two weeks, and likely beyond) he can walk out of his office and have every major TV news channel (and every internet streaming platform) broadcast whatever he wants to say, and people will see it.

And to those who think that Twitter should have done this earlier, or that it would have made a difference, recognize that your concern is not so much with Twitter, but with Trump himself. Remember that while Trump might not be able to send a tweet right now, he still (literally) has the power to launch nuclear missiles at Twitter’s headquarters. And, really, that’s the problem. Trump is obviously too toxic for Twitter. But he’s also too toxic for the White House. And the real complaint shouldn’t be about Twitter or Facebook acting too late, but about Congress failing to do their job and remove the mad man from power.

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Comments on “Not Easy, Not Unreasonable, Not Censorship: The Decision To Ban Trump From Twitter”

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timyhandsplaytinyviolins says:

Re: this long to do it (things yo momma says)

Activating behavior response drives of social groups has always been at the heart of big tech’s growth plan in the usa. It’s social engineering with bipartisan support.

Likewise, this activation strategy has historically been used in all corners of the globe by various counter-intelligence agencies employed to neutralize the possibility of any unified public opposition against private interests going against the public interests. So what does that tell you?

The events of jan.6 shows the effectiveness of how this strategy is going in usa today.

Facebook, Twitter & co. managed to cancel Trump after the events of jan.6, so what does that tell you? A: mission accomplished.

For the last 4 years these data mining companies have all shared the privilege of using perhaps the greatest spokesmodel in the world, usa’s president elect, to advertise their private media platforms as being a suitable “commons” for public discourse.

Will Biden continue in Trump’s footsteps? Time to ante up, because his endgame has no foreseeable terminus so long as the a divided public base can be kept occupied solving that flowery bouquet of issues which do not upset that privilege

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 this long to do it (things yo momma says)

You know, you people would probably get further whining about censorship if your reaction to the tiniest criticism was not to act like an insane moron wishing violence on others.

All you proved with that comment is that whatever communities have already kicked you out and made you angry, they were probably right to do so. Not due to "censorship", but because you’re a hateful idiot who can’t take part in honest conversation with others.

Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 this long to do it (things yo momma says)

@ PaulT and others. I apologise.
I was stabbed at another site shortly before this user was named here. And reacted inadequately to a reply (I acknowledged above I didn’t read and also tagged it as troll).
The tag use in general has been used by the extremes of politics to define any alternative viewpoint.
I should know better being a moderator and admin at multiple sites.
I got caught up in the moment.

Again my apologies for not properly vetting the situation before replying.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: this long to do it (things yo momma says)

Facebook, Twitter & co. don’t really want to invite political scrutiny unto themselves. Political scrutiny means laws may be introduced which are disadvantageous to them, or which otherwise introduce red tape.

The Trump dilemma is such that if you terminate his account, then he could move to retaliate against you. Even if he does need to be terminated, it may be easier to "let someone else go first" and attract his ire. Or to experiment with something small, and see what happens.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

if you terminate his account, then he could move to retaliate against you

Twitter could easily cite the First Amendment in its defense. The law doesn’t (and shouldn’t) force Twitter to host anyone’s speech. No one should have the power to make Twitter do that — and that includes a sitting president.

Or do you want a precedent that says a platform you own must host someone else’s speech no matter what?

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Compelled speech

And yet, abortion providers are compelled in several states to read to their clients a state-endorsed statement featuring false claims about the abortion process and its effects. And this was upheld by the (captured) US Supreme Court.

At the same time a similar law in California was ruled unconstitutional which required Crisis Pregnancy Centers (religious centers that routinely pretend to be abortion providers to pressure pregnant moms to carry to term) to reveal they were not abortion providers and that there are abortion providers nearby.

Double standards.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Compelled speech

And this was upheld by the (captured) US Supreme Court.

Can’t find that one.

At the same time a similar law in California was ruled unconstitutional which required Crisis Pregnancy Centers (religious centers that routinely pretend to be abortion providers to pressure pregnant moms to carry to term) to reveal they were not abortion providers and that there are abortion providers nearby.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Institute_of_Family_and_Life_Advocates_v._Becerra

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The government could host an all-legal-speech neutral forum or just take over USENET, or the people could migrate back to USENET, which was "all or nothing" in that you accepted all of its speech or none (within a newsgroup). A USENET with verified identities might work.

They can’t be forced to host speech they don’t want to host, but they can’t for anyone to take them seriously if they ban too many people for the wrong reasons. The market has punished censorship in the past, such as with AOL and Yahoo.

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Richard Lareau says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Free speech

Your argument that a "private" company, twitter, shouldn’t be forced to carry anyone’s speech is invalid
Since Twitter is a monopoly, it is a PUBLIC UTILITY that EVERYONE should have the right to use it.
A highway is a public utility. We can’t say Trump can’s use such and such highway because we don’t like him.

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mywifeisyourhusband says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Free speech

bingo!

this is precisely what is at stake. Taxpayers already paid for the internet long ago, it belongs to them. They’re rights are supposed to be “inalienable”, ie their data cannot be traded and sold by third parties.

in response to the muted comment above (greyed out by techdirt’s eds).

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Free speech

"Taxpayers already paid for the internet long ago, it belongs to them."

Try not paying your ISP bill for a month and use that argument when they cut you off. I’m sure if will go over really well.

In any case, those taxes paid for the development of the infrastructure the internet operates on. They did not pay for anything that a website like Twitter uses, which runs on a mixture of privately developed code and open source components, while the web itself was invented at CERN using European tax money. Your taxes didn’t pay for a single line of code at Twitter.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Free speech

"The internet wasn’t built or run by the government."

…and even if these people want to push the DARPA narrative they love, despite the fact that the current internet developed far from that by mix of private enterprise and open source projects no longer resembles that, we’re explicitly not talking about that infrastructure here. We’re talking about the web, which is a totally different thing.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’d always predicted that they would leave the account completely untouched until the day he left office. It was a mutually beneficial relationship – Trump got to say whatever he wanted, even stuff that would get most people banned a long time ago, while Twitter got the benefit of the increased traffic his ravings brought to the platform.

But, the orange maniac couldn’t be happy with that. He first used it to try and spread so much false information about the election he lost that Twitter felt compelled to place warnings on every virtually Tweet about how he was lying. Then, he went too far and inspired actual insurrection.

I’m not surprised they took this long, as they were clearly putting up with him until January 20th. But, they essentially had to do this now, else face some major pushback later on if further deaths occurred over something they could have prevented – not direct liability, but you can bet that they will be the number one target if they kept hosting calls to violence against both houses.

nfnnln780 says:

Re: Content Moderation at scale of 1 manchild..

How do you moderate someone who limits a moderators choice’s to a mute button (see Presidential Debates), or a perma-ban? (see Twitter). Nothing in Section 230, the 1st amendment or the principles of free-speech, prevents Trump from being held accountable by the people he is accountable to.

The Voters: He lost

Republicans: You could have said or done something. Or voted to impeach him.

Democrats: You impeached him, and it looks like you will again. You also won the Presidential Election & the Georgia run-offs in the senate.


Politicians will politician, but at the end of the day they are elected to represent the people. Thus the authority & will to act against a lawless President is in their hands. They must own their inaction.


The President can be held accountable by conventional laws. It could have been done at his 1st impeachment. It can still be done via State & Federal authorities and a 2nd impeachment….All without destroying free speech or the internet.


PS, I too am glad they banned him. Twitter is in a tough spot. Half the ppl enraged it took so long, the other half pissed because he has been banned.
Prior to the events of Jan 6, 2021, banning POTUS from Twitter would have been untenable.

TKnarr (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If they’d acted then, he’d still have been pedding racist conspiracy theories to his base and they’d be believing them and acting on them. Plus he’d’ve had more reasons they’d believe to claim he was on to something because look how the Deep State’s trying to shut him up. We’d’ve still ended up here, just that we really wouldn’t’ve seen it coming because we wouldn’t’ve seen it until it erupted.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I’m going to guess that a removal earlier in his presidency would have lead to court cases eventually declaring that large platforms have a duty to be open as a political forum, especially for political speech from politicians, with the argument that they are the modern day public square and that companies that are vital to the internet can’t be playing favorites (as argued by pockets on the right for years). I honestly still wouldn’t be surprised to see that ruling at least entertained in the future (as well as such laws trying to force such an effect to eventually be debated in some of the larger red states), however the fact that they only removed these accounts for reasons much less purely political (linking it to actual violence), and at a time when Trump will be out of office before any dispute would be settle would make Trump a much worse plaintiff to lead such a charge to pursue such a result.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Just own it...

Better late then never I guess, however while it may be unreasonable I just wish they’d own their part in this rather than go with the bogus excuses. They didn’t kick Trump off because he broke the rules, they kicked him off because it finally cost more to keep him on than they stood to gain from having him on the platforms, and it was close enough to inauguration day that it was about to be a moot point anyway. Remove those two factors and I’ve little doubt that he’d still be posting whatever he wanted unchecked, just like he has for years.

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crade (profile) says:

Re: Just own it...

They didn’t kick Trump off because he broke the rules, they kicked him off because it finally cost more to keep him on than they stood to gain from having him on the platforms

It’s kinda tomaeto tomahto when it comes to capitalist companies.. "unless we feel it’s worth more to us to otherwise" is implied in every rule

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Just own it...

This, they don’t care about morality or being decent. They’re just doing it now because the heat is on them, and that’s why they need to be reigned in; NOT given endless amounts of power to do what they want.
What they need is the stick, and we’re giving them the carrot by saying that they know what is best on their platforms. That’s clearly not the case, so why let them decide anymore? This has just opened the path to them removing more and more of their competition under the guise of ‘cleaning their service’.

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Just own it...

I haven’t seen evidence that anyone else is in any position to make better decisions, least of all the government.

Also, what “competition” have they removed? Trump wasn’t a competitor to Twitter.

Basically, there’s no evidence that I can see that there’s even a problem that actually needs to be solved here, let alone a better solution than the one we already have.

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some turkey says:

It is censorship

Removing someone from a platform because you find their views objectionable is censorship. It is the definition of censorship. Look it up. He is being limited as well. These platforms are among the biggest media companies in the world with reach beyond anything else. This is why the left hates tech companies. They are so big and can control the message (by failing to remove opinions the left disagrees with).

This is censorship and it does limit Trump, but it is not illegal. Private party censorship is legal because it is private. Masnick can angrily delete posts pointing out that he does not know what censorship means to sooth his ego. It would be censorship and perfectly legal. Me being able to point out how dumb Masnick is on another site does mean that him furiously deleting my posts is not a form of censorship. Under his description, there can be no censorship because anyone can fire up IIS and make their own site in like 2 minutes.

This could be of more debatable legality if the orders are coming from politicians. We know that private individuals with ties to twitter can get users removed from the service. Maybe politicians are also doing such things. Probably not, but also probably not.

In conclusion, Masnick still dumb.

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Rocky says:

Re: It is censorship

Did Twitter suppress Trumps ability to use whitehouse.gov to communicate?

Did Twitter suppress Trumps ability to call a press-conference at the Whitehouse?

Did Twitter suppress Trumps ability to have interviews with friendly media?

Did Twitter suppress Trumps ability to go out on the Whitehouse lawn with a megaphone?

The point is, nobody is entitled to an audience at someone else’s expense because that would violate their rights.

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Anonymous Coward says:

To all conservatives whining censorship:

To all conservatives whining about censorship right now, you always said:

"Let the market decide."

"It’s a private company, they can do whatever they want. Don’t like it, start your own business."

Based on the reactions I’ve seen from the right about this, they’re not living up to their own standards at all. You made your bed, now you have to sleep in it.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: To all conservatives whining censorship:

Well, the majority of Obama-era Democrats are just like Reagan-era Republicans, so yeah.

But the point here is rather "eat your own dogfood" rather more than anyine necessarily believing lies about "free markets" which are anything but, and have never existed.

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classical_liberal says:

Re: To all conservatives whining censorship:

That it is not illegal, nor a violation of the First Amendment, does not mean that it is not censorship. It is clearly censorship. Censorship is the silencing of speech. When the government does it, it’s government censorship, and the First Amendment applies. When private actors do it, it’s private censorship, and there’s no legal recourse because there’s no right to free speech on a private forum. That you and your allies refuse to admit that it is still censorship has more to do with you desperately holding on to your self-delusions of liberalism than it does with the truth. Accept that you’re authoritarian at heart and it will all make more sense.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: To all conservatives whining censorship:

I thought the word censorship implied that the person being censored was then unable to speak, be it in town square or on the net.

Most censorship claims I see involve a situation where the person could easily find an alternative medium for their speech.

If people wish to converse, it is beneficial if they were to speak the same language.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 To all conservatives whining censorship:

"It also not only implies, but completely specifies that a government is causing it to occur."

Wrong.

You are conflating the words censorship and First Amendment.
These two things are not the same, they do however overlap.

Further point, Causing it to occur, as you put it is not required for the government to violate the first amendment.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: To all conservatives whining censorship:

I thought the word censorship implied that the person being censored was then unable to speak, be it in town square or on the net.

Some people on Techdirt like to say that, but it’s common usage to refer to non-governmental actions as censorship. For example, The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror VIII (5F02): "Oh, hi! As the Fox Censor, it’s my job to protect you from reality." The term is used even for edits not required by governments, like censorship on MTV).

The creators of TV shows were always free to go elsewhere, perhaps to cable or direct-to-video. And the music censored on MTV could be heard on the albums.

The ACLU gives this definition:

Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are "offensive," happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. Censorship can be carried out by the government as well as private pressure groups. Censorship by the government is unconstitutional.

stine says:

Re: Re: Re: To all conservatives whining censorship:

I don’t believe its censorship, but I do think its a direct violation of "Knight First Amendment Institute, et al v. Donald J. Trump,et al".

This means that has directly violated the order in said case.

Also, all of president Trump’s tweets, re-tweets, and their replies need to be saved as part of the permanent record.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: To all conservatives whining censorship:

I was just pointing out the inconsistency — conservatives have historically been rabidly pro-corporate, but aren’t now that the tables have turned.

A perfect example that would be familiar to many Techdirt readers would be the Pruneyard standard. For those unfamiliar, due to a unanimous Supreme Court decision in the early 1980s, the common areas of shopping malls (which are of course privately owned by large corporations) are open to free speech, and so long as the speakers are behaving in an orderly manner, the corporate mall operators legally cannot eject them. Republicans and the political right railed against it for decades. "Build your own shopping mall," they’d say. But now that’s it’s conservatives on the recieving end of corporate power, only now is it a problem. Conservatives wanted to give corporations carte blanche — and to paraphrase the Epistle to the Galatians, "you reap what you sow."

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: To all conservatives whining censorship:

"conservatives have historically been rabidly pro-corporate"

More precisely, they have been pro-power, with the tacit understanding that that means them. Occasionally, the ones that wield the power are on the other team. That takes some getting used to.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

That it is not illegal, nor a violation of the First Amendment, does not mean that it is not censorship.

If you can go to another platform and say what got you booted from the first one, it ain’t censorship. Trump can go to Parler and say whatever the fuck he wants. Twitter can’t stop him. Neither can anyone else.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: To all conservatives whining censorship:

I’m not conservative, and I’ve never said that, but you’re an idiot if you ever once believed that line of thinking, and you’re a damned fool if you suddenly believe it now because they’re doing something you like.
Agreeing with the multi-billion dollar tech company is all the more reason to suspect their motivations. Sure, they got rid of Trump now, but what about tomorrow? Or the day after? Would it hurt to think more than one step ahead of your current situation?

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anonymous says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

No, but it is a form of warfare. Censoring the president of the USA is a big deal when the rest of the world says, haha. I suppose the insult to injury for it to happen over and again would to any non-political famous person rationally think, just get on another platform. Why he never did, I’m not sure. I hadn’t heard of parler until this year. Perhaps the lack of alternatives was rational. Perhaps it was because he wanted to appear like he was a human being and could communicate to his citizens freely and the world and the convenience to him was why he stayed. In any case, those that wanted to silence him did at their whim because they simply didn’t like him.

Big Tech doesn’t feel the threat of section 230 being revoked so Democrat supporters of the platforms he was on were clearly eager to censor/remove him thereafter Biden was officially delcared the nominee.

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Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Imagine for a moment that the date is January 8th, 1905. President Roosevelt tells the newspapers that he wants them to publish an opinion piece he has written but they refuse. Is that censorship?

In regards to Trumps use of Twitter, he’s technologically illiterate and those who ran his account in the beginning showed him how the app worked since he was very skeptical about it. When he realized how easy it was to use and most importantly, how easy it was to get some kind of validation for what he posted he couldn’t stop using it. It was never about him wanting to appear like he was a human being, it was all about stroking his ego.

Anyway, no one is entitled the use of someone else’s private property. If Trump so desperately want to communicate with people, it so happens there is a site he can use without restrictions or moderation, it’s called whitehouse.gov

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: To all conservatives whining censorship:

One would hope on a tech website people would grasp the difference between claiming to be a publisher and having the right to censor, and claiming to be a platform where you cannot be held liable for what people say on your website.

Claiming to be both a platform and a publisher is illegal and conflicts with 2 sets of laws.

As long as twitter claims they are a platform they can’t be a publisher.

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Rocky says:

Re: Re: To all conservatives whining censorship:

One would hope on a tech website people would grasp the difference between claiming to be a publisher and having the right to censor, and claiming to be a platform where you cannot be held liable for what people say on your website.

One would hope that you would grasp the difference between a social media platform and a publisher. Also, should social media platforms be liable for what people say on it?

Claiming to be both a platform and a publisher is illegal and conflicts with 2 sets of laws.

And which laws would that be?

As long as twitter claims they are a platform they can’t be a publisher.

Yes they can. They can publish their own speech, they can comment on others peoples speech, while at the same time being a social platform for others, because otherwise they have lost their 1A rights.

bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: To all conservatives whining censorship:

That is a false dichotomy. A platform can be a publisher, a platform has the right to moderate content on its website freely, and a publisher can be held not to be liable for what people say on their website if they didn’t—in part or in whole—create or develop the content, receive exclusive rights to publish the content, or hire someone else to create or develop the content. There is no law, let alone two, that says that someone can’t claim to be both a platform and a publisher. Furthermore, there is no law that makes a distinction between platforms and publishers.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: To all conservatives whining censorship:

Which is their right to do so. They can still operate, you just can’t force people to host you against their will. This is the free market in action. If you dislike this, did you consider NOT being a bunch of white supremacist hatemongers trying to violently overthrow a democratically elected government? People who aren’t like that don’t seem to have a problem with a choice of venue.

Paul Alan Levy (profile) says:

Why bother explaining if what you say is so foolishly reasoned

Yes, Twitter has every right to decide who will use its platform. And yes, there is every risk that, in the future, Trump will again misbehave in violation of its ever-shifting rules.

But for this litigator who detests Trump, and took vacation time at work to spend twenty pre-election days in 2016 and 2020 opposing him in swing states, the explanation they gave is a silly one. On a law school exam, it would get an F for poor reasoning.

The mischaracterizations of the facts, and the conspiracy-mindedness that the blog post reflects, resemble, for me, the briefs that the Trump lawyers and their copycats have filed in their various frivolous lawsuits attacking the elections

The two posts they quoted do nothing to "glorify" violence. What this comes down to is that Twitter says Trump has been banned because some of his supporters (in unspecified instances) are reading what he said in various ways. And MISreading what he said, I might add.

Sure he praises his supporters — the 7500000 voters who supported him. He calls them patriots. He says they should be respected. So what’s wrong with that?

He says he won’t be at the inauguration. Yes, a break with tradition, but good riddance!

Twitter says there are plans for armed protests and another attack on the Capitol. THAT is very bad. But Twitter does NOT say that Trump is involved in that planning OR that he tweeted anything about them. I did see a report that Trump had retweeted some of those statements. But the report also said that Twitter had cited those retweets in its decision and plainly it has not. And, because the Twitter account has been deleted in its entirety, I can;t verify that (does anyone have any screenshots?)

When Twitter justifies its decisions by posting this kind of mindless blather, it just tends to suggest that what it has done is arbitrary. And THAT is not useful.

AND its enforcement is even worse. CNN reports that @POTUS contained a statement that Twitter’s ban on his account was "coordinated with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing my account from their platform, to silence me."

Is criticizing Twitter now banned on Twitter?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Why bother explaining if what you say is so foolishly reason

Criticizing any major platform is always banned on that major platform if it gains traction. That’s why people should be extremely suspicious of the fervor in which they declare that sites very similar to its own are extremist and need to be removed.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Why bother explaining if what you say is so foolishly reason

"On a law school exam, it would get an F for poor reasoning."

Is "we need to get this asshole off our property because he’s starting to cause us more trouble than he’s worth" a legal argument?

"Is criticizing Twitter now banned on Twitter?"

No, but if you feel so strongly about how bad a platform is, why are you still using it instead of their competitors?

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Koby (profile) says:

Definitely Censorship

But here’s the more important point — especially directed at the people who will falsely claim that this is somehow censorship: President Trump is not being censored. He is not being limited. At any moment of any day (certainly for the next two weeks, and likely beyond) he can walk out of his office and have every major TV news channel (and every internet streaming platform) broadcast whatever he wants to say, and people will see it.

It’s kind of like saying that the telephone company can ban you from using a telephone because you still can walk outside and talk to people.

The nice thing about free speech and the Constitution is that the rules are already written. They don’t change and morph depending on who did or didn’t win an election. If there was a coordination between twitter and democrat officials, then clearly this was a 1st Amendment violation.

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Definitely Censorship

It’s kind of like saying that the telephone company can ban you from using a telephone because you still can walk outside and talk to people.

Not at all.

If you’re banned from Twitter, there’s still Facebook, Gab, Parler, Reddit, YouTube, 4chan, 8kun, private Mastadon instances, etc., all of which provide more-or-less the same service that Twitter does and via similar means. Not to mention the rest of the internet is still available to you. If the telephone company bans you from using their phone lines, you can’t use the telephone at all.

Twitter actually hosts users’ content on their property. A telephone company merely transmits it through their property.

The nice thing about free speech and the Constitution is that the rules are already written. They don’t change and morph depending on who did or didn’t win an election.

That is true, and they definitively say that a private person like Twitter can ban whomever they want for whatever reason they want whenever they want from their privately owned and privately run property (their platform).

If there was a coordination between twitter and democrat officials, then clearly this was a 1st Amendment violation.

I wouldn’t say “clearly”, but it’s not impossible. However, 1) I haven’t seen any evidence that there was any such coordination, and 2) only the Democratic officials, if anyone, would have violated the 1A—Twitter would not be liable for any allegations of a 1A violation.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Definitely Censorship

"If the telephone company bans you from using their phone lines, you can’t use the telephone at all."

Well, define "telephone company". I know the US has a major problem with lack of competition, but even there I believe that in most places you have a choice of at least a couple of mobile providers, and possibly more than one landline option, along with a multitude of VOIP services that might allow you to make calls. So, even that analogy is rather faulty.

"A telephone company merely transmits it through their property."

They’re also a public utility, that comes under different rules.

"I haven’t seen any evidence that there was any such coordination"

You can’t see things that don’t exist, unlike these people who seem to thrive on hallucination.

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Christenson says:

Encouraging violence by omission

Trump did encourage the mob, but mostly by omission…

Trump claimed the election was stolen, encouraged the rally, then talked about fine people (just like at Charlottesville) when they started doing bad things. He did nothing to ensure that rally stayed peaceful.

It’s very important to remember that the words of the message matter little, it’s the intent and the effect on the hearer that matter.

As to the tweet on @potus: It feels a lot like twitter felt a bit like an angry parent — banning the real donald trump account seemed to have no effect on what was tweeted, so they escalated. The last lie (election fraud) cost two lives by violence on Wednesday, so where is this one going? Perhaps not legally, but it’s not a big stretch for twitter to feel that last tweet from @potus was leading to violence against twitter itself.

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Koby (profile) says:

Re: Encouraging violence by omission

Trump did encourage the mob, but mostly by omission… Trump claimed the election was stolen, encouraged the rally, then talked about fine people (just like at Charlottesville) when they started doing bad things. He did nothing to ensure that rally stayed peaceful.

Those were the original concepts of America, that when some people explained what was going on, others became outraged and demanded action. And that’s a good thing, and why the First Amendment exists. It appears that you are unable to tolerate dissent when the outrage is directed against your opinion.

There is no such thing as collective punishment here in America. We are individuals, and noone is responsible for the actions of other adults. Noone is under any obligation to modify their political opinion based on how others might or might not react. (And before anyone thinks of going there, fires in movie theaters are not a political opinion.)

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TFG says:

Re: Re: Encouraging violence by omission

Shouting fire in a movie theater is also potentially protected 1st Amendment Speech… but doing so might still get you banned from the theater by the theater management.

Meanwhile, shouting falsehoods about a rigged election and telling people to go to D.C., march down Pennsylvania avenue, and fight could very well not be protected speech, since it directly incited a coup attempt.

And, like shouting "Fire!" in a movie theater, it got Trump kicked out of the theater, by the theater management.

Anonymous Coward says:

>They didn’t kick Trump off because he broke the rules, they kicked him off because it finally cost more to keep him on than they stood to gain from having him on the platforms….

Now, be fair. The rules are an approximation on how much a particular tweeter or tweet stands to cost, or gain, them. Twitter is (mostly) not banning illegal speech–the bar for that is pretty high. Twitter is aiming for a mass audience, and they ban stuff that would make that audience uncomfortable.

And that’s OK.

As for me, I do not wish to be part of that mass audience, but I bear Twitter no ill-will either. Twitter is just the medium; it’s the human race which speaks from hearts filled with … well, evil. That evil comes in all shapes, and … I even find it in some of my posts.

But I, as a random guy with a keyboard, am not in a position to influence most of those corrupted hearts. There is no gain in trying to out-bigot the bigots, to mass-hate the mass-haters. Online, moderation ("we don’t talk like that here, please be more polite or leave") is the best we can do. Offline is where the real opportunities to influence people occur.

So, don’t expect Twitter’s move to change hearts, or even to spread civility elsewhere. It just makes their customers less uncomfortable on their site.

And that’s OK, because that’s all that they can do.

Meanwhile, I visit Techdirt instead, where the level of discourse is sometimes more civil. But even at Techdirt, hatred, contempt, and bigotry are socially accepted towards some people or groups, but not towards others. And that’s also evil.

OK, pardon me while I go try to get the log out of my eye. And get that speck checked by an optometrist, would you?

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Meanwhile, I visit Techdirt instead, where the level of discourse is sometimes more civil. But even at Techdirt, hatred, contempt, and bigotry are socially accepted towards some people or groups, but not towards others. And that’s also evil.

I’m curious as to which people or groups would those be, and please, be specific, because details and context matters.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it .

You think by burying your heads in the sand will make 75 million
plus people who voted for him will just go away ?
You are no longer a child who sticks his fingers in his ears says na na na na
to nit hear or get what you want .
Did it work when you were a child ?
It ain’t gonna work now .
Banning and purging does not make them go away
They go underground and come out bigger and badder than you ever thought possible .
And you will be clueless because now all you hear are your own voices
God Help us all

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Wait, I know this one...

Last I checked the biggest protest in recent history was the Women’s march, the day after the 2017 inauguration, featuring 1.5 million women (and some men) in pink pussy hats. Another 1.3 million gathered at city and county centers across the nation.

None of Trump’s protests got even close, despite Trump’s declaration that his numbers were huge.

All those women didn’t go away. And they’re still organized. I think when Trump and his Boogaloos decide to start a civil war, they’ll find they’re on the wrong side of the war story narrative.

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Anonymous Coward says:

But here’s the more important point — especially directed at the people who will falsely claim that this is somehow censorship: President Trump is not being censored. He is not being limited. At any moment of any day (certainly for the next two weeks, and likely beyond) he can walk out of his office and have every major TV news channel (and every internet streaming platform) broadcast whatever he wants to say, and people will see it.

No, that’s very much censorship. That they have good reason to censor him does not change the fact that it is censorship. Yes his is being limited. He cannot use services he was using before solely because of what he was saying. The alternatives that exist are not equivalent. Saying "other people will broadcast what he says is particularly ridiculously as TV news channels are likely to edit his statements in ways that suit them not provide unfiltered statements, and attempts to spread internet streaming of the event are likely to be removed by the very people that banned him to begin with.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’ll pose a question I recently asked in another thread, changed slightly to better reflect the circumstances: Would it be censorship if a club were to tell an unruly or obnoxious customer to leave the premises for harassing the staff and/or bothering other customers, and would or should the answer to the previous question change depending on how popular the club was in that city?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

A club removing someone isn’t censorship, every club in town collectively deciding that a certain type of person could not visit or use it would be.

Definition 1 from Merriam Webster’s dictionary of ‘Censorship’
"the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security."

Nothing about that involves the government. Censorship only happens when the weilders of power come together to agree on something. News outlets can and have censored, book publishers can and have censored, trying to compare things that people are required to go through in order to speak truth to power to a nightclub that’s optional to visit is disingenuous at best.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

A does not become B just because it happens multiple times. If a private company telling someone to leave wouldn’t constitute censorship then multiple private companies wouldn’t either, it would just be the same action occurring multiple times.

Running with that idea though leads to some unpleasant consequences you might not have considered though, for example if a group of racists became known in a town and several businesses decided that they’d rather not have that sort of scum booking events in their stores then refusing to host events by that group would under your definition qualify as censorship, since that would be multiple businesses refusing to let them speak on their property, which is just a titch absurd.

"the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security."

If I decided to set up shop in your front-yard and wax poetic to people passing by about the glory of the FSM and how those that refuse to follow his holy word will be damned to lousy beer and STD riddled strippers in the afterlife, and you decide for some strange reason that you’d rather not have me doing that, are you suppressing my speech? What if all of your neighbors do the same, such that I cannot speak the good word on any of your lawns, have you suppressed and censored me then?

If you want to claim that a privately owned platform telling people ‘not on our property’ counts as censorship rather than moderation and discretion then you’ve watered the term down such that it’s effectively meaningless, and you’re welcome to do so I suppose just don’t be surprised when people don’t take any future claims of censorship seriously.

News outlets can and have censored, book publishers can and have censored, trying to compare things that people are required to go through in order to speak truth to power to a nightclub that’s optional to visit is disingenuous at best.

No one is owed a platform to speak from. If a news station doesn’t let you speak on their show you have not been censored, nor is it censorship if a book publisher decides that they’re not interested in what you want them to print, even if you think, or are even right, that what you’ve got to say is important. If the government or possibly a similarly powerful entity steps in and tells them that they aren’t allowed to let you speak that’s another matter entirely, but so long as they’re the ones choosing then no, it’s moderation or discretion, not censorship.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Pretty much this. The idea that censorship is purely a government activity is created by the people who want to censor everyone the most. It’s a transparent shell game involving word lawyering (censorship in every version of the English Language doesn’t mention government, but instead the motives behind the people who are doing it) and people fall for it every time.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Twitter can’t censor you. Censorship involves someone violating your right to speak freely. Getting banned from Twitter doesn’t do that.

Censorship is none of these things:

  • the loss of an audience you were never owed
  • the loss of your spot on a platform you were never entitled to use
  • criticism (or the social consequences) of your speech

Censorship is someone violating your right to speak freely. That usually involves threats of lawsuits, jail time, or even violence. Twitter does none of those things when it bans someone. Twitter can’t do them.

You’re not owed a spot on Twitter. You’re not owed access to its userbase. You’re not entitled to make Twitter give you an audience. Feel free to argue otherwise, but you’ll need one hell of an argument to avoid looking like an entitled ass.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Censorship involves someone using their power to prevent you from speaking, or intimidate you into not speaking. It does not stop being censorship just because other platforms exist. A platform may have every right to censor you, but that doesn’t make it not censorship and not a violation of the principle of free speech.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 'We've seen how you act and have no interest in hosting that.'

I wouldn’t even count that as censorship, as I can easily see a person getting the boot from one platform for breaking the rules or otherwise making themselves so toxic that their current platform no longer wanted them around trying to set up shop on another platform, only for that other platform to decide they didn’t want to deal with the same problems and preemptively telling them to keep looking, which would be a reasonable response.

(It would be similar to a particular person getting a reputation as an unruly and obnoxious drunk being banned from one bar, and other bars deciding ahead of time that they don’t want to subject their staff and customers to that behavior either.)

Now if the first platform told or ‘suggested’ that the second platform not host the individual, that I could see wandering into censorship territory, as it would no longer be just multiple parties coming to the same conclusion but one attempting to influence others into coming to the same conclusion they did with the goal of keeping certain people unable to post.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Not even private censorship

"It would be censorship if Twitter said, you can’t post here because of something you said somewhere else"

Not really, as you still have the power to keep saying that stuff in those other places. Twitter is not in the wrong for saying "hey, we saw what you did elsewhere, we don’t want that behaviour here". If you’re caught breaking the house rules in Vegas, it’s not a bad thing if the casino tells you that you’re not allowed to go back inside, nor is it a bad thing if other casinos on the Strip tell you that you’re also not welcome in their property after they find out what you did.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

" The idea that censorship is purely a government activity is created by the people who want to censor everyone the most."

Censorship and Freedom of Speech (1st amendment) …. are not the same thing.

Word lawyering – lol

Private business on private property conducting private activities do not need to adhere to any of your ill conceived ideas about what your rights entail.

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: The VIP rule makes sense

If you have rulers of state (or of large institutions) on your communication service and they are reasonable it allows the service to act as a red phone. The notion is, so long as we’re still talking, no one is shooting yet.

(Oh and do you know about the missile fleet flying your colors off the coast of my port? They’re making my generals nervous.)

The problem is when you have someone who is not reasonable, and just uses it as a platform to radicalize his base.

Two-way mass communication on the internet scale is still rather new and we’re still figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Also there’s money in having VIPs and celebrities with active accounts.

So much money.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: The VIP rule makes sense

This paints you as a closet fascist, you know that right? You just said the problem is two-way communication on the internet (by the way, that’s probably older of a concept than you are. We were ‘two way communicating’ with people halfway across the world in the bulletin board days) like you want to see the internet become glorified cable TV.

You’re throwing away the greatest communication tool ever devised by mankind over a kneejerk, reactionary emotion over some people using it the wrong way. As far as I’m concerned, you’re not the reasonable one in this equation. No sane person would ask for punishment for themselves to right the wrongs of someone completely unrelated to you. Which is what you’re doing, you’re demanding punishment to the very foundation that is required for you to even post this comment. I hope someday the irony of what you’re doing rings in your ears, and it does it before we’re required to get a ‘drivers license for the internet’ (remember when Mike used to rally against having that? I miss those days).

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: "closet fascist"

Yeah, I don’t think I made the argument you think I made.

VIPs talking to each other and relaying important information to the people: good.

VIPs lying on mass media and making contrafactual claims to incite loyalists to violence and subversive action: bad.

Does that help?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Meanwhile and relevantly,

"Sound moderation policy", yeah I want the company that has to put suicide prevention nets around its chinese factories to tell me what sound moderation policies are.
I want the company that is lobbying congress right at this moment to re-define the definition of ‘slavery’ so it doesn’t have to face regulation for its inhumane conditions of its workers to tell me how to be a decent person.

What a great age we live in, where all the least moral people have become our moral guardians.

JoeCool (profile) says:

Re: Re: Meanwhile and relevantly,

"Sound moderation policy", yeah I want the company that has to put suicide prevention nets around its chinese factories to tell me what sound moderation policies are.

What does one have to do with the other? Nothing. You do know that suicide rates for those workers is lower than the general population, right? Also, most American skyscrapers have provisions to try to stop suicide attempts. That in itself means nothing more than the owners of the building are worried about liability lawsuits from relatives of people who try to commit suicide using the buildings. You also seem to think that those factories are owned and operated by Apple when Apple is merely a customer. A big customer, yes, but still just a customer.

If you want to complain about not taking Apple seriously about moderation advice, try pointing to their App store or something similar rather than oversea factories that supply them (and many other companies) some parts.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Meanwhile and relevantly,

There need to be some serious anti-trust laws implemented against Google and Apple here. Force them to allow for alternate app stores, side-loading, and so on.

I’m not even conservative. Many serious problems have arisen from Google and Apple’s absolute power. Abuses of monopoly, high fees, limited selection, deplatforming platforms like Tumblr (the source of my main gripes with Apple) on a whim until it crippled itself.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Meanwhile and relevantly,

"deplatforming platforms like Tumblr (the source of my main gripes with Apple) on a whim until it crippled itself"

Tumblr was crippled by it’s wrong-headed anti-porn crusade, not by Apple.

Oh, and here’s a hint – if your service that operates as a fully functional website that can be accessed through any browser is crippled by not having an easy app (many of which are just HTML5 shells for browser access to begin with, so don’t really do much else than a bookmark would), it’s probably not something that most people are that bothered about accessing to begin with.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Tumblr was crippled

I thought Verizon bought Yahoo and had a morality stick up its butt so it banned adult material on Tumblr. Less a crusade and more of a dumb corporate policy.

I guess that’s an anti-porn crusade maybe. Sony had a similar anti-porn stance which killed Betamax and did damage to the markets of the PlayStation offerings. I never thought of it as a crusade so much as a policy based on the specific tastes of upper management.

Kinda like Too many notes for the royal ear.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Tumblr was crippled

True, crusade might be putting it a bit too strongly, but generally speaking it was that purge that led to the exodus of regular users, not its availability on the app store vs the web.

"Sony had a similar anti-porn stance which killed Betamax"

Erm, are you sure about that? I don’t recall an anti-porn policy, just that the cheaper cost and longer tapes made VHS the best choice for that industry to adopt. I could be wrong, having only seen that particular battle from afar when I was too young to think about porn, but that’s how I always understood it.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Tape length and machine cost

Yeah, that’s really my recollection. Betamax was more expensive (due to Sony’s ongoing insistence at creating expensive to licence proprietary formats rather than participate in open standards – see also Memory Stick, UMD, MiniDisc, etc) and was restricted on runtime, especially when compared to alternate speed settings on the VHS tapes. They were technically superior, but at the time the novelty of getting a long video on a cheap tape was more important that image quality.

It’s quite likely that the fact that the porn industry chose VHS as a result of all this was a driver for certain types of traffic, but I suppose it’s also likely that it wasn’t relevant. Having grown up in the UK, where hardcore porn was by default illegal, and my memories of Betamax is a brief period following the ironically placed 1984 Video Recordings Act where the rental stores had both formats before also defaulting to VHS, I can’t speak to the American experience. But, I’m fairly sure that Sony’s attitude to pornography was not a real factor.

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Anonymous Coward says:

You do realize Historically speaking you are abdicating from the history a sitting President ?
So Basically if you removed Hilter from history
Do you think that it would never happen again
OR would it happen all over worse than before
because in your ignorance you failed to learn from your past
because it hurt you feelings …………

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Anonymous Coward says:

Mike I have followed you for years but you are a <i>fool</i> if you do not see how this has kicked off a discussion on every major tech site on which sites should and shouldn’t be blacklisted. From Parler to 4chan to even 9gag. All of these sites are on the chopping block now, and it started because of the idea that they were simply denying services to places where Trump and his fans congregate. That’s not what they’re doing, Mike. They’re denying competition and using this as a convenient excuse to do what they have wanted to do for years: Lock everyone into this tiny box on the internet.

I would hope someone who watched the internet emerge would know that companies, especially billion dollar tech ones, are opportunists. They don’t care about right or wrong, they care about forcing you to use their product by hook or crook. How can someone who has spent the better part of his life writing about how litigious these companies can become when given even an inch suddenly decide that he needs to throw his head on the chopping block to rid the internet of someone who will be gone in two weeks?

But I digress, Apple is now trying to lobby Congress against the bill that defines Chinese Slavery. I’m sure you’ll be on the ground shining their shoes with your tongue as long as you’re reminded that they’re a free company and can "do what they want".

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It’s funny how so many folks have started appearing who claim not to agree with Trump but have promptly started to bend over backwards to suck his orange phallus now that he got punished once after inciting his supporters and getting his bigly feefees hurt.

It’s almost like rats abandoning a sinking ship but nah, couldn’t be. After all these very fine people said they don’t support Trump, right? The fighting to death on his behalf is pure coincidence…

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Who is they?

We? Does that include me? Because you never asked.

Do google and twitter control most discussion on the internet? From where does this claim originate?

Do you think that communication platforms should allow the coordination of terrorist activities upon their private property for which they are liable for what goes on there?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Of course, but any competent admin there must have predicted this possibility and made contingency plans. It might not be as simple as switching your terraform config to azure when aws isn’t available due to the controversy, but if you’re on cloud infrastructure and it takes a week just to come back up, you’re doing something wrong.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Well, that’s what happens when you encourage things most people don’t want to be associated with. They can either change their business model to something other than "honeypot for people banned from polite society", deal with the fact that this business model restricts their options, or set up their own infrastructure to work with. They have options, it’s their own problem if they don’t like them.

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Anonymous Coward says:

They are probably afraid of the left, now that they will control the government, passing laws saying the social media has to silence conservative views

Of course, social media outside the United States would not be subject to such a law. DailyMotion is an example of that.

Because DailyMotion, and its servers are all in France, they only have to follow French and EU laws. American laws do not apply in France.

And Gab, based in Anguilla, would also not be subject to such a law, as American laws do not apply in Anguilla, as long as none of their servers are here in the US, American laws would never apply to Gab

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Conservative Views

I doubt they’re going to decide that a given ideology is bad. We already moderate for a number of very specific kinds of speech:

Obscenity and vulgarity (in family friendly forums)
Hate speech
Incitement to violence
Copyrighted material (e.g. Beatles tunes)
Dangerous recipes (e.g. bomb-making)
State secrets (actionable operational intelligence)

Conservative speech that doesn’t fit into these categories (e.g. military adventurism, arguments for small government) generally doesn’t get moderated out.

Conservative speech that does (e.g. religious homophobia, white man’s burden) will be more susceptible to moderation.

However large speech platforms like Facebook and Twitter rely on a large amount of automation and triage, which doesn’t treat all cases equally (and often not very well.) But this effect doesn’t have a conservative bias, and screws everyone with the same level of consistency.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Or, to put it another way...

Conservative: I have been censored for my conservative views
Me: Holy shit! You were censored for wanting lower taxes?
Con: LOL no…no not those views
Me: So…deregulation?
Con: Haha no not those views either
Me: Which views, exactly?
Con: Oh, you know the ones

(All credit to Twitter user @ndrew_lawrence.)

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m honestly mixed about this.
If Trump didn’t directly entice violent (and I don’t know if this is the case), and that they banned him because his wording could cause other people to act violent, then this thing sounds scary and dangerous. Am I missing something here? I am hoping that this isn’t a "butterfly effect" reason of a ban.

Also this is a very dangerous argument:

"President Trump is not being censored. He is not being limited. At any moment of any day (certainly for the next two weeks, and likely beyond) he can walk out of his office and have every major TV news channel (and every internet streaming platform) broadcast whatever he wants to say, and people will see it."

Why I find this dangerous is because nearly everyone can find a different way of promoting free speech. If Sony banned cracks of bottoms in DMC5, players could go to Xbox One’s version of the game. If someone says "I don’t agree with Trump and Biden." on Twitter, then had their comment removed by Twitter, the person could just go to YouTube and say it on there instead. Being able to have these possibilities does not change the fact that it’s still restricting free speech (i.e. restricting the freedom of any legally protected speech being spread). Almost any lawful speech will have an alternative way likely.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

it’s still restricting free speech on Twitter

FTFY

Twitter can’t stop Trump from using Parler to spread his bile. If it could, that would be “restricting free speech”. But Twitter admins have every right to decide who is welcome and what speech is acceptable on Twitter. The law doesn’t (and shouldn’t) force any platform to host all legally protected speech. For what reason should Twitter be an exception?

Space5000 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

=Disclaimer, same person, just recently made an account.=
I’m not accusing Twitter as violating the first amendment as I think the meaning of censorship is a bit more broad. Though I was using "free speech" a lot if I’m remembering correctly but I don’t think I was saying that Twitter banning any lawful speech is a violation of the first amendment.

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Bloof (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Being denied the largest available audience is not being censored, Trump has no more of a right to a twitter account than he does to hold a rally at any venue he chooses. Denying him the ability to walk out onto the middle of the field during the superbowl halftime show to start giving political speeches is not the start of some slippery slope toward robbing anyone of their rights, it’s just applying the same rules to a powerful person that we’re all subject to, rules we agreed to when we entered someone else’s property.

Space5000 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

When I was stating what censorship was, I was mainly referring to the mere definition of it. A company can legally stop a lot of lawful speech, despite that, it’s still censorship if it fits the definition of censorship.

Perhaps the reason why I was concerned was because of the main debate of banning people for having a political opinion.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

" A company can legally stop a lot of lawful speech"

No they can’t. They can stop you using their property to express it, they can’t stop you expressing speech elsewhere. What’s the problem with a business being able to refuse access to disruptive customers?

"the main debate of banning people for having a political opinion"

That debate is, frankly, bull and is normally used by people who can’t defend their actual speech. Scratch any right-winger’s argument about how they were banned for having a political opinion, and you’ll usually find some other reason they were actually banned. Usually it’s abusive behaviour, spreading dangerous misinformation or outright white nationalist propaganda, but there’s usually a reason that’s not merely because they had a political opinion.

Space5000 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I think I was mainly trying to point out that the argument the person made is a bit dangerous, which can be so dangerously broad.

I’m not trying to say that "censorship" is always bad. Just that to say that "it’s not censorship" because "it’s possible to say it elsewhere" is a bit ridiculous and basically suggests that censorship probably doesn’t even exist.

Regardless if constitutional rights are violated or not, if I was banned from protesting "Trump is a loser." on the street outside, but not from swinging it around inside my house, then by the one ‘logic’, I am not being censored just because I can still say it in my house. Yet, I’m restricted from stating it outside and can barely spread the message to other people.

Going back to the political opinion debate, I do think it can sometimes be morally debatable outside of current law when it comes to censorship in general regarding one-sided political sides in lawful popular media websites.

Hope I’m being more clear here.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“ Just that to say that "it’s not censorship" because "it’s possible to say it elsewhere" is a bit ridiculous”

The point is that Twitter have the right to moderate their own platform, and you have the right to go elsewhere if you’re not happy with their rules. If your local bar kicks you out for being disruptive, your right to drink has not been curtailed. But the preferable solution for everyone is for you to find a different bar to drink in, not for the bar to be forced to let you in against their wishes. That’s a violation of their rights…

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I’ll repeat something I said in another comment, which is that you can call a private platform kicking someone off their property censorship rather than moderation/discretion, but in so doing you’re weakening the word to the point that it loses any impact. When censorship can range from the government telling everyone ‘that person is not allowed to speak, period‘ and a private business deciding that they’d rather not host a particular person’s speech to say ‘they’ve been censored’ rather looses any kick.

Can they still speak, or have they just been told to leave a particular building(digital or otherwise) and can speak just fine elsewhere? Those are two very different things, so by watering down the term to include both you’ve essentially made the claim of censorship useless at describing what took place, and you might as well just toss it out entirely and stick with a more lengthy explanation of what happened, which is what you’ll have to do every time at that point since the word ‘censorship’ has been made effectively meaningless.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Trump getting banned from Twitter isn’t censorship. I’d call it censorship if it were. But it isn’t — so I’m not. You haven’t convinced me that a man who can call a press conference to say “fuck you, Twitter” has been censored. I doubt you ever will.

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Bloof (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

He has access to a hell of a lot of heavily trafficked websites, the sympathetic right wing press would love to provide him with a soapbox, he also has his the money to hire someone full time to run his personal twitter -like service. He has the email addresses and phone numbers of millions of people who want to hear what he has to say, so even without twitter, he has more options to be heard by a wider audience than anyone on this website, including the owners.

Trump is not being silenced or censored, he broke the rules of a private platform. The slope he is on is not slippery, he is waddling down by choice.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

"He’s been censored from Twitter and Facebook."

No he’s been kicked off of Twitter and Facebook, which is their right as private companies. Twitter and Facebook do not owe anyone access to their services, they could kick off anyone who doesn’t pledge allegiance to the mole people if they want. Probably a poor business decision but it is an option.

"And in two weeks he won’t be able to have those press conferences."

In two weeks he won’t be in the white house, why should he be able to have White House press conferences? He can have other press conferences if he wants, like at Mar a Largo, or perhaps at 4 Seasons Total Landscaping (provided he pays the conference fee and rents a roto tiller). But no, he is not allowed to have White House press conferences after he leaves office.

Anyone can have a press conference, but they are not owed attendance by the press, or anyone for that matter. In point of fact I routinely hold press conferences in the living room about the state of the lights in the house, yet the main stream media has never once responded to my invites.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Censorship is silencing someone by government means. Trump is in part being silenced (on Twitter) by Democrats instructing social media platforms to do so. By that construction, you could say the government is wielding it’s influence against him.

It is admittedly justified censorship, as he is violating the spirit of incitement precedent, even if he isn’t violating the letter of it.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"Am I missing something here? "

Apparently. Trump has spent years getting special treatment from Twitter that would get (and has got) pretty much anyone else banned from their platform years ago. He’s moved further and further into spreading disinformation and outright lies since he lost the election, leading to Twitter having to put a disclaimer on virtually every single one of his posts about that election. On Wednesday, he addressed a crowd that had been whipped into a frenzy with repeated lies about how the election had been "stolen", calling on Mike Pence to override the public vote, and when he didn’t do that, Trump inspired the crowd to march on the Capitol building and attempt insurrection.

The tweets he just got banned for weren’t isolated incidents. They’re straw that broke the camel’s back, with Twitter not really wanting to be associated with the cult’s next planned attempt to violently overthrow the will of the people.

"Being able to have these possibilities does not change the fact that it’s still restricting free speech"

Free speech does not give you the right to use someone else’s private property to express it, and that’s not a problem if the government aren’t enacting the restriction. This has always been true, it’s just recently that a small group of loud whiners have decided that Twitter should lose their private property rights.

Space5000 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

For the first paragraph under quote, that’s interesting. It’s still a bit hazy for me to tell if this is obviously violating the Twitter’s rules but I’m not frustrated if the reasoning was against something very likely to be creating a high risk similar to open crowds during a pandemic.

For the reaction under the second quote, you’re right for the most part (hate speech and maybe a couple of other topics are a bit hazy) on the property thing, other than that, I was mainly trying to say that even if a company can censor a legally protected speech, it would still fit the definition of censorship, which isn’t even the same as saying "My rights are violated.". I think there are some video game censorship that are silly and somewhat debatable, but I’m not saying my rights are violated.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Nintendo telling a publisher to remove troublesome content from a game prior to release on the Switch isn’t censorship. That publisher can publish their uncensored game on Steam. Censorship literally requires that your rights be violated — that you be prevented from speaking your mind. So Twitter can’t censor anyone.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

that publisher can publish their uncensored game on Steam.

Funny how that particular version is "uncensored" when you claim that it was never censored at all. Maybe your definition of "censored" is not the same one that the rest of us are using, no matter how many times you insist that you are right.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Context matters, and the term uncensored in the context of games means it will contain sex, violence, blood, gore and other things that isn’t appropriate for all audiences.

Now, if you actually look up the etymology for the term uncensored in the context of games you will quickly find that games was actually censored by the government which was found unconstitutional by the SCOTUS.

These days, the term means that a game is intended for a mature audience (see ESRB ratings for example).

In short, you are wrong because you couldn’t be bothered to understand the context.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 GTA San Andreas

There was the whole murder-simulator accusation, and we eventually realized [Jack Thompson](Jack Thompson) was just crazy and needed to be deplatformed. He got disbarred at any rate.

Curiously, these days, when I think of Murder Simulators I think of mafia-style games like Among Us which have the pacing of cozy murders (in contrast to FPS deathmatch or capture-the-flag multiplayer games which are more sporty).

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Space5000 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Then why is it called "censorship" whenever there is usual talks about specific regional version of games blocking specific content then? I don’t rely on popular opinion a lot, but from a common perspective and how one of the definitions out there for "censorship" does not specifically say anything that limits the definition of censorship to lawful speech violated, I believe it might be a bit fair to ask this question.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Regional blocking

Regional blocking is usually due to state laws and policies and it’s based on where you are.

And yes it gets legally-gray if your region’s internet needs are only served by Comcast, and Comcast decides you can’t use a given website (and blocks it). But we’re not supposed to have regional monopolies in the US. That’s also the point of net neutrality (which Trump’s guy Ajit Pai was glad to nix).

Of course these are about receiving content, not about posting or publishing content.

Law Enforcement is limited when it comes to restricting what you can say, but no website is required to host what you say.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"if a company can censor a legally protected speech, it would still fit the definition of censorship, which isn’t even the same as saying "My rights are violated.""

What do you mean by the phrase legally protected speech?

You can not call the cops on some business because they do not let you rant upon their property. Well, you could but might regret it.

Space5000 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I think I intended that "legally protected speech" is speech that isn’t breaking the law. I was also saying that censorship is not always equal to the first amendment being violated.

Though granted, sometimes it could be debatable. (e.g. Twitter censoring any lawful political speech in favor of particular side).

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"I think I intended that "legally protected speech" is speech that isn’t breaking the law. "

Totally different thing. You can say or do things that are perfectly legal, but still get told you’re not welcome on private property as a result. It’s perfectly legal for me to tell the local bar owner that his daughter is a whore, but I wouldn’t expect to be welcomed with open arms after that.

"Though granted, sometimes it could be debatable. (e.g. Twitter censoring any lawful political speech in favor of particular side)."

Which, as you keep being told, has absolutely fuck all to do with the first amendment. No private company is compelled to be neutral, whether that’s Breitbart deleting and banning posts from anyone to the left of Mussolini, or Twitter kicking off Nazis. An actual first amendment violation would be the government mandating that sites host speech against their will.

Gabriel says:

Ridiculous that anyone defends this extreme censorship. Trump literally told his followers to be peaceful and disavowed the storming of the capitol building before being perma banned. Now twitter is targeting every conservative like Rush Limbaugh.

Big tech companies need to be heavily regulated, they should not be the ones who decide who gets to speak and not.

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Gabriel says:

Ridiculous that anyone defends this extreme censorship. Trump literally told his followers to be peaceful and disavowed the storming of the capitol building before being perma banned. Now twitter is targeting every conservative like Rush Limbaugh.

Big tech companies need to be heavily regulated, they should not be the ones who decide who gets to speak and not.

bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

They don’t get to decide to speak or not. They get to decide who gets to speak on any platform(s) they own as private persons or not. Just go to Gab, 4chan, 8kun, or (when it’s back online) Parler if Twitter and Facebook ban you from their platforms. Maybe make your own platform.

Also, a lot of people believe Trump was being insincere/weak in his “disavowal”, and I didn’t see him tell anyone to be peaceful.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Tech circle

Well written way to circle logic then justify banning someone you just don’t agree with on a political level.

Trump did not cause that riot, some people out of many made a poor decision that he never experienced in his rallys. He most likely did not expect what happened.

Obviously security at the capital did’t even expect it though as I watched the news I did see one officer wave people past the barriers towards the whitehouse. Was that wise? Why did that officer do that?

Why did they stop the count on election night? Many states at the same time too. I never seen that in my life time. Very suspecious.

People went to that rally to show support for Our President. Also they wanted congress to look into the election irregularites. A serious look at election reform so future elections could be trusted. Did they forget that. Did you not realize that is what people were hoping for congress would not forget.

Yeah a few people went over the top. No excuse. But most people did not do that and that was a so called insurrection as some over the top propaganda media people push now. It would have been organized and you know it and it would have actually been one.

The sad thing in all this has shown that You people have no publishing right to censor articles from major newspapers. Have no sense to sensor what many think was a stolen election by your own actions to delete stories and concerns you actually perpetuated it. Instead of people to discuss how could this happen. What laws where changed that many question the outcome? All the evidence you refuse to even look at. It was not debunked it was not taken in court to review. Would you not want to know the truth? Obviously not, because the real threat is the truth.

So people cry for justice. They can accept if perhaps Biden won, but what they cannot except is a fraudulent placed occupant in the white house as Biden most likely is. But the constitution be damned or constituional laws broken during this election.

What happened was caused by bad actors in the Democratic party that cause misturst.

Your behaviour adds nothing but more concern of actions of a new administration that might be happy to silence, itimitate oppossing views in our new communist or Dictatorship way of censorship under false flags.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Umm, yeah remember stating that was bad and not accepted. But alas out of thousand of people there you get those unfortunately.

Don’t condone it; but I don’t broad paint a brush on a large group of people either when most did not participate.

And if you actually think that was an attempt to subvert democracy guess you never seen an actually coup. Idiots stealing trinkets like some papers or even a paper weight and strolling around taking selfies is really not a serious attempt.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

if you actually think that was an attempt to subvert democracy guess you never seen an actually coup.

One rioter took twist ties with him onto the Senate floor. Pipe bombs were found near the Capitol. Several of the rioters had guns of their own.

If you think that wasn’t an attempt to subvert democracy, you don’t give a fuck about facts.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Yes that man needs jail time forgot about that ….yeah pipe bombs are dangerous but seroulsly everyone made them in high school. Not like the death trap bomb but they can kill if your walking over it. So– off to jail with that one.

The person that smashed in that poor captial man’s head that he died just doing his job needs a life sentenced or death sentence. No excuse for that violence.

I was referring to most of them taking selfies sitting in chairs the real thugs need major punishment. The idiots that smashed the windows etc. But to think this a real attempt of a government over throw when it was
obviously not organized. Is really over the top.

Except in the minds of those few lone people that did the bad things the rest just strolled around and took pictures aimlessly taking trinkits. Remember that woman was also a person who wandered into the ground and she paid a price shot dead and unarmed.. Like to know how that happened.

Yes she should not have been there and in fear bad things happen.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

pipe bombs are dangerous but seroulsly everyone made them in high school

Where the hell did you go to high school?

I was referring to most of them taking selfies sitting in chairs

They chose to break into the Capitol building and go where they weren’t allowed. They deserve to face the consequences of that decision.

to think this a real attempt of a government over throw when it was obviously not organized. Is really over the top.

Yeah, about that…

And the riot was an attempt to overthrow democracy. The rioters wanted to stop the certification of Joe Biden as the next president. He won a free and fair election. They wanted Trump to stay despite his loss. What would you call a politically motivated riot meant to subvert the will of the people and install the actual loser of an election as the president?

that woman was also a person who wandered into the ground and she paid a price shot dead and unarmed.. Like to know how that happened.

“ ‘Go! Go!’ she shouts, and then two men hoist her up to the rim of a broken window. As she sticks her head through the frame, a Capitol Police officer in plain clothes fires a shot, and she falls back into the crowd. Blood starts pouring from her mouth. … ‘Nothing will stop us,’ she wrote on Twitter the day before her death. ‘They can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours …. dark to light!’ ” (Source)

she should not have been there

And that’s why she’s dead.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Maybe those bad actors had that idea in their head to try to stop the certification of Biden.

The thousands of others that did not set foot into the captial were there to protest for election integrity and the elimination of election fraud and laws that were changed leading up to the election that were unconstitutional and jeopardized its integrity. And to tell Congress address this issue look to look into it. Have an actual trial that takes a look at the evidence instead of the constant dismisals of you filed late or you have no standing.

Had the supreme court done their job and addressed the constitutional issue that was needed to settle this. We as people of this nation could have seen a trail. Seen what proof there was and then if there was none or lacking fine people can accept that.

But the supreme court skirted their duty, broke the constitutional responsibility. Though Justice Alito and Thomas said the case had merit to be heard …… John Roberts dismissed it not for merit but for no standing when 33 states sued and they had standing. It was a lame way to not do what they should have.

That was why they marched after the rally to the capital … that was why the rally was started. It was support for the president and to say hey you congress do something about this election fraud and last minute changes to laws that compromised and broke constitutional law and probably most likely handed the presidency to the wrong person.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

They marched to the Capitol because Donald Trump had told them for months that the election would be/was rigged. He offered no proof of this rigging. His own flunkies said there was no rigging. His lawyers gave no proof of this rigging to the courts. But Trump persisted in his delusion. It soon became a collective delusion among his supporters.

They marched to the Capitol because Donald Trump (among others) egged them on. He didn’t tell them to “protest peacefully” or “write letters”. He, his idiot son, and his even bigger idiot of a lawyer all but told the crowd to stop Pence and Congress by any means necessary.

They marched to the Capitol because they wanted to “stop the steal”. They broke down doors and windows, assaulted cops, and threatened the safety of Congress and the Vice President. Some of them had pipebombs and guns and twist ties. A makeshift gallows was seen near the Capitol grounds.

The rioters who attempted to subvert democracy on the 6th of January 2021 didn’t “protest” at the Capitol for the sake of “election integrity”. They descended upon, and forcefully infiltrated, the Capitol for one purpose: Keep Donald Trump in the White House, no matter the cost.

Four dead rioters. One dead cop. And Biden will still be president come the 20th. That their coup attempt failed doesn’t make it any less of one.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

Perhaps a little reading of the history behind the many coup attempts that occur worldwide would be beneficial.
There have been many and some succeed. I doubt that one could determine an outcome based solely upon their personal opinions of what transpired.
Downplaying illegal activities, what’s next .. proclaiming a divine right to take over the world?

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Pipe bombs

A single poorly made unworkable Molotov Cocktail and (I think) a gun replica was enough to cause vast pearl clutching and mass condemnation of the 2014 protests of the shooting of Michael Brown

But pipe bombs in the US Capitol left by violent white insurgents are somehow no big thing.

Double standards.

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

The thousands of others that did not set foot into the captial were there to protest for election integrity and the elimination of election fraud and laws that were changed leading up to the election that were unconstitutional and jeopardized its integrity.

The people who did not even try to enter the Capitol are irrelevant to this discussion. The people who did were breaking the law, and many of them attempted a coup. They’re the ones we’re talking about. You can defend the people who stayed outside until the cows come home, but it will have no effect on the arguments being made here.

Also, courts have explicitly ruled against those claims. There was no problem with the integrity of the election, no election fraud, and exactly one unconstitutional change to a law that didn’t affect many votes.

But the supreme court skirted their duty, broke the constitutional responsibility.

No, they did not. Under the Constitution, Texas has no standing to bring a case about other states’ election laws. The Supreme Court has no duty to hear a case where the plaintiff lacks standing to bring that case.

Though Justice Alito and Thomas said the case had merit to be heard

No. Alito and Thomas said that they felt the Supreme Court lacks the discretion to not hear a case where the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction (such as when one state sues another like here), regardless of whether or not that has actually has any merit at all. They did not say that the case had any merit whatsoever, and they explicitly said that they would not grant the requested relief.

John Roberts dismissed it not for merit but for no standing when 33 states sued and they had standing.

Actually, only one state sued (Texas); the other 32 merely joined as amici to file a brief in support of the lawsuit. They were not plaintiffs.

As for standing, as I mentioned above, under the Constitution, one state cannot sue another state over the latter’s election laws. The Constitution explicitly leaves pretty much every aspect of the voting and vote-counting process to the individual states. And an Article III judge (including those on the Supreme Court) cannot rule further on a lawsuit if the Plaintiff(s) cannot show that they have standing to bring the lawsuit in the first place. In order to have standing, you must be able to show that you yourself have a legally cognizable injury that can be redressed by the court. It is not a high bar, but it is a critical one. Texas could not reach that low bar. That means that they cannot be the one to bring suit over the alleged injury, so the case is fatally flawed. If your neighbor gets punched by someone, you cannot sue that person over that incident because you received no injury from it.

Have an actual trial that takes a look at the evidence instead of the constant dismisals of you filed late or you have no standing.

Here’s the thing. Judges have looked at the evidence. In every case they did look, they found that the evidence a) was inadmissible in court, b) only showed the vote-counting process proceeding normally and lawfully, or c) was contradicted and outweighed by other evidence presented and thus presumably false. The evidence was so bad that there was no need to go to a trial.

Plus, most of the cases didn’t allege fraud of any sort (which includes all of the lawsuits dismissed for lack of standing or filing late), and, with one singular exception with little impact, every one of the law changes were ruled to be constitutional as a matter of law by judges, and matters of law are generally decided well before trial if there’s no material dispute about the facts of the case.

congress do something about this election fraud and last minute changes to laws that compromised and broke constitutional law and probably most likely handed the presidency to the wrong person.

As mentioned above, the Constitution leaves most details about how to hold an election and count the votes afterwards to the individual states, and pretty much everything else is set in the Constitution itself. That means that Congress can’t actually do anything about the things you alleged. It’s a purely state and local issue.

Furthermore, as also mentioned, any presented evidence of alleged election fraud was either false or mistaken as found in several courts, and courts have ruled that those law changes were not unconstitutional. As such, there was no evidence of election fraud, and there were no law changes that compromised or broke constitutional law. (There was one thing ruled unconstitutional, but it involved a minuscule amount of votes.) Also, Congress can’t actually do anything about unconstitutional state laws. Only state legislatures and state or federal courts can do anything about those. This is another case of fed