A Few More Thoughts On The Total Deplatforming Of Parler & Infrastructure Content Moderation

from the it's-tricky dept

I’ve delayed writing deeper thoughts on the total deplatforming of Parler, in part because there was so much else happening (including some more timely posts about Parler’s lawsuit regarding it), but more importantly because for years I’ve been calling for people to think more deeply about content moderation at the infrastructure layer, rather than at the edge. Because those issues are much more complicated than the usual content moderation debates.

And once again I’m going to make the mistake of offering a nuanced argument on the internet. I urge you to read through this entire post, resist any kneejerk responses, and consider the larger issues. In fact, when I started to write this post, I thought it was going to argue that the moves against Parler, while legal, were actually a mistake and something to be concerned about. But as I explored the arguments, I simply couldn’t justify any of them. Upon inspection, they all fell apart. And so I think I’ll return to my initial stance that the companies are free to make decisions here. There should be concern, however, when regulators and policymakers start talking about content moderation at the infrastructure layer.

The “too long, didn’t read” version of this argument (and again, please try to understand the nuance) is that even though Parler is currently down, it’s not due to a single company having total control over the market. There are alternatives. And while it appears that Parler is having difficulty finding any such alternative to work with it, that’s the nature of a free market. If you are so toxic that companies don’t want to do business with you, that’s on you. Not them.

It is possible to feel somewhat conflicted over this. I initially felt uncomfortable with Amazon removing Parler from AWS hosting, effectively shutting down the service, and with Apple removing its app from the app store, effectively barring it from iPhones. In both cases, those seemed like very big guns that weren’t narrowly targeted. I was less concerned about Google’s similar removal, because that didn’t block Parler from Android phones, since you don’t have to go through Google to get on an Android phone. But (and this is important) I think all three moves are clearly legal and reasonable steps for the companies to take. As I explored each issue, I kept coming back to a simple point: the problems Parler is currently facing are due to its own actions and the unwillingness of companies to associate with an operation so toxic. That’s the free market.

If Parler’s situation was caused by government pressure or because there were no other options for the company, then I would be a lot more concerned. But that does not appear to be the case.

The internet infrastructure stack is represented in different ways, and there’s no one definitive model. But an easy way to think of it is that there are “edge” providers — the websites you interact with directly — and then there’s everything beneath them: the Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) that help route traffic, the hosting companies/data centers/cloud providers that host the actual content, the broadband/network/access providers, and the domain registers and registrars that help handle the naming and routing setup. And there are lots of other players in there as well, some (like advertising and certain communications providers) with elements on the edge and elements deeper in the stack.

But a key thing to understand is the level of granularity with which different players can moderate, and the overall impact their moderation can have. It’s one thing for Twitter to remove a tweet. It’s another thing for Comcast to say “you can’t access the internet at all.” The consequences of moderation get much more severe the deeper you go into the stack. In this case, AWS’s only real option for Parler was to remove the entire service, because it couldn’t just target the problematic content (of which there was quite a lot). As for the app stores, it’s a tricky question. Are app stores infrastructure, or edge? Perhaps they are a little of both, but they had the same limited options: remove the app entirely, or leave it up with all its content intact.

For many years, we’ve talked about the risks of saying that players deeper in the infrastructure stack should be responsible for content moderation. I was concerned, back in 2014, when there was talk of putting liability on domain registrars if domains they had registered were used for websites that broke the law. There have been a few efforts to hold such players responsible as if they were the actual lawbreakers, and that obviously creates all sorts of problems, especially at the 1st Amendment level. As you move deeper into the stack, the moderation options look less like scalpels and more like sledgehammers that remove entire websites from existence.

Almost exactly a decade ago, in a situation that has some parallels to what’s happened now, I highlighted concerns about Amazon deciding to deplatform Wikileaks in response to angry demands from then Senator Joe Lieberman. I found that to be highly problematic, and likely unconstitutional — though Wikileaks, without a US presence, had little standing to challenge it at the time. My concern was less with Amazon’s decision, and more with Lieberman’s pressure.

But it’s important to go back to first principles in thinking through these issues. It’s quite clear that companies like Amazon, Apple, and Google have every legal right to remove services they don’t want to associate with, and there are a ton of reasons why people and companies might not want to associate with Parler. But many people are concerned about the takedowns based on the idea that Parler might be “totally” deplatformed, and that one company saying “we don’t want you here” could leave them with no other options. That’s not so much a content moderation question, as a competition one.

If it’s a competition question, then I don’t see why Amazon’s decision is really a problem either. AWS only has 32% marketshare. There are many other options out there — including the Trump-friendly cloud services of Oracle, which promotes how easy it is to switch from AWS on its own website. Oracle’s cloud already hosts Zoom (and now TikTok’s US services). There’s no reason they can’t also host Parler.*

But, at least according to Parler, it has been having trouble finding an alternative that will host it. And on that front it’s difficult to feel sympathy. Any business has to build relationships with other businesses to survive, and if no other businesses want to work with you, you might go out of business. Landlords might not want to rent to troublesome tenants. Fashion houses might choose not to buy from factories with exploitative labor practices. Businesses police each other’s business practices all the time, and if you’re so toxic that no one wants to touch you… at some point, maybe that’s on you, Parler.

The situation with Apple and Google is slightly different, and again, there are lots of nuances to consider. With Apple, obviously, it is controlling access to its own hardware, the iPhone. And there’s a reasonable argument to be made that Apple offers the complete package, and part of that deal is that you can only add apps through its app store. Apple has long argued that it does this to keep the phone secure, though it could raise some anti-competitive concerns as well. But Apple has banned plenty of apps in the past (including Parler competitor Gab). And that’s part of the nature of iPhone ownership. And, really, there is a way to route around Apple’s app store: you can still create web apps that will work on iOS without going through the store. This does limit functionality and the ability to reach deeper into the iPhone for certain features, but those are the tradeoffs.

With Google, it seems like there should be even less concern. Not only could Parler work as a web app, Google does allow you to sideload apps without using the Google Play store. So the limitation was simply that Google didn’t want the app in its own store. Indeed, before Amazon took all of Parler down, the company was promoting its own APK to sideload on Android phones.

In the end, it’s tough to argue that this is as worrisome as my initial gut reaction said. I am still concerned about content moderation when it reaches the infrastructure layer. I am quite concerned that people aren’t thinking through the kind of governance questions raised by these sledgehammer-not-scalpel decisions. But when exploring each of the issues as it relates to Parler specifically, it’s hard to find anything to be that directly concerned about. There are, mostly, alternatives available for Parler. And in the one area that there apparently aren’t (cloud hosting) it seems to be less because AWS has market power, and more because lots of companies just don’t want to associate with Parler.

And that is basically the free market telling Parler to get its act together.

* It’s noteworthy that AWS customers can easily migrate to Oracle Cloud only because Oracle copied AWS’s API without permission which, according to its own lawyers is copyright infringement. Never expect Oracle to not be hypocritical.

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Companies: amazon, apple, google, parler

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Comments on “A Few More Thoughts On The Total Deplatforming Of Parler & Infrastructure Content Moderation”

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Bloof (profile) says:

They haven’t jumped to another host as the funding has dried up because of the whole terrorist insurrection thing, and the people running it know it’s more valuable as a martyr in the fight against section 230. They could regain everything tomorrow, but they’ll never attract anyone close to being center right after what went down, making it useless as a radicalization tool, so a talking point on fox is the only thing it’s good for now.

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Bloof (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Let’s go through this using techdirt stories

Parler was funded by a mystery benefactor as a ‘free speech platform’ and immediately begins banning left wing voices to make a right wing echo chamber where the right go to get angrier and angrier.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200627/23551144803/as-predicted-parler-is-banning-users-it-doesnt-like.shtml

The mystery donor turns out to be right wing heiress Rebekah Mercer, part of the dynasty that funded Cambridge Analytica, Breitbart and Steve Bannon while he was helping to radicalise people through Gamergate.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20201116/01141545710/what-if-cambridge-analytica-owned-own-social-network-ca-backer-rebekah-mercer-admits-shes-co-founder-parler.shtml

They act like they’ll be fiiine without section 230, they have the funding to survive after all, like so many other sites funded by republican megadonor largesse.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20210114/14013746058/judge-not-impressed-parlers-attempt-to-force-amazon-to-put-it-back-online.shtml

Parler loses their hosting after ignoring Amazon’s requests that they actually moderate, and you know that whole terrorist attack thing, and despite claiming the site was set up to be able to quickly move to another service, they are yet to do so, choosing instead that to try and sue their way back onto Amazon, a suit they have admitted they cannot afford. Whatever money they had backing them is gone and this is one last roll of the dice as they don’t seem to have the finances, knowhow or the will to move elsewhere.

They’ll fail, but the site will be brought up for the next four years every time the right want to screech about big tech censorship, that’s pretty much all the value the site has now since the whole world now knows what they were doing.

Yes there’s some guesswork, but it’s not a huge leap like saying ‘2+2=5’ or ‘removing section 230 will be good for free speech or the internet’.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

That’s some mighty fine collation of bullet points there. History, background, and plausible motive.

I have to agree. with the Mercer’s history and affiliation Parler was a good platform for creating political leverage by collecting every deranged crazy with "fuck liberals" on the agenda in one and the same place.

Now that its gotten the public reputation of being the all-american version of the Al-Quaeda homepages it’s no longer beneficial to keep running and only has value as a martyr leveraged into the case for government-compelled speech.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"I believe the correct terminology for such groups is “Y’all Qaeda”."

Trae Crowder’s description of Parler is still the best;

"…also, it’s three biggest user bases are Trump supporters, conspiracy theorists, and saudi nationalists. One step closer to Howdy Arabia y’all. It’s such beautiful self-parody, it is. These people think they’re the only true americans left and their closest allies are confederates, nazis, russians and the 9-11 guys…"

We should probably all be happy that the average US domestic terrorist is a monumental fuck-up so inept they make the average middle-eastern crackpot fanatic look like Alexander The Great.

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PeterScott (profile) says:

More moderate than I was expecting.

When you started with something like: Read the whole post and avoid kneejerk responses.

I was expecting a more polarizing article. Though perhaps, I am not as much of a Free Speech absolutist as some readers, and they may be more upset with Amazon kicking Parler off, so it might seem more controversial to them.

My feelings echo the article to a large degree. I have no problem with companies have TOS that set community standards, and then boot out bad actors.

In fact, I would prefer them to be more stringent and do even more to curtail hate cesspools like like Parler.

It seems right now, companies only start really doing something about these hate cesspools after someone dies. After the Capitol riots, Parler loses it app store placement and it’s hosting.

IIRC, Daily Stormer ran into similar issues after Charlottesville.

I’d really like to see more sites refuse to host hate cesspools, BEFORE people die. That I expect may be an unpopular stance here.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

I’d really like to see more sites refuse to host hate cesspools, BEFORE people die. That I expect may be an unpopular stance here.

I’ve seen opinions going both ways in the comment section actually, with some people arguing that giving the boot to scum early prevents them from swelling their numbers and getting worse, while others argue that doing so just hides the issue and lets the problem fester out of sight until it reaches the boiling point and blows up in a big way.

As for your idea being an unpopular one in general I don’t really see why unless you step into the realm of arguing in favor of sites being forced to moderate one way or another, as that’s usually where the objections come in.

PeterScott (profile) says:

Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

Maybe I expected more people arguing for leaving Parler up, because this tends to be a strong free speech, distrust big tech site, and I keep seeing it all over other sites. But a lot of those were from new accounts, that could just be angry Parler users.

I really don’t buy the "fester out of sight" argument. Deplatforming tends to quell recruitment, and shrink the scale of the problem, making it a smaller problem for law enforcement to monitor for threats.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

Maybe I expected more people arguing for leaving Parler up, because this tends to be a strong free speech, distrust big tech site, and I keep seeing it all over other sites. But a lot of those were from new accounts, that could just be angry Parler users.

A core part of free speech is consequences for speech(otherwise you’ve only got free speech for the speaker but not the listeners), with part of that being the right of association, and while there are certainly discussions worth having about the impact of major companies giving people the boot the general consensus on TD at least seems to be that if companies are choosing which speech they want on their platforms that’s mostly on them, and it’s a better alternative than the government stepping in and dictating that sort of stuff for various reasons like constitutionality to precedent that might be applied elsewhere.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 More moderate than I was expecting.

and it’s a better alternative

According to who? "Better" is a term relative to the one using it.

A company dictating what’s allowed online is going to do so in regards to it’s profits. I.e. What’s allowed is what is profitable. A government does so based on it’s political agenda. I.e. What’s allowed is what is Politically Correct. Neither are acceptable from a democracy standpoint. As what is profitable or Politically Correct need not be truthful nor supportive of political debate and consensus. (The reason the Right to Freedom of Speech is important to democracy and should be encouraged.)

Hell, the very example used in this article (Parlor) is the perfect embodiment of that fact. Parlor is not truthful, and it’s only Politically Correct to those that support it’s views. Views that got it banned and censored for fear of the loss of profits. Those against Parlor’s views crown it’s banishment as a Politically Correct solution and now seek to further enable the use of that solution in the future. With little care given to the fact that in doing so, they will have that solution used against them at the first opportunity under the same justifications. (Whether or not such justification is truly justified.)

is consequences for speech(otherwise you’ve only got free speech for the speaker but not the listeners

Those spoken to can just as easily refuse to listen. Online, doing so is even easier due to the Internet being an experience driven by the person using it. If you want proof of that, just hit the X button at the top of the tab and be amazed at how it cannot enter your field of vision or cause your eardrums to vibrate without your permission. Even with the power of the X button, there is more power for you the user to wield, your AD blocker is one of the biggest examples. Actively denying revenue to web services unless you permit it. (You did make a donation to Techdirt for using an AD blocker while browsing the site right? ;P )

Why should a web service be unwillingly forced into censorship of others when the users of the Internet refuse to use the tools available to them at no cost? Inb4 "appliance": If censorship is such a huge mandatory requirement for you, you should be more than willing to learn how to implement it yourself. Inb4 "Cost and accuracy": Such is life. Why should a company shoulder the cost of implementing censorship that is inaccurate and prohibitively expensive for even themselves, when users refuse to do anything on their own? Much less help pay for it? Why should a web service have the authority to silence it’s users when said users are fully willing participants? Inb4: "Trump / Terrorism / etc." Such silencing has a body of evidence that can and should be presented to a court. Any restriction on speech in a democracy should only be done after through and rigorous examination of both the evidence supporting it and the law. An unaccountable body of corporate shareholders making arbitrary choices based on personal profit isn’t anywhere near close to that. (As Parlor itself proves.) Why should a unwilling listener have the authority to silence a speaker and their willing listeners? I.e. Why are there no consequences for the unwilling listeners who chose to involve themselves in the conversation?

Democracy only survives with majority consent and the accepted means of creating that consent in democracy is via open and truthful debate. Forbidding communication is the fuel of all conspiracies, and leaves only violence as a potential solution. Yes, we may disagree with what you have to say, but the reason that we fight to the death to protect your ability to say it, is so that we may avoid fighting to the death to better our country.

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nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 More moderate than I was expecting.

Neither are acceptable from a democracy standpoint. As what is profitable or Politically Correct need not be truthful nor supportive of political debate and consensus. (The reason the Right to Freedom of Speech is important to democracy and should be encouraged.)

How can you be in favor of freedom of speech, but against permitting companies to decide what speech they want to host on their own platform?

With little care given to the fact that in doing so, they will have that solution used against them at the first opportunity under the same justifications.

Not so. I mean sure, there are people like you describe, but plenty more who are aware there is no guarantee that their speech will continue to be acceptable to social media giants and others. And they’re OK with that, because the alternative is trampling free speech and private property rights.

Why should a web service be unwillingly forced into censorship of others when the users of the Internet refuse to use the tools available to them at no cost?

1) They’re not. If someone wants to host a service and not moderate anything, they’re free to do so. 2) Why should a web service be unwillingly forced into hosting speech it does not wish to host?

Why should a company shoulder the cost of implementing censorship that is inaccurate and prohibitively expensive for even themselves, when users refuse to do anything on their own? Much less help pay for it?

Because they find it’s in their best interest to do so.

Why should a web service have the authority to silence it’s users when said users are fully willing participants?

Because it’s their private property. They have the right to do what they want with it, and to associate (and not associate) with whom they please. Why do you want to take those rights away?

Such silencing has a body of evidence that can and should be presented to a court.

There has never been such a requirement in the US. Or even a mechanism for doing it.

Any restriction on speech in a democracy should only be done after through and rigorous examination of both the evidence supporting it and the law.

And yet you propose removing the freedom of web platforms to make editorial decisions.

Why should a unwilling listener have the authority to silence a speaker and their willing listeners?

I don’t even know what you’re saying here. An ordinary Twitter or Facebook user, for example, has no authority to silence other users. For why Twitter and Facebook themselves have such authority, see above.

Yes, we may disagree with what you have to say, but the reason that we fight to the death to protect your ability to say it, is so that we may avoid fighting to the death to better our country.

Quite right. But the first amendment guarantees freedom of speech. It doesn’t guarantee an audience, and it doesn’t guarantee the use of others’ property to speak.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 More moderate than I was expecting.

How can you be in favor of freedom of speech, but against permitting companies to decide what speech they want to host on their own platform?

IMO. When a company’s platform is large enough to influence the outcome of a national election they shouldn’t be allowed to exist, much less decide. Whats worse is there is no way to prove to the extent that it’s happening. I see a future, if it’s not happening already, where Democracy is shaped by Algorithms. Manipulation of the voters thru control of the information is already being done. Fox and CNN are obvious examples. Below is an older article, but a good read.

https://www.harvard.co.uk/how-did-social-media-influence-the-general-election/

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

When a company’s platform is large enough to influence the outcome of a national election they shouldn’t be allowed to exist, much less decide.

That idea is an argument for using antitrust or monopoly laws to keep a company from getting that big. It isn’t an viable argument for taking away the right of a service like Twitter to choose what speech it will and won’t host. It also isn’t a viable argument for taking away that right from everyone else who runs a social interaction network.

You can’t say one company should have to host all legal speech and another company shouldn’t based only on their size. That leads to questions about how and when to compel that association (i.e., “at what point is a company ‘big enough’ to warrant the compelled hosting of speech”). Unless you have some damn good answers for them, you won’t get far in any discussion on the matter.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

When the company is large enough to alter the outcome of a Presidential Election, then as a citizen, yes I can.

Cool. So when will you be calling for the government to regulate the speech and association rights of Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, OAN, Newsmax, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and virtually any other media outlet that is “large [and powerful] enough to alter the outcome of a [p]residential [e]lection”?

bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 More moderate than I was expecting.

As Stephen said, that’s an argument about antitrust law that is entirely separate from discussing the extent of constitutional protections, §230, the rights of edge providers or higher infrastructure providers, corporate personhood, or the whole thing with Twitter, Facebook, Parler, Apple, and Google Play. Once you argue that your problem is the mere existence of large platforms at all, your issue is not with what platform holders can do with their platforms but how big they can be allowed to get.

All I’ll say on that front is that, absent good evidence of anticompetitive behavior, I don’t see any practical way to limit the size of a platform or what good it would actually do in practice. It sounds nice in theory, but I don’t think it’s actually practical.

I have no real interest in discussing the antitrust issues in this thread, though. I’m more interested in the rights side of things. Antitrust law is too much of a headache for me.

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 More moderate than I was exp

You don’t get to claim protections, then alter the election.

Free speech and liability don’t work that way.

The left is just as adamant about removing 230 because they know it can be used against them.

They want to do so for completely different reasons. The right is opposed to moderation protections, while the left is opposed to them not being liable for third-party content. Basically, the right wants platforms to moderate less, while the left wants them to moderate more.

Neither side wants to relinquish control to the corporations, and for good reason.

There is no relinquishing of control here because neither side had that control to begin with.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 More moderate than I was expecting.

"When a company’s platform is large enough to influence the outcome of a national election they shouldn’t be allowed to exist"

Well, I’m all for the forced dismantling of News Corporation, but I’m not sure that’s what you had in mind.

But, I’ll ask what I always ask when someone brings up the "too big" argument – what’s the magical point at which a company has to avoid growing to in order to avoid this? Does this apply to everything offline as well? If a protest gets to a point where it might affect an election, are you supporting its destruction by the government? That doesn’t sound like a situation that will ever end well.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 More moderate than I was expecting.

"When a company’s platform is large enough to influence the outcome of a national election they shouldn’t be allowed to exist, much less decide."

Communism is a valid philosophy to debate. Just so long as you’re aware that that is the logical extension of your argument – when the state must seize control over the means of production, because those means are too important to leave in private hands. You can’t fix one drawback of free speech by effectively removing it by making popularity of a platform or business mandate government intervention.

" I see a future, if it’s not happening already, where Democracy is shaped by Algorithms."

If the average user is willfully ignorant, willing to accept everything written as gospel truth, and is absent any knowledge about how to constructively criticise then yes. That’s the only reason things are looking this bleak.

The main reason social media has such an enormous leverage over people is that there has been no will at all among the body politic to have the citizenry taught to doubt. The answer to making a democracy work at all is that the average voter must be informed and aware.

When the citizenry isn’t either of the above all social media does is to be the bigger bullhorn for demagogues eager to whip the sheeple into action.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 More moderate than I was expecting.

"IMO. When a company’s platform is large enough to influence the outcome of a national election they shouldn’t be allowed to exist, much less decide. "

What about people becoming large (rich) enough to influence the outcome of a national election? Should they he allowed to exist and/or decide the election outcome?

No – obviously …… but they are. What to do about it, well I bet the rich folk will not be helping any such endeavor.

Democracy will not be shaped by algorithms or software or good intentions … no, politics is about money and power. I suppose one could say that the wallstreet algorithmic trading influences the election, but to what extent?

"manipulating" voters is nothing new and certainly algorithms/software is not required to accomplish pulling the wool over the eyes of the populace, have a look at the history of yellow journalism. Humans have been lying their asses off for eternity and will not stop just because someone is moderating.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Okay, I got a little time to kill…

A company dictating what’s allowed online is going to do so in regards to it’s profits. I.e. What’s allowed is what is profitable. A government does so based on it’s political agenda. I.e. What’s allowed is what is Politically Correct. Neither are acceptable from a democracy standpoint.

That’s cute, that you think capitalism is the same thing as democracy. But it’s wrong.

Go to a different service if’n you don’t like how Twitter moderates speech. You’re not owed a spot on Twitter. It’s not obliged to give you an audience.

Parl[e]r is not truthful, and it’s only Politically Correct to those that support it’s views. Views that got it banned and censored for fear of the loss of profits. Those against Parl[e]r’s views crown it’s banishment as a Politically Correct solution and now seek to further enable the use of that solution in the future. With little care given to the fact that in doing so, they will have that solution used against them at the first opportunity under the same justifications.

Parler can ban people for their political views. But considering how Parler is largely a far-right shitpit, I don’t think that’s gonna happen all that much to its “intended” userbase. (If Parler ever comes back online, that is.)

Why should a web service be unwillingly forced into [moderation] of others when the users of the Internet refuse to use the tools available to them at no cost?

Those tools become irrelevant in the face of an overwhelming flood of “bad content”. And having the content on the platform at all is an issue of “acceptability”. Yes or no: Would you want a platform you own and operate known for accepting bigoted speech as easily as it accepts the use of emoji?

(I didn’t even need to bring up the issue of compelled speech/association…but I could have.)

Why should a company shoulder the cost of implementing [moderation] that is inaccurate and prohibitively expensive for even themselves, when users refuse to do anything on their own?

That is literally better than doing nothing (or next-to-nothing) and watching a platform turn into the next 8kun. Nobody gets moderation right all the time. See also: the “acceptability” argument above.

Why should a web service have the authority to [moderate/ban] it’s users when said users are fully willing participants?

If Twitter were legally denied the ability to moderate or ban users, it would lose the mechanisms necessary to stop “hate speech” from spreading and becoming normalized (i.e., “acceptable”). Such a denial would also keep Twitter from banning the worst people on the platform. The broader userbase will get tired of those people and move on. Then Twitter would have the unenivable task of solving the “Worst People” Problem.

Such silencing has a body of evidence that can and should be presented to a court.

And a court will laugh any such case out of said court. The law can’t (and shouldn’t be able to) tell Twitter what legally protected speech speech Twitter can and cannot host.

Any restriction on speech in a democracy should only be done after through and rigorous examination of both the evidence supporting it and the law.

And if Twitter were a government institution, you might have a point. But it isn’t. So you don’t.

Why should a unwilling listener have the authority to silence a speaker and their willing listeners?

“Why should I have the authority to kick someone out of my home for saying shit I don’t want them to say?” That’s you. That’s you right now.

Twitter can’t “silence” people except on Twitter. And while Amazon being able to boot people from AWS is fraught with its own issues, it can’t “silence” anyone except on Amazon/AWS. You’re guaranteed the right to speak. That doesn’t give you the right to make a soapbox out of property you don’t own.

Why are there no consequences for the unwilling listeners who chose to involve themselves in the conversation?

I don’t know what consequences you could inflict upon them, but if you have a suggestion, fire away.

Forbidding communication is the fuel of all conspiracies

Twitter doesn’t “forbid communication” when it boots someone from Twitter. Amazon (arguably) doesn’t “forbid communication” when it boots someone from AWS. No interactive web service can moderate speech outside of that service. We can have a discussion about how high up in the infrastructure chain we can go before that principle stops applying. But until we figure that out — or until the government declares something like AWS to be a public utility — services like AWS have every legal right to boot someone from the service.

If that means people start believing conspiracy theories like “Biden is actually Trump in a Biden suit and the stuttering is Trump learning to mimic Biden’s speech patterns”¹, that’s on those people, not on the services that boot them.

we may disagree with what you have to say, but the reason that we fight to the death to protect your ability to say it, is so that we may avoid fighting to the death to better our country

Will you fight to the death for my right to choose whether I want to listen to you? If “yes”, kudos. If “no”, your principles could use some reëxamination.


¹ — This one was from a 4chan screenshot, so take it for what it’s worth. But I seen’t it!

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

That’s cute, that you think capitalism is the same thing as democracy. But it’s wrong.

I never said that. I said that profit motives, like political agendas, should not define what speech is allowed in a democracy.

Those tools become irrelevant in the face of an overwhelming flood of “bad content”.

Then that is a problem with the society as a whole. Not the tools. Nothing will forever stop the flood short of diplomacy or violence. To those who would demand whitewashing, why shouldn’t they see an empty white page of nothingness if it was truly that bad?

Further, the amount of "bad content" doesn’t absolve those who refuse to use the tools available from their own choices.

And having the content on the platform at all is an issue of “acceptability”. Yes or no: Would you want a platform you own and operate known for accepting bigoted speech as easily as it accepts the use of emoji?

Depends. If I were the webmaster of the site I might. If I was the administrator of a hosting provider, I would say the actions / speech of others are not representative of my beliefs / opinions and therefore not my problem.

“Why should I have the authority to kick someone out of my home for saying shit I don’t want them to say?” That’s you. That’s you right now.

Let’s use a more proper analogy. Remember, we have a third party here. It’s not the site itself that’s wanting to censor speech:

Users —-> House Guests.
Site —–> Home Owner.
Infrastructure providers —–> City / County Officials.

Your complaint is that the Infrastructure providers should be allowed to police the speech of a Site’s Users and deplatform the Site if the Site fails to comply.

This is the equivalent using your analogy: City / County Officials should be allowed to police the speech of a Home Owner’s House Guests and size the house from the Home Owner using eminent domain if Home Owner fails to comply.

If Twitter were legally denied the ability to moderate or ban users, it would lose the mechanisms necessary to stop “hate speech” from spreading and becoming normalized (i.e., “acceptable”). Such a denial would also keep Twitter from banning the worst people on the platform. The broader userbase will get tired of those people and move on. Then Twitter would have the unenivable task of solving the “Worst People” Problem.

Your entire argument for infrastructure policing speech is the same as 1970s Home Owners in a panic over that neighborhood existing in the city. Want proof? Here it is:

If Washington were legally denied the ability to moderate or ban African Americans, it would lose the mechanisms necessary to stop “hate speech” from spreading and becoming normalized (i.e., “acceptable”). Such a denial would also keep Washington from banning the worst people in the nation. The broader citizenry will get tired of those people and move on. Then Washington would have the unenivable task of solving the “Worst People” Problem.

If all it takes is a few noun replacements to make your justification against others racist, your justification could use some reexamination.

I don’t know what consequences you could inflict upon them, but if you have a suggestion, fire away.

Tell them to sod off. I have a right to speak just as much as they do. If they want to participate fine, but if they don’t and only want to prevent others from having a conversation, then they should be ridiculed and shamed for it. If they continue, sue them for aggravated harassment.

Will you fight to the death for my right to choose whether I want to listen to you? If “yes”, kudos. If “no”, your principles could use some reëxamination.

Yes. I would. I would also fight for the right of others who wish to hear me to be able to do so.

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

If all it takes is a few noun replacements to make your justification against others racist, your justification could use some reexamination.

As I mentioned before, being African-American is an intrinsic property that exists from birth that cannot be chosen or changed. Being a user is nothing like that. You also changed the scope from “a single internet platform” to “an entire nation” and went from “a private entity” to “the government”. Each of these things make your point invalid.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

profit motives, like political agendas, should not define what speech is allowed in a democracy

The law protects most speech. Whether it’s “allowed” in the sense that it’s seen as acceptable speech is entirely dependent on the flawed, frail, imperfect people within that democracy. And yes, they’re allowed to base their opinions on political ideology and profit motives.

that is a problem with the society as a whole

Forcing speech onto Twitter or AWS won’t fix that problem.

To those who would demand whitewashing, why shouldn’t they see an empty white page of nothingness if it was truly that bad?

…fucking what

the amount of "bad content" doesn’t absolve those who refuse to use the tools available from their own choices

Yes or no: Should the average Twitter user need to willingly wade through any amount of that “bad content” so they can better tune their client-side tools for blocking/muting said content? If “no”: Good, you have a conscience. If “yes”: Twitter has moderators for a reason and this situation is that reason.

If I were the webmaster of the site I might.

I’m not the least bit surprised.

If I was the administrator of a hosting provider, I would say the actions / speech of others are not representative of my beliefs / opinions and therefore not my problem.

They do become your problem if people associate that speech with your company and yank their business from your company as a result. You won’t stay in business for long if people refuse to do business with you. You would inevitably need to decide whether protecting one asshole client associated with horrible speech is worth losing all other clients. Whether giving the boot to that asshole client is right — morally or ethically, anyway — is a hard question to answer. Not even the article above manages to come up with a solid answer that applies to all situations and companies.

Your complaint is that the Infrastructure providers should be allowed to police the speech of a Site’s Users and deplatform the Site if the Site fails to comply.

Yes, basically. Hosting companies such as AWS have the legal right to boot assholes from their services, just as Twitter does. The moral and ethical implications of doing so are irrelevant to whether they have that right. (Exercising it, on the other hand…)

Your entire argument for infrastructure policing speech is the same as 1970s Home Owners in a panic over that neighborhood existing in the city.

No, it isn’t. And your argument seems to be “the law should make Amazon host any legally protected speech on AWS, regardless of whether they want to host it”.

I’m well aware of the moral and ethical implications behind AWS booting Parler. They’re the same implications behind Cloudflare booting The Daily Stormer not too terribly long ago. And while I have no easy answers, I’m not going to tap my pity well for Nazis, alt-right chuds, and Trump supporters. (Is that a tautology? Someone tell me if that’s a tautology.)

Tell them to sod off.

For what reason should Twitter or AWS be denied the right to tell assholes who keep violating the TOS to “sod off”?

I would also fight for the right of others who wish to hear me to be able to do so.

Yes or no: Do you believe the government should have the legal right to compel any privately owned interactive web service into hosting your speech, even if the owners/operators of said service don’t want to host it? If “no”: That position conflicts with your arguments above. If “yes”: Congratulations, you’ve shat upon the First Amendment for the sake of a megaphone you had no legal right to use in the first place.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Tell them to sod off. I have a right to speak just as much as they do.

Yes. I would. I would also fight for the right of others who wish to hear me to be able to do so.

You do, at your own expense or via a third party that agrees to assist you publish your speech. It is up to the speaker to attract an audience, and that does not include forcing your way into a conversation or onto platforms where you are not welcome.

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nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

If all it takes is a few noun replacements to make your justification against others racist, your justification could use some reexamination.

Changing a few nouns changes the meaning of the statement. You can take any true statement, change a few nouns, and make it ridiculous (or racist). That says nothing about the original statement.

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

It makes sense to do so if the nouns replaced are equivalent in some way. For example, replacing “man” with “woman”, “homosexual” with “heterosexual”, “homosexual” with “black”, “Hispanic” with “black”, “Asian” with “black”, “white” with “black”, “black” with “white”, “Muslim” with “Christian”, “transgender” with “homosexual”, etc. The idea is to essentially equate discriminatory beliefs and practices with each other or make someone realize that they have a double standard.

The problem here is that the replaced nouns are in no way equivalent with their replacements: “users” with “African-Americans”, “Twitter” with “Washington”, “on the platform” with “in the nation”, and “userbase” with “citizenry”. These are not equivalent in any way, and possibly the worst offender in that regard is “users” with “African-Americans”. Being a “user” of Twitter is not a protected class, is much broader than “African-American”, is not an unchangeable or intrinsic property, is a choice, and gives no indication of a hidden motive. There are a number of other problems with this swap alone that invalidate the entire argument, and each of the other swaps are quite problematic on their own.

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I never said that. I said that profit motives, like political agendas, should not define what speech is allowed in a democracy.

Twitter, Facebook, and AWS have no control over what speech is allowed in a democracy; only what speech is allowed on their platforms or servers.

Depends. If I were the webmaster of the site I might. If I was the administrator of a hosting provider, I would say the actions / speech of others are not representative of my beliefs / opinions and therefore not my problem.

And other people are free to believe otherwise and choose not to use you as a host because of it. It is possible that that might put you out of business. This is how the free market works.

Let’s use a more proper analogy. Remember, we have a third party here. It’s not the site itself that’s wanting to censor speech:

Users —-> House Guests.
Site —–> Home Owner.
Infrastructure providers —–> City / County Officials.

Your complaint is that the Infrastructure providers should be allowed to police the speech of a Site’s Users and deplatform the Site if the Site fails to comply.

Actually, I don’t think it makes sense to leap straight to government officials. Maybe “landlords” would be better, but I think the analogy is sort of falling apart at this point.

This is the equivalent using your analogy: City / County Officials should be allowed to police the speech of a Home Owner’s House Guests and size the house from the Home Owner using eminent domain if Home Owner fails to comply.

Not at all. You’re confusing cloud hosting with the DNS provider. Not all infrastructure providers are equivalent. You can run a site without cloud-hosting at all. It’s more like a business being run from an office within a skyscraper where the owners of the skyscraper have certain rules about what businesses can be in their building and then enforcing those rules when they’re broken or they have some profit reason to kick the businessman out.

Or let’s put it this way: AWS wanted Parler to have some rules for dealing with an emergency and a way to enforce those rules in return for using their service that Parler could get elsewhere or make their own but decided not to. Parler failed to enforce its own rules. Eventually, AWS decided enough was enough and revoked that benefit.

Yes. I would. I would also fight for the right of others who wish to hear me to be able to do so.

So if you say something in a bar that causes the bar owners to kick you out for whatever reason, and one person inside the bar says, “I want to hear more,” even though no one else wants to, you still have a problem with the bar owners kicking you out? You can still say the same things and, with some resources, you can even find the person/people who want to hear you so that they can hear what you have to say. Again, you’re not entitled to a platform.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

"I never said that. I said that profit motives, like political agendas, should not define what speech is allowed in a democracy."

And it doesn’t. No speech can be disallowed just because of profit motives. Denied individual platforms, yes, but not disallowed.
Now, the minority representation has never been easy, simply because the majority doesn’t want to hear it. Abolition of slavery, womens voting rights, the right of assembly, messenger immunity…these were all, at some point or other, controversial just because they rocked the boat. The reason they gained traction was because as knowledge disseminated over time, these issues all became majority-backed topics.

It’s all well and good to say that profit should be allowed less sway over free speech in a democracy. But there is no fix you can implement where the cure isn’t far worse than the perceived disease. It’s like saying that because of "burden of proof" many murderers walk free so why don’t we just abolish that?

We could "fix" the issue of platforms becoming too popular and having a sway over the population with legislation. It’s easy. All it’ll cost is Freedom of Speech which will be dead. We’ll be China.

Here’s the thing. It’s never been the platforms and the media. It’s always been the common citizen being willfully ignorant and eager to leap on the bandwagon of every passing demagogue with a convenient explanation for who is responsible that the middle class family with two breadwinners can’t make ends meet or why there are no jobs for skilled factory workers any longer.

Social media and large platforms only act as force multipliers for the underlying core issue of a large percentage of the US citizenry being taught to be proud of being uneducated, of facts being optional. That’s the problem. The impact of social media? That’s just the symptom.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

"No speech can be disallowed just because of profit motives"

More to the point, none of the companies in this conversation have the power to disallow speech in totality. Amazon blocking a site does not block that’s site speech, they just have to choose somewhere else to host it, and they have many options. Parler deciding to block "leftist" speech does not disallow that speech, it just means they don’t allow it on their platform. Neither company has to power to block the same speech anywhere outside of its own property.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 More moderate than I was expecting.

Those spoken to can just as easily refuse to listen.

Yes, but in many cases that means not using the forum at all. For instance how does one avoid speech on this forum before it is hidden by the community?

The idea that all speech should be allowed in all forums is to grant hecklers the right to take over all forums. With platforms varying in what speech they allow, people can choose which conversations they want to partake in, and it is up to speakers to attract an audience.

Also, if gab and 8kun can remain online, so could Parler, but either by choice or incompetence they have been forced offline, but that does not mean its users should be allowed to invade any other platform.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 More moderate than I was expecting.

"With platforms varying in what speech they allow, people can choose which conversations they want to partake in"

…and sometimes they defer that power to the platform itself so that they, say, can use the platform without wading through neo-Nazi propaganda in order to flag it individually.

If these people are losing audience because the places they want to attract an audience from have already said "we don’t do that here", and the users of that platform agree, then there’s not a good solution that involves forcing that platform to host them against their will.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 More moderate than I was expecting.

"…What’s allowed is what is profitable. A government does so based on it’s political agenda. I.e. What’s allowed is what is Politically Correct. Neither are acceptable from a democracy standpoint."

According to whom? Democracy has no writ to insist that the person owning a platform or bar should not be allowed to evict whoever they don’t like. At most democracy can assert that the property owner is free to write their own rules on who is allowed on their property but must apply the same rules for everyone.

"Those against Parlor’s views crown it’s banishment as a Politically Correct solution and now seek to further enable the use of that solution in the future."

It has jack shit to do with Political correctness since no government is involved. This is all just private companies discovering that Parler reeks and individually making the decision that "Not on our turf". If a man gets expelled and banned from every bar in town for what he does rather than what he isthen that doesn’t mean every bar owner is in the wrong. It just means the expelled person has only themselves to blame, and is such a toxic asshat no one wants anything to do with him and no business wants him to bother their other patrons.

"Why should a web service be unwillingly forced into censorship of others when the users of the Internet refuse to use the tools available to them at no cost?"

They shouldn’t. And that’s neither what is happening nor anything any of the serious Techdirt commenters advocate. AWS is kicking out Parler exactly like the bar owner kicked out the local gang whose members kept pissing on the floor. Other services refuse service to Parler because they are similarly aware of Parlers issues.

"Forbidding communication is the fuel of all conspiracies, and leaves only violence as a potential solution."

And since that isn’t happening that’s irrelevant to this topic. Parler simply isn’t welcome on the property of multiple private properties because of its behavior.

"…the reason that we fight to the death to protect your ability to say it, is so that we may avoid fighting to the death to better our country."

Ironically the Trumpian mob storming the capitol were in it exactly to prevent people’s ability to say who they’d like to have for president. And indeed one officer did give his life there. After which private entities all over promptly decided they didn’t want to host the SA club house any longer.

A company dictating rules under which it is willing to serve isn’t undermining democracy as long as those rules abide by given minimum standards, none of which standards were violated here.

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James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 More moderate than I was expecting.

No one is likely to read this, but I need this to exist.

A company dictating what’s allowed online is going to do so in regards to it’s profits. I.e. What’s allowed is what is profitable. A government does so based on it’s political agenda. I.e. What’s allowed is what is Politically Correct. Neither are acceptable from a democracy standpoint. As what is profitable or Politically Correct need not be truthful nor supportive of political debate and consensus.

You have hit a core issue on its head. Capitalim talks like it is democratic, with the marketplace being described as a democratic forum, where the best products rise and the worst fail by voting with your wallet. And if you subscribe to that view, twitter booting voices off because of a profit motive is the market at work. Democracy (the will of the userbase reflected in what ideas are profitable) has decided that certain ideas are disfavored.

Your complaint, and the complaint of every "Twitter/Facebook/et al cant boot me off because they are too big" user is at its core a complaint about the ways capitalism can subvert the democratic process. It is very true that it can. But your assessment stops at stating that the process can be subverted, but then proceeds to assume that it has been subverted. You keep flailing towards profit being the motive, but refuse to question if profits come not because a minority is subverting the market, but because the market is responding to the will of the majority.

You have to do more than prove the possibility of market subversion for the argument to be taken seriously. You need to actually establish the market is being subverted. Part of a democratic process is establishing the Overton Window, the scope of ideas that are on the table for discussion. Race science isn’t on the table, not because we ‘can’t talk about it’, but because race scientists are making the same arguments, with the same data, they were making 50 years ago and we’ve already had that debate. The marketplace can decide that a product is too toxic to carry. IF a survival knife became known to fall apart in shipping, consumers will stop buying it. Retailers stop stocking it because they can’t sell a faulty product. Eventually its not in the marketplace at all. Then it can’t be bought, even if what you want is indeed a knife that falls apart under any strain.

Same goes for speech. If you want to think of speech as a product in a marketplace, you have to accept that the marketplace might remove some speech because the market refuses to carry it.

and it’s a better alternative
According to who? "Better" is a term relative to the one using it.

Better for anyone who believes in speech free from government abuse. If you quote the rest of the sentance:

…it’s a better alternative than the government stepping in and dictating that sort of stuff for various reasons like constitutionality to precedent that might be applied elsewhere.

That One Guy explained why he thought it was a better alternative. You didn’t engage on the actual argument he made, just quoted an out of context bite and argued THAT. Its a strawman.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 More moderate than I was expecting.

facebook was (is?) funded by government VC, violates GDPR (Schrems 2) and does not pay taxes, like in general other GAFAM. how can you make the argument that they are "just private companies" when they have heavy govt contracts (AWS works for the CIA) and herd hundreds of billions in cash offshore? you cannot evade taxes that brazenly do unless you are heavily investing in lobbying and are very cozy with the government. and maybe dining with the president, once in a while. this thing that facebook et al are just "private companies" when it is clear from blue leaks, snowden, assange etc that they are the first place the police, ice and the military go to obtain often illegally information and metadata is preposterous.

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 More moderate than I was expecting.

None of that proves or even suggests that Facebook, Twitter, AWS, etc. are not private corporations rather than part of the government. Private companies get government contracts all the time, and governments seize information from private companies all the time. That has nothing to do with anything.

Also, AWS doesn’t “work for the CIA”; it provides the CIA with a product/service the same way Verizon provides a product/service to its customers. AWS “works for the CIA” no more than it “worked for” Parler.

And herding money offshore and evading taxes, while something I don’t support, do not transform a private entity into a government agency. Same goes for lobbying and violating the GDPR.

You’re saying a lot of things that have no effect on the claim, “Facebook, Twitter, AWS, etc. are all private companies.” Even if I agree that those are things that should be corrected, they are completely irrelevant to this discussion.

In fact, your entire comment had no relevance or even a reference to the comment your replying to or any previous comment in this thread. It’s a complete non sequitur.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 More moderate than I was expecti

it does have relevance – it is about subverting the democratic process. if facebook violates my privacy rights (ex. FISA), how can you say that this is not subversion of a constitutional right to privacy? you asked for proof of subversion. i am giving you one documented in court.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Re:

Ok, then I should have stated that Facebook is subversive of the constitutional order in Europe, as documented by the EUCJ. It does not change my point of view as my fundamental rights are violated all the same. And in all honesty, I would call subversive a eu company using some offshore trick ti violate fundamental rights of the US citizens as well. I do not like the idea of companies using the incorporation state as a screen to evade local laws in democratic states.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

"But a lot of those were from new accounts, that could just be angry Parler users."

That’s usually the big tell that an issue isn’t as big as some people believe it will be. If you’re in a large, well established community and all the arguments in a certain come from new or anonymous posters rather than people who usually participate in the conversation there, that’s usually a sign that the community doesn’t actually believe that take.

Although – is there such a thing as a not-angry Parler user? I admit I had my view of that site filtered through people on other sites going "look at these assholes", but there wasn’t a lot of calmed reasoned discourse going on from what I saw. As with any site there will be a range of sentiment, of course, but I was about as shocked about the insurrection attempt being planned there as I was about the listening and reading habits of McVeigh.

"Deplatforming tends to quell recruitment"

This is the big issue, really. When the white supremacists were on Stormfront and the conspiracy nuts were on Infowars, they were breeding grounds for idiots but you had to be a certain type of person to look for that sort of stuff to begin with, and people wouldn’t just stumble across them. If you’re on a mainstream site and something triggers these people to come up on feeds between actual news and cat videos, they tend to find recruitment easier. Which is why they wail and moan so loud when they lose that audience – they know they can never get such an audience on their own merits. For some people this means less people joining their "cause", for others it means less people to grift.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

"I really don’t buy the "fester out of sight" argument. Deplatforming tends to quell recruitment, and shrink the scale of the problem, making it a smaller problem for law enforcement to monitor for threats."

This sounds like wishful thinking to me. If it were the case there would be no fear of a dark net, right? Or is that fearmongering just a ploy to extract more resources from the unsuspecting public.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

"I really don’t buy the "fester out of sight" argument. Deplatforming tends to quell recruitment, and shrink the scale of the problem, making it a smaller problem for law enforcement to monitor for threats."

Both are true, which is part of what makes this such a hard nut to crack. There are countries where the public as a whole consistently suppressed neo-nazism and bigotry…up until the government made a law suppressing the expression of that type of speech. Twenty years later parties espousing xenophobia made it into the parliaments of those nations, because the public had forgotten the type of people this was about. I’ve seen that exact scenario happen, and seen the shocked and surprised expressions of the average person when they saw protest marches flying flags which weren’t exactly swastikas while hollering about "multiculturalism" rather than their trusty old "Ausländer Raus!" rhetoric. All suddenly taking place twenty or more years after banning a certain type of speech, and with everyone blithely assuming the neo-nazis and skinheads were all gone.

Suppression of hate speech allows for a short-time window of opportunity to weed society of large, organized mobs of people aimed at political targets by scapegoating and badly aimed hatred by depriving them of self-reinforcing echo chambers of sufficient size.

Long term it also keeps the public as a whole from realizing they are still on the barricades, in the end leading to worse consequences by far.

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Anonymous Coward says:

I wonder though if the world doesn’t need garbage collection sites like this. It does make finding and monitoring the factually impaired an easier task.
That said, I cannot say I am sorry for Parlor or it’s owner. Sad about the out of work programmers I guess – hope they find new work quickly.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"I wonder though if the world doesn’t need garbage collection sites like this. It does make finding and monitoring the factually impaired an easier task."

As I mention above, yes these sites do serve such a purpose. But, that does not mean that others be forced to work with them against their will, or given free exposure to the mainstream for easy recruitment.

"Sad about the out of work programmers I guess – hope they find new work quickly."

Meh, depends on who they are. A competent tech guy who has worked on building and maintaining a site that massively ballooned in popularity in its latter stages (they had around 7x the number of users in at the beginning of this month than they did last month) should not have too many problems if they phrase it right on their resume. But, if they were "true believers" in the site’s ideology rather than neutral coders working on an interesting startup project, they deserve the consequences of what they wrought.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

A competent tech guy who has worked on building and maintaining a site that massively ballooned in popularity in its latter stages (they had around 7x the number of users in at the beginning of this month than they did last month) should not have too many problems if they phrase it right on their resume.

A little while back, Parler ran out of free speech because users had spoken freely 2,147,483,647 times. Their tech guy has more to worry about on his resume than just "I worked for extremist crackpots" 😉

Twitter thread with amusing details is at https://twitter.com/sarahmei/status/1348466213987315712

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"Further proof that people who willingly work with these platforms might not be chosen due to their technical acumen."

Well, that link led to an actual IT professional breaking down Parlers technical ‘ingenuity’ in a twitter feed which eerily resembled the way Richard Liebowitz was handled last time he was in court.

I’m was particularly fond of her "TL;DR? Technical Clown Shoes" summary ????

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Killer Marmot says:

As an isolated incident, you may be right.

What should concern you is if this is part of a growing trend to make conservative thought — or any political belief outside of a very narrow progressive window — unviable in a modern society.

You have the right to whatever political opinion you want, but no one owes you a digitial platform, or a job, or an education, or a bank account, or a loan, or a plane ticket. If the screws keep on tightening it will get very ugly.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

Out of curiosity which particular ‘conservative thought(s)’ do you think is/are being pushed out of society as unacceptable, because depending on what you mean you could get agreement, disagreement or flat out laughter since not all ‘thoughts’ or ‘beliefs’ are equal or deserve equal treatment or consideration.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

The squeezing out of conservative professors from higher education has been in progress for a few decades now. They are made to feel unwelcome by their peers, and it’s not at all unusual for student organizations to demand the firing of conservative or even liberatarian professors. Many conservative professors now record their lectures so that they have evidence when students file complaints against them,

A prominent example was Jordan Peterson, which the University of Toronto student newspaper demanded be fired. They weren’t successful but they did make it crystal clear that Peterson’s "problematic" views were not welcome.

Brett Weinstein of Evergreen State College DID get forced out by a student mob. His views weren’t even conservative, but classically liberal.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

Still no mention of what the ‘conservative thoughts’ that are so problematic that they’re being shown the door are, so I’ll ask again, could you try listing some of them?

You said that some of Peterson’s views were ‘problematic’ but without having any idea of what those views are I can’t judge whether the students might or might not have been justified in their actions, for all I know they were entirely right in calling to have him fired, and same with Weinstein.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

The main point was Peterson’s refusal to participate in compelled speech, even speech he agreed with.

This is not so much a conservative stance as a classically liberal one, but campus progressives don’t bother differentiating these days.

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Bloof (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

Jordan Peterson has not been silenced. Jordan Peterson has not been prosecuted or persecuted for saying what he says. Jordan Peterson has made a LOT of money painting himself as a free speech martyr, while trying to use his position as a right wing celebrity to attack his colleagues and purge classes that he disagrees with.

"Women’s studies, and all the ethnic studies and racial studies groups, man, those things have to go and the faster they go the better," he said. "It would have been better if they had never been part of the university to begin with as far as I can tell." – Jordan Peterson

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-friday-edition-1.4396970/u-of-t-profs-alarmed-by-jordan-peterson-s-plan-to-target-classes-he-calls-indoctrination-cults-1.4396974

Choose a better martyr for free speech because if you Judge Jordan Peterson by his actions, it sure looks like the right only want free speech to be a thing when it protects them.

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Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

Jordan Peterson, despite all his polemics about the evils of "compelled speech", once threatened to sue a writer and magazine unless they published an apology to him – i.e. he openly and unashamedly attempted to compel speech from someone using the threat of government intervention.

He’s not a "classical liberal" he’s just a deluded and deeply troubled hypocrite.

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Bloof (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professor_Watchlist

Remember when conservative AstroTurf group, Turning Point USA tried to set up a list of liberal professors for targeted harassment?

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-friday-edition-1.4396970/u-of-t-profs-alarmed-by-jordan-peterson-s-plan-to-target-classes-he-calls-indoctrination-cults-1.4396974

Remember when Jordan Peterson planned to use his platform to attack left wing professors and subjects?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bari_Weiss

Remember how Bari Weiss built her entire career on trying to get professors she disagreed with fired by making false allegations against them?

Damn the left and their censorship and attempts to purge the ranks of academia… Oh wait.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

Conservative thought in general is being pushed out. Twitter and Facebook have long been hostile places even for moderate conservatives. Conservatives and centralists in main stream media are being forced into quitting, the New York Times being just one example. And higher education is way ahead of the curve in being hostile to conservatives.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

"Conservative thought in general"

You were asked for examples and you supply generalities.

Let me give it a go, I assume your conservative values include things like white supremacy, misogyny, ruthless "capitalism" for the poor and generous "socialism" for the rich … oh, and the war on drugs.

And how dare anyone attempt to educate the masses because they are so much more difficult to manage when they know how bad they are being treated.

Ignorance is bliss while on your secluded island but the water is rising.

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Bloof (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

You know Bari Weiss quit because the NYT wouldn’t censor her co -workers free speech and punish them for criticising her nonsense on social media, right? Why is her speech precious and that of her co-workers not?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

That’s one way of putting it. Another way is that Weiss’s co-workers were becoming openly hostile not just to her points of view, but to her. She was persona non grata amongst the younger journalists.

I think almost anyone would quit in that environment.

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Bloof (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

Sorry, but that’s bull.

She tried to use her seniority to silence other people and take away their free speech while painting herself as a victim on the way out the door. She tried to get her professors fired while at university, and at the NYT, she tried to use her position to take away the livelyhood of freelancers that dared to criticise her. She also used her platform to cheer on the cancellation of muslim members of congress, but yes, she was the true victim of cancel culture.

She was persona non grata because of her treatment of and attitude toward others. If someone tries to block your friends from getting work elsewhere because she decided to throw her weight around, you are under no obligation to pretend to like them.

She left because she thinks she can ride the wave of ‘OMG, cancel culture is bad!’ to get higher profile jobs in the right wing media.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: 'You know... those... thoughts...'

And like that I no longer care. If you can’t answer a simple freakin’ question without dodging like crazy then I see no reason to waste any more effort on you than what’s required for a copy/paste reply.

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.)

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

Conservative thought in general is being pushed out.

Define “conservative”, then provide examples, then provide data. Otherwise, I cannot even say whether or not this statement is true, let alone what it’s ramifications are.

Twitter and Facebook have long been hostile places even for moderate conservatives.

Well, with Facebook, we’ve actually seen data and evidence suggesting the opposite. As for Twitter, again, we need data and examples to say whether or not this is true and, if so, what, if anything, should be done about it.

Conservatives and centralists in main stream media are being forced into quitting, the New York Times being just one example.

Again, some examples would be nice.

And higher education is way ahead of the curve in being hostile to conservatives.

Look, stop using generalities. Which “conservative ideas” are being discriminated against? Where is your evidence?

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

"And higher education is way ahead of the curve in being hostile to conservatives."

So what you are trying to say is that those who are educated are biased against conservatives? I must say it’s not a good look for conservatives if the people in a position to know things were rejecting that philosophy.

Too bad for your argument that what there is a bias against are assholes, not conservatives. No matter how much you try to insist racism and bigotry are core conservative values they are, in fact, not.

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DNY (profile) says:

Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

You write "not all ‘thoughts’ or ‘beliefs’ are equal or deserve equal treatment or consideration."

Yes, but who decides which thoughts are merely ‘thoughts’ and which beliefs (or ‘beliefs’) are not deserving of equal treatment or consideration? What used to be called the "liberal" view was that each human being got to decide that, not strictly on their own, but in conversation with others (even those long dead, whose writings survive) and society as a whole. In America, many conservatives, interested in conserving the American Founding, subscribe to this view, as did, until recently most self-described liberals and progressives.

Now, we are told by a new high-priesthood, that what for the vast sweep of human history would have been an unexceptional view — that biological sex is an important reality, and that segregating latrines, prisons and athletic competitions on its basis is a benefit to women — is "bigotry" and not worthy of consideration because the latest cause celebre, that people who are unhappy with their biological sex, and either wish to be the opposite sex, or are under the delusion that they are, are "excluded" from facilities on the basis of the age-old separation not by "gender" but by sex. (If you don’t understand why this is not bigotry, biologically female humans, what we used to call "women" without any ambiguity of meaning, who run competitively or who have been imprisoned after commission of a crime can explain to you why the biological segregation makes sense on the basis of their lived experience.) Tech companies try to prevent books based on this view from selling.

Now the same high-priesthood tells us that qualms about the propriety of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election are beyond the pale and must be censored, but qualms about the propriety of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election (cf. Hilary Clinton’s recent remark "we still don’t know what happened in 2016") are acceptable. Tech companies shut down fora in which the former qualms are aired frequently, and allow the latter to circulate freely.

I could go on with other matters, but you see the point. It suffices to regard all thoughts and beliefs (no scorn quotes, please) opposed to the consensus of the bien pensants of Silicon Valley on the basis of historically believed positions to be "conservative" for @Killer Marmot’s point to stand.

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nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

So you want this person restricted to using the women’s restroom?

https://www.upworthy.com/heres-what-itll-look-like-if-trans-people-arent-allowed-to-use-the-right-bathroom

And this one?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buck_Angel#/media/File:Buck_Angel_Headshot.jpg

Just be clear that is what you are advocating when you say people should be required to use the restroom based on their sex at birth, and not their gender. I don’t know that it’s a bigoted position, but it certainly strikes me as one that at best has not been fully considered.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

A lot of these people don’t seem to understand the difference between transgender and transvestite, nor do they seem to understand the existence of trans men. A lot of their arguments seem to suggest they’re thinking it will always be a man in drag.

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Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

Now, we are told by a new high-priesthood, that what for the vast sweep of human history would have been an unexceptional view — that biological sex is an important reality, and that segregating latrines, prisons and athletic competitions on its basis is a benefit to women

For the vast sweep of history, nobody gave a flying fuck about gender or sex when taking a shit, being thrown in prison or in athletic competitions. Saying otherwise shows a distinct lack of historical knowledge.

Now the same high-priesthood tells us that qualms about the propriety of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election are beyond the pale and must be censored, but qualms about the propriety of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election (cf. Hilary Clinton’s recent remark "we still don’t know what happened in 2016") are acceptable. Tech companies shut down fora in which the former qualms are aired frequently, and allow the latter to circulate freely.

You do understand the difference between proven interference in the 2016 election vs unsubstantiated claims and pure lies that the 2020 election "was stolen", right?

I could go on with other matters, but you see the point. It suffices to regard all thoughts and beliefs (no scorn quotes, please) opposed to the consensus of the bien pensants of Silicon Valley on the basis of historically believed positions to be "conservative" for @Killer Marmot’s point to stand.

The point is, he doesn’t elaborate what he means by "conservative" views which is especially important when the context is Parlers shutdown and the attack on the Capitolium. And what growing trend is he talking about? That white supremacists, racists, bigots and sedition are bad for business?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

"You do understand the difference between proven interference in the 2016 election vs unsubstantiated claims and pure lies that the 2020 election "was stolen", right?"

Except theyre not pure lies…

Here’s an example: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/texas/article/TX-woman-arrested-election-fraud-project-veritas-15867537.php

How many more of those are there out there that havent been caught yet?

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

You might want to do a little more research regarding Project Veritas, because to call their credibility ‘questionable’ would be a ‘surface of the sun is kinda warm’-level understatement.

Even if the source video is legit though(the video that was made public absolutely isn’t as it was apparently given the Veritas treatment) it might not be the smoking gun that republicans would want to point to, given who she was working for at the time.

At the time of the video, she appeared to be working on behalf of a Republican congressional candidate, and mentioned working for several other San Antonio area political figures, including former Republican state Sen. Pete Flores, newly elected state Rep. Elizabeth “Liz” Campos, a Democrat; and former state District Judge Renee Yanta, a Republican.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

Hint: if something says "Project Veritas", it’s lying to you. I’m not sure I’ve heard of a single video of theirs that was found not to be misrepresenting evidence in some way.

If you have no other source, you can assume it’s a lie. Meanwhile, there have been several people found to have committed voter fraud in the 2020 election – they just all happen to have been voting for Trump…

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

that biological sex is an important reality, and that segregating latrines, prisons and athletic competitions on its basis is a benefit to women — is "bigotry" and not worthy of consideration because the latest cause celebre, that people who are unhappy with their biological sex, and either wish to be the opposite sex, or are under the delusion that they are, are "excluded" from facilities on the basis of the age-old separation not by "gender" but by sex. (If you don’t understand why this is not bigotry, biologically female humans, what we used to call "women" without any ambiguity of meaning, who run competitively or who have been imprisoned after commission of a crime can explain to you why the biological segregation makes sense on the basis of their lived experience.)

So the discrimination is okay because it’s not based on gender but on sex? That’s still bigotry even if it’s traditional. You know what else was unremarkable throughout the “vast sweep of human history”? Racism, religious discrimination, slavery, incest among nobles, serfdom, and discrimination against women. Your assertion doesn’t actually prove your point (that liberals are going too far and the current pro-trans movement is unprecedented).

And as for “age-old”, the separation of bathrooms based on gender isn’t that old to begin with, same goes for the separation of prisons, and sports didn’t allow women at all until recently (the separation of gender was more of a compromise). So yeah, that’s not something that’s

Also, let’s say you’re right for the sake of argument. How do you propose we enforce such a separation? Lots of transwomen and cismales look no different from cisfemales, lots of transmen and cisfemales look no different from cismales, and there are some cases where you simply cannot tell whether a given person is male or female at all. The only distinguishing feature is something you shouldn’t see to begin with, so why should you care?

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Samuel Abram (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

Now, we are told by a new high-priesthood, that what for the vast sweep of human history would have been an unexceptional view — that biological sex is an important reality, and that segregating latrines…on its basis is a benefit to women

I guess you’re ignorant of the history of bathrooms were. Public Restrooms sans privacy were a thing (at least in England) up until the renaissance where everybody got modern plumbing and thenceforth we got the idea of privacy when taking a shit. Times and attitudes change.

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sorrykb (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

Now, we are told by a new high-priesthood, that what for the vast sweep of human history would have been an unexceptional view — that biological sex is an important reality, and that segregating latrines, prisons and athletic competitions on its basis is a benefit to women — is "bigotry"

So you’re upset because you’re being criticized for opinions that people used to let slide. You’re upset because other people are publicly challenging your opinions, and you’d always assumed that your opinion is the natural default and it’s everyone else—not you—who has to face criticism.

Well welcome to the world.

Calling someone a bigot is not censorship, and no one is obligated to find your opinion worthy of debate or discussion.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

"who decides which thoughts are merely ‘thoughts’ and which beliefs (or ‘beliefs’) are not deserving of equal treatment or consideration"

The people whose property you’re using. If you dislike this, find a property owner who agrees with you, or use your own property.

"qualms about the propriety of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election are beyond the pale and must be censored, but qualms about the propriety of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election (cf. Hilary Clinton’s recent remark "we still don’t know what happened in 2016") are acceptable."

Because when you grow up a bit and understand things like context, you will understand that there’s a massive difference between genuine concerns about a historical election that will be studied for years but cannot be affected in any way, and outright fiction about an election that the cult believes they can still change if they lie enough.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

not all ‘thoughts’ or ‘beliefs’ are equal or deserve equal treatment or consideration.

Then please oh great sage, give us your wisdom and define all acceptable thought or beliefs so we can purge via the law all others that are undesirable.

Fascist. Just wearing another flag.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Some thoughts/beliefs don’t deserve equal treatment because of their outlandishness, offensiveness, or flat-out wrongness. Do we need to take the beliefs of QAnon cultists seriously? What about people who think Black people are “glad their ancestors were brought here as slaves”?

You can’t think all thoughts/beliefs deserve equal treatment. That way lies madness — and the justifying of great evils such as pedophilia, terrorism, and thinking Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a good movie. But if you want to argue otherwise? I’m not gonna stop you from making that mistake.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

"Fascist. Just wearing another flag."

For denying you a perceived "right" to look down on other human beings and treating them like garbage based what they are rather than on what they do?

Nope. No matter how much ignorant asshats keep railing it is not and never has been a human right to be entitled the respect that you deny others. Tolerance is a reciprocal part of the social contract and as long as you deny equality to anyone else based on what they are no one owes it to tolerate you.

So here’s the deal; feel free to set up your own echo chamber, live in your own little cabin out in rural pennsylvania, and have yourself little parties with your like-minded outcasts.
And when you come into any place where rational beings gather, feel free to be shown the door when you decide to shit on the floor and decide the patrons no one else has a beef with are subhuman because they’ve got the "wrong" skin tone or plumbing.

You should probably consider moving to some middle east country where they share your particular views – because the principles the US was founded on don’t agree with you.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"What should concern you is if this is part of a growing trend to make conservative thought — or any political belief outside of a very narrow progressive window — unviable in a modern society."

That would concern me, if it weren’t for every supposed example of this boiling down to people acting like assholes in a way that would have got them kicked off in the same way no matter their political beliefs. I somehow think that you wouldn’t be whining about these people losing their platform if Parler were a hive of Marxists who just tried overthrowing a democratic election…

"If the screws keep on tightening it will get very ugly."

You know what else is very ugly? Forcing people to do business with these kinds of people against their will and giving them free access to recruitment tools.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

"I somehow think that you wouldn’t be whining about these people losing their platform if Parler were a hive of Marxists who just tried overthrowing a democratic election…"

  1. Don’t speculate about views I haven’t expresssed because you’re not smart enough.
  2. Planning of the assault on Capital Building did not occur through Parler.
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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"Don’t speculate about views I haven’t expresssed because you’re not smart enough."

I’m free to express any assumption I want.

"Planning of the assault on Capital Building did not occur through Parler."

Irrelevant to them being kicked off services for their role, and their repeated refusal to stop breaking terms of service. The attempted insurrection was the catalyst to finally take action, it was not the sole reason.

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TFG says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Don’t speculate about views I haven’t expresssed because you’re not smart enough.

Then don’t force people to speculate by refusing to provide specifics and instead going with generalities.

Understand that we’ve seen all this before. "Conservative thought is being suppressed!" the person says.
"That’s concerning if true!" We reply. "To enable a reasoned discussion, which conservative thoughts are being suppressed?"
"Conservative thought in general!" comes the reply.
"But that does not allow for discussion or actual action to be taken."

And then it devolves into nonsense, as the person claiming that conservative thought is being suppressed retreats into the assumption that people asking for specifics are attacking them, and reveals that they’ve bought into ideologies that they call conservative but in reality are fascistic, racist, or conspiracy theories.

This trains everyone who comes across the argument to treat it as yet another instance of the same tired old nonsense. The actions of others, which are comparable to your own, lead to everyone being too weary of this shit to give it a fair shake. So please break the pattern, and when asked for specifics, give some specifics.

You want to have a reasoned discussion? Then be socially intelligent enough to be reasonable, and tell us exactly what conservative views are being suppressed.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"Oh, you know the ones…"

Must be the ones about black people being worth three fifths of an actual person. That one statement by Lincoln the current GOP can get behind.

Or the opinions as formulated in the conversation Reagan had with Nixon about african delegates at one time;

"then–California Governor Ronald Reagan phoned President Richard Nixon at the White House and vented his frustration at the delegates who had sided against the United States. “Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did,” Reagan said. “Yeah,” Nixon interjected. Reagan forged ahead with his complaint: “To see those, those monkeys from those African countries—damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!” Nixon gave a huge laugh."

  • The Atlantic, Ronald Reagan’s Long-Hidden Racist Conversation With Richard Nixon.
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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"SCOTUS has ruled the even hate speech is protected under the 1A."

Meaning that government may make no law suppressing that speech, yes.
How slow do people have to be to realize that after all this time, private corporations and individuals are not government.

The government can’t have you jailed for screaming the N-word out loud.
Neither can the pub owner, the restaurant owner, or the owner of an online platform passing by. They can all ban your ass from their personal premises though.

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Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

What should concern you is if this is part of a growing trend to make conservative thought — or any political belief outside of a very narrow progressive window — unviable in a modern society.

I have seen no evidence, whatsoever, that supports this hypothesis.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"I have seen no evidence, whatsoever, that supports this hypothesis."

In fact, as I often mention, I’ve seen plenty of evidence to the contrary. Whenever people bother to give a concrete example, it’s almost without fail a ban due to behaviour that would have been punished no matter the political slant of the person.

This is true of the Parler issue – they have been blocked because they helped ferment and armed insurrection attempt of the Capitol, and have been removed from services whose terms of service they had already been breaking. I don’t believe that the political viewpoint that led to this has any bearing on the action taken as a result.

What some people need to be asking is not "why are people who think like me getting disproportionately banned?", but rather "why do I align politically with so many toxic assholes?".

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Jan Bobrowicz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

[Greenwald] did some research and claims there is no evidence that the assault on Capitol Hill was organized through Parler.

Glem didn’t do any research. He just took Parler’s word for it:

a Parler executive told me that of the thirteen people arrested as of Monday for the breach at the Capitol, none appear to be active users of Parler.

It’s also not true. A number of Parler users have been arrested, among them Troy Smocks, Jake Angeli, and Nick Ochs.

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Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Glenn Greenwald wrote that based solely on Parler execs claiming as much, and before multiple reports came out detailing how much was actually planned on Parler. And now that Parler’s entire database has been leaked, more and more examples of planning done on Parler has come out.

Maybe don’t trust Glenn, because he’s not at all trustworthy.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"Glenn Greenwald says otherwise. He did some research and claims there is no evidence that the assault on Capitol Hill was organized through Parler."

Organized? maybe and maybe not. The key point is that Parler is filled to the brim with people who advocated such action or applauded it. Which means Amazon, Google and Apple have politely asked Parler to leave their premises and not come back.

It’s a bit like how, if you’re standing in a bar loudly discussing treason, murder or the minutiae of practical necrophilia, at some point the owner will more or less firmly remind you where the door is and invite you to make use of it. Even if you can’t be shown to have been involved in either.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"So it’s okay for the cool kids to blacklist the outcasts. Welcome to eighth grade."

No, it’s OK for companies to refuse service to customers they believe will hurt their business by serving them. Whether that’s because you refuse to put on a shirt or because you were involved in violent criminal activity is meaningless. Welcome to the adult world.

"The LIBERAL definition of "hate" is what rules"

No, the real world definition of hate, which includes beating a police officer to death during an attempt to violently overthrow a legal electoral process. That applies to anyone doing such things, no matter their political viewpoint, but only one group has done that recently.

"If it’s that horrible make it illegal"

It is illegal, which is why so many people are being arrested.

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John Thacker (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Right, but the Hollywood blacklist was private, and it was done because of belief that it would hurt their business by doing so. Yes, politicians approved of it, and government investigations or lack of testimony was sometimes evidence used, but the studios had their own investigations and a clearance system for people to dispute their blacklisting. They also were influenced by pressure and evidence brought by private groups like the American Legion.

Certainly the same sorts of analogies apply to censorship of, say, LGBTQ issues in decades past, but there it is much easier for me to argue that I opposed the censorship because there was nothing wrong with the views being suppressed.

In the case of the CPUSA, they were as evil and pro genocide as the rioters on Parler. Yes, in both cases some dupes get swept up along with the truly evil. But both are private actions done to protect business, and in both cases people have and had alternatives, even if not as good.

All of this is to explain why the Hollywood blacklist was quite popular at the time, and why people who support the actions against Parler would support the Hollywood blacklist (and similar actions against Nazi sympathizers) then and probably should support it now. Equally, people could oppose either blacklist without actually being sympathetic to the views.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

"Right, but the Hollywood blacklist was private"

Really? Did you miss the hearings? I wasn’t around at the time but it seemed pretty obvious that people who refused to testify at those were blacklisted, and those named during the hearings were also blacklisted. Maybe you didn’t get the full list, but the overall information wasn’t exactly private.

"In the case of the CPUSA, they were as evil and pro genocide as the rioters on Parler"

Maybe, but the difference is that people who weren’t in the CPUSA were still blacklisted if they were fingered, no matter how innocent they were. Parler being taken offline doesn’t silence anyone outside of Parler, and certainly doesn’t silence people who never used it to begin with.

Do you notice the very obvious difference there? The main takeaway here is that people are desperate to pretend that the use of anti-fascist tactics is somehow the same as Nazi/fascist tactics, and that requires such an ignorance or distortion of history that it’s quite disturbing. Thankfully, the fascists who did actually involve themselves in violent insurrection are being arrested and tried, so they will be less able to infect people with this false equivalence in the future.

CallmeSteve (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

What some people need to be asking is not "why are people who think like me getting disproportionately banned?", but rather "why do I align politically with so many toxic assholes?".

This is why I do not belong to either party. Time for third parties to start getting their name in the game. Besides, why is Facebook and Twitter allowed when there is quite alot of hate spewing from all stripes of people on those platforms. Why are those platforms exempt? Seems to me, it was a move to get rid of a potential competitor.

Also, doesn’t the Government have AWS as one of their providers? Seems like some money can flow from there if someone does the "right" thing.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

why is Facebook and Twitter allowed when there is quite alot of hate spewing from all stripes of people on those platforms. Why are those platforms exempt?

Exempt from what? If Twitter doesn’t own its servers/hosting and whatever company runs that hosting wants to boot Twitter, that hosting company can boot Twitter. (Whether it would is a whole different can of worms.)

The key difference between Twitter and Parler is one of size. That much is true. But that size difference significantly lowers the percentage of “hate speech” on Twitter as opposed to Parler. And Twitter doesn’t apparently ignore moderation reports by the thousands.

Seems to me, it was a move to get rid of a potential competitor.

Parler competes with Twitter/Facebook in the same way some rando developer on itch.io competes with Nintendo: It’s technically true, but the playing field isn’t anywhere near level.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Facebook and Twitter are allowed… what, exactly?

Hate on their platforms… sure, but they moderate it. That’s why people complain when their hate or dangerous lies get taken down, or the accounts suspended.

So again, exempt from what?

Also, doesn’t the Government have AWS as one of their providers?

Nice theory, but Amazon makes so much money that the government can hardly tease them with a contract. But the thinking here is… Trump and other government conservatives asked AWS to silence Parler? Is that the gist here?

bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Besides, why is Facebook and Twitter allowed when there is quite alot of hate spewing from all stripes of people on those platforms. Why are those platforms exempt? Seems to me, it was a move to get rid of a potential competitor.

AWS does not compete and never has competed with Parler, and Facebook and Twitter are not hosted by AWS at all.

(Also, neither Apple nor Google compete with Parler, either.)

Besides, according to Amazon, Parler barely even tried to do something about the hate-spewing on their platform, while Facebook and Twitter clearly have tried.

Also, doesn’t the Government have AWS as one of their providers? Seems like some money can flow from there if someone does the "right" thing.

I don’t know. That would require some investigation. It also wouldn’t mean that AWS did anything wrong.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"This is why I do not belong to either party."

You might start by understanding the the issues here aren’t restricted to what the 2 major US political parties happen to be. It’s a lot more complicated than that. Try and educate yourself on the actual issue without letting partisanship in a single country confuse you.

"Besides, why is Facebook and Twitter allowed"

Allow to do what, exactly?

"there is quite alot of hate spewing from all stripes of people on those platforms"

Yes, but it’s a vast minority of what happens on those platforms. There’s a different question about a platform histing 2.7 billion users across the globe having a certain type of hate, compared to a platform with 2.3 million users that has been promoted exclusively to right-wing extremists in the US.

"Seems to me, it was a move to get rid of a potential competitor."

Then, you really need to get your head out of your arse and understand what’s happening because you’re conflated things that have nothing to do with each other. Facebook and Twitter had nothing to do with Amazon kicking Parler off their platform, and Parler is not a competitor to AWS.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

There are none so blind as those who are paid not to see.

Masnick is very desperate for reasons which will become apparent very soon. He knows lawyers who know hackers who organized the insurrection. They’re the same lawyers who paid these hackers to defame people online. Not saying he DID anything but he’s aware of what’s going on a lot more than he’s revealing. No telling which side he’s on.

What’s done in the dark will be brought to the light.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"He knows lawyers who know hackers who organized the insurrection."

I’m sure the evidence for that will be as forthcoming as the evidence of electoral fraud that Trump’s lawyers have refused to show to the courts.

"What’s done in the dark will be brought to the light."

Yes, I do look forward to the court proceedings that will reveal who was behind recent events. I somehow doubt it will be the people you’re fantasising about, however.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"He knows lawyers who know hackers who organized the insurrection."

I guess that’s why all the insurrectionist mob leaders live-streaming themselves committing sedition and treason while identifying themselves on camera turned out to be very well known extreme right wing activists? Because Masnick?

Thank you for that little gem, Baghdad Bob. Almost as amusing as when you claimed Masnick was being paid by the CIA to hire astroturfers for the sole purpose of…shooting holes in your leaky excuses of arguments on open forums…

You’re not going to give the Kenyan Muslim or the Global Jewish Conspiracy any screen time today the way you usually do when you’re in full gear?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I’m not concerned about that outlandish lie, no. Not at all. It’s rather generally the other way around. Y’all just mad that people you want to label "progressive" or "liberal" or "leftist" (and quite frankly some of them very much are not) are speaking up and it doesn’t align with the "conservative" story of the moment.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

What concerns me is the idea that we should put bad ideas on life support and treat them like protected classes. Conservatism needs no help spreading its filth, and it would be great if it did eventually die, like some of its more blatantly awful tenets are dying (homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, anti-science).

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"What should concern you is if this is part of a growing trend to make conservative thought — or any political belief outside of a very narrow progressive window — unviable in a modern society."

Is this where I more or less have to point out to you that for most of human historythe progressive window has always been extremely wide?

And "conservative" thought has never been so much as even frowned upon. Unless of course you want to redefine what Parler is getting cast out for – being a platform for nazism, racism, bigotry and delusional conspiracy theories – as "conservative".

I don’t think I’m concerned a single bit that racist assholes are being treated as the outcasts they are, nor that delusional lunatics are denied credibility by society as a whole. Nor should any other rational person be.

Tolerance is a reciprocal part of the social contract. The rights you would deny other people will not be extended to you in turn.

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Anonymous Coward says:

We should also be concerned about the abject failure of antitrust legislation/enforcement (especially in the US) leading to a situation where there are only a few companies that provide a specific service in the infrastructure stack that can then be weaponised against any number of targets. We saw this with the successful pressure by ill-informed anti-porn organisations on payment processors to cut off PornHub leading to its massive video purge.

It seems that in order to "fix" (as much as you can given how inherently complex content moderation is) the issues of moving moderation policy enforcement deeper into the infrastructure stack, you need to fix/reboot antitrust legislation and enforcement.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"leading to a situation where there are only a few companies that provide a specific service in the infrastructure"

Amazon has only 1/3 of the cloud infrastructure market, and have many competitors, plus you don’t require cloud infrastructure to perform any of the functions that Parler were performing – there any many alternatives beyond the cloud.

If you’re referring to other services then there’s a discussion to be had there, but the bottom line is that this discussion has nothing to do with companies not wishing to do business with a specific actor under the current marketplace rules.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Internet access providers (what we currently know as ISPs) should be regulated as public utilities. Internet service providers (providers of online services such as cloud hosting and social interaction networks) should not — but they should be subject to antitrust and monopoly laws if necessary.

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Ben (profile) says:

Re: Re:

They have alternatives within the cloud market.
They could even avoid using cloud services altogether and host the entire system on their own computers using open-source software, with only a leased line connection to t’internet. (It would need to be a high capacity line, but there are plenty of providers out there, depending upon where you are)
There’s no antitrust behaviour going on, Parler are just too cheap and lazy to build their own.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I’m not able to quickly find figures, but basically – yes, they did. The average home user wouldn’t, but the idea is to get individuals who weren’t a lucrative market to use it then get the corporate users to pay for it, which many would due to corporate acquisition policies. This is something that works for companies who understand they stand to make more money from corporate licences than they are from nickel-and-diming home users who are more likely to pirate and/or use FOSS solutions than stick to an expensive brand name.

However, what I believe AC was referring to was this:

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/parler-free-trial-software-b1786153.html

They were using a free trial version of 2FA authentication software, which the vendor promptly removed them from when it was publicised they were abusing.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

"Clearly they’re lazy as previously stated then, because implementing 2FA need not be complicated."

And inept. Don’t forget inept. Sarah Mei, software engineer and developer, described what Parler revealed about their technical expertise as "Technical Clown Shoes". Her twitter comments about that is a joy to read.

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Anonymous Coward says:

First Principles ?

("But it’s important to go back to first principles in thinking through these issues. It’s quite clear that companies like Amazon, Apple, and Google have every legal right to remove services they don’t want to associate with, and there are a ton of reasons why people and companies might not want to associate with Parler." MM)
.

Odd that you stress ‘first principles’, but never state what those principles are in your mind.

You hint at a "Freedom of Association" for "people and companies" as a basic principle.
That principle, if stated, would greatly clarify your position.

However, I strongly doubt you accept freedom-of-association as a basic principle of society (e.g., you fully accept the use of government force to compel private restaurant owners to serve black customers even though some owners do not want to associate with black people at all).

Your latest view on this Parler issue still seems tentative and loosely expressed.

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Rocky says:

Re: First Principles ?

However, I strongly doubt you accept freedom-of-association as a basic principle of society (e.g., you fully accept the use of government force to compel private restaurant owners to serve black customers even though some owners do not want to associate with black people at all).

What’s a black customer and why shouldn’t that customer be served?

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: First Principles ?

"you fully accept the use of government force to compel private restaurant owners to serve black customers even though some owners do not want to associate with black people at all"

Yes, the concept of legally protected classes is very important to prevent racists from treating minorities differently. Violent insurrectionist and easily-fooled alt-right fascist are not protected classes.

"Your latest view on this Parler issue still seems tentative and loosely expressed."

Only to people desperate to pretend that Parler are not facing perfectly acceptable consequences for their actions.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: First Principles ?

"if so, please spell them out for us dummies."

You mean the part where what you are is legally protected but what you do is not?

You can toss a person out for pissing on the floor, espousing the confederacy, violating the dress code, or ranting until the other patrons have had enough.
You can’t toss them out for "Being Brown".

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TFG says:

Re: First Principles ?

It’s very easy to have a coherent, consistent, and non-hypocritical viewpoint of the right to freedom of association, while also not supporting racists.

It goes as follows:

  1. Private People and companies have the right to choose who they associate with, including providing services to, when that choice is based upon actions and expression of the other party. (Standard 1st amendment caveat: the Government, governmental services, and government employees operate under severe restrictions in this theater)
  2. People and companies do not have a right to choose who they associate with, including providing services to, when that choice is based upon *what the other party is.

Ergo: You can kick someone out of your bar because they’re being an asshole. You can’t kick someone out of your bar because they’re black.

"But bars kick Nazis out!"
No one was born a Nazi.
"But what <protected class> does a bad thing?"
Then kick them out for doing the bad thing. You just can’t kick them out for being <protected class.>

It’s not hard, guys.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yes or no: Do you believe the government should have the legal right to compel any privately owned interactive web service into hosting legally protected speech that the owners/operators of said service don’t want to host?

If yes: For what reason should that apply to privately owned businesses/services on the Internet, but not to privately owned businesses/services in meatspace?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: First Principles ?

"U clearly do not understand the classic definition of freedomof association, nor its long established history in American culture and law"

Do continue …..
What American cultural reference best suits this classic definition of freedom of association?
What long established American law best addresses this classic freedom of association?

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TFG says:

Re: Re: Re: First Principles ?

  1. I wasn’t talking about the classic definition of it. I was explaining how you can have a coherent, consistent, and non-hypocritical viewpoint of it, which does not require a classic definition to be considered in any way, shape, or form. In fact, if the classic definition requires that racists be supported, then we can put that in the column of "unfortunate history" and use a more morally sound definition going forward.
  2. Notwithstanding the complete lack of relevance of what you have claimed as a rebuttal to what I have said, you have not actually provided the definition to which you referred, nor provided anything to explain it. Without this, there can be no meaningful discussion of what you attempted to say. If you wish to have a discussion of the "Classic definition" and the long-established history, please give us something about what those are. I’d also appreciate it if you would include something that would link it, in any way, to my point.
Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: First Principles ?

"Nope, U clearly do not understand the classic definition of freedomof association, nor its long established history in American culture and law."

Too darn bad because his association is what the US Supreme Court has ruled in favor of every time the subject has come up. Which it lamentably has, a lot of times.

The only constitution your particular version of "Freedom of Association" would fly under is the one written by the confederacy.

Mike says:

Re: Re: No, you're just begging the question

It’s very easy to have a coherent, consistent, and non-hypocritical viewpoint of the right to freedom of association, while also not supporting racists.

All you’ve done is declared by fiat that "what the other party is" is somehow a special category of association that doesn’t get included in the discussion.

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TFG says:

Re: Re: Re: No, you're just begging the question

Note the "while not supporting racists" part. Supporting Freedom of Association that is based purely on what the other party is is to support racists.

Do you therefore argue that people should be allowed to deny services to people because they are black, not-black, chinese, gay, etc?

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Mike says:

Re: Re: Re:2 No, you're just begging the question

Note the "while not supporting racists" part. Supporting Freedom of Association that is based purely on what the other party is is to support racists.

And note that what you did, again, was move the goal post while trying to tell everyone you didn’t. The truth is, you don’t believe in Freedom of Association just like almost no one believes in Freedom of Speech given that they don’t support the right to share state secrets, commit defamation, etc.

Most modern political ideas are based on catch phrases that fail the moment you consistently apply them. That’s why people do what you did, which is create an unprincipled exception that you pretend is just common sense rather than a very real flaw in your argument.

Do you therefore argue that people should be allowed to deny services to people because they are black, not-black, chinese, gay, etc?

No, and I generally think that should include things like this issue as well.

"But the 1A."

That’s a legal point, which I agree controls the matter, but it’s not how I think things ought to be. Corporations are not people. If corporate executives want to express their opinions on how to run a business, I have a novel idea for how to reconcile this: they can run it as their own sole proprietorship.

Granting corporations human rights makes less sense than granting them to parrots and apes as corporations have no reality beyond a piece of paper.

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TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:3 No, you're just begging the question

And note that what you did, again, was move the goal post while trying to tell everyone you didn’t.

…the goal as expressed was to provide a coherent philosophy of Freedom of Association while not supporting racists. To remind you of the original statement is not moving the goal posts: it is literally restating where the goal posts are, so that everybody remembers what was being talked about.

I don’t know what you imagined the goal posts to be, but if you had them as something other than what was stated, all I can say is "read better."

The truth is, you don’t believe in Freedom of Association just like almost no one believes in Freedom of Speech given that they don’t support the right to share state secrets, commit defamation, etc.

The truth is that I believe in Freedom of Association under the framework I originally supplied. You have the right to associate, or not associate, based on the actions and speech of people. You do not have the right to associate, or not associate, based on the nature of people. To hold otherwise is to, again, open the door to racism, sexism, etc.

Most modern political ideas are based on catch phrases that fail the moment you consistently apply them. That’s why people do what you did, which is create an unprincipled exception that you pretend is just common sense rather than a very real flaw in your argument.

My argument is that it is possible to have a coherent understanding of Freedom of Association without also supporting racists, by noting and applying the difference between treatment based on actions and treatment based on nature. I have yet to see an actual explanation of the flaw in this argument.

>Do you therefore argue that people should be allowed to deny services to people because they are black, not-black, chinese, gay, etc?

No, and I generally think that should include things like this issue as well.

So then what exactly is your issue with what I’ve said? If you are not arguing for people being allowed to deny services based on skin color, gender, etc., what is wrong with my outlay of the conditions for Freedom of Association?

"But the 1A."

That’s a legal point, which I agree controls the matter, but it’s not how I think things ought to be. Corporations are not people. If corporate executives want to express their opinions on how to run a business, I have a novel idea for how to reconcile this: they can run it as their own sole proprietorship.

I don’t actually follow your point here. Sole proprietorship, incorporated, LLC, what restriction can you place on the company that does not, in effect, place a restriction on the people themselves? Also, should it be just the owner that has a say? Employees, board members, and so on also have a say in things.

Granting corporations human rights makes less sense than granting them to parrots and apes as corporations have no reality beyond a piece of paper.

While tangential to what I was talking about earlier, I agree with you to a certain extent (in particular I don’t quite agree with the idea that corporations can make "political contributions" aka bribes). The complexity of this is to ensure that rights granted to people are not immediately obviated just because they created a group that uses a name.

Mike says:

Re: Re: Re:4 No, you're just begging the question

…the goal as expressed was to provide a coherent philosophy of Freedom of Association while not supporting racists.

And you failed because what you actually did was mutilate Freedom of Association as a concept and substitute your mutilation as being a perfectly coherent and natural form of the idea, which it’s not. This is like saying "I believe it’s possible to have a coherent idea of free speech that excludes hate speech." What you really mean there too is "I believe in the freedom to say things I think people should be free to say."

The only coherent form of Freedom of Association is the extreme one, which allows people to be racist. This becomes especially obvious when you consider that by your own criteria, it becomes incoherent when you include sexual orientation and religion in the mix, as both of those are "what people do," not "what people are." There is no documented proof yet that anyone is born Jewish, Buddhist or Christian; born gay, pedophile, etc. Both categories are firmly in the behavior and expression category, not "intrinsic attributes" yet both are considered protected classes.

(Note: one does not need to believe in Freedom of Association to consider forced association imprudent; there are plenty of cases where discrimination is not harmful and others where it is and an abstract principle cannot do justice to that)

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TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:5 No, you're just begging the question

And you failed because what you actually did was mutilate Freedom of Association as a concept and substitute your mutilation as being a perfectly coherent and natural form of the idea, which it’s not.

This is an assertion you keep making, but you have so failed to provide any coherent arguments to explain why this assertion is true. Until such time as you actually provide reasons why your assertion is true, it simply an unsubstantiated assertion. Please correct this as soon as possible, or I’ll be forced to simply ignore what you’re saying as you attempting to discard what I’m saying based on nothing.

The only coherent form of Freedom of Association is the extreme one, which allows people to be racist.

Why?

This becomes especially obvious when you consider that by your own criteria, it becomes incoherent when you include sexual orientation and religion in the mix, as both of those are "what people do," not "what people are."

I posit that it doesn’t.

  1. Sexual orientation as choice vs. nature is a thorny subject and you’re going to find that your assertion that it’s what people "do" as opposed to what people "are" is not actually universally accepted.
  2. Yes, religion is what people do and say. So it can be entirely valid to deny someone based on their religion, in a coherent view of Freedom of Association. Morally this should be based entirely on an understanding of what that particular religion actually espouses, and whether it’s problematic. For example, Scientology would be Non-Grata in my own establishments, because that is a religion of exploitation. Similarly, Westboro Baptist Church would be Non-Grata in my own establishments, as that’s a Religion of Hate. On the other hand, Muslim covers a broad range of people, many with peaceful views. Same with Christian – so, because those religions are not guaranteed problematic, I withhold judgement based solely on that.

On a slight tangent:

There is no documented proof yet that anyone is born Jewish…

Don’t use this one in future, as, yes, people are born Jewish – it’s a real genetic lineage, same as Palestinian, Irish, German, etc. There is also a Jewish faith/religion, etc., but you can 100% be Jewish in lineage without following Judaism. Anne Frank was born a Jew.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

The only coherent form of Freedom of Association is the extreme one, which allows people to be racist.

The freedom of association doesn’t “allow[ ]people to be racist”. Nothing in the Constitution gives (or denies) the “right” to believe racist bullshit. But it does deny racists the right to make others listen to their racist bullshit or force others to have any association with them. If you’re more worried about racists being denied an audience that doesn’t want to hear their bullshit than about the racists trying to make that potential audience listen to them by force (legal or physical), you…might want to reconsider your own values.

it becomes incoherent when you include sexual orientation and religion in the mix, as both of those are "what people do," not "what people are."

U.S. law protects people from religious persecution so the law can’t be used in a way that implies favor or affection for one religion and malice or ill will for all others. You’re not born a Christian or a Muslim or an atheist; this is true. But you shouldn’t be barred from participating in the public sphere because you’re any of those things.

As for sexual orientation: Yeah, no, that’s not a “choice”. If it were, straight people could either point out the exact moment they chose to be straight or “choose” to go from straight to gay like it’s an internal light switch. (A straight man who sucks a dick ever now and then isn’t completely straight, despite what they may tell themselves.)

Both categories are firmly in the behavior and expression category, not "intrinsic attributes" yet both are considered protected classes.

I laid out why religious creed is a protected class. As for sexual orientation: It’s not as protected a class as religious creed under federal law. And state laws are an inconsistent patchwork of whether queer people can be denied employment, housing, and/or service in public accomodation businesses based on their being queer.

Oh, and one more thing:

gay, pedophile

Homosexuality is a sexual orientation. Pedophilia is a sexual paraphilia. Don’t conflate the two ever again…unless you want people to think you’re intentionally trying to smear all gay/queer people as pedophiles (or pedophilia-adjacent) out of some sort of bias against or fear of gay/queer people.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Yes or no: Do you believe the government should have the legal right to compel any privately owned interactive web service into hosting legally protected speech that the owners/operators of said service don’t want to host?

Please note that “privately owned” applies to both corporations and people alike. Your answer would apply equally to a corporate behemoth such as Twitter and a forum with a couple dozen users that’s owned and operated by some random jackoff in Walla Walla, Washington. Think about that carefully before you give your answer.

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Mike says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Yes or no: Do you believe the government should have the legal right to compel any privately owned interactive web service into hosting legally protected speech that the owners/operators of said service don’t want to host?

With caveats: yes, absolutely. I am not a libertarian. Far from it. I think constitutional rights should only apply directly to US citizens acting as such.

Please note that “privately owned” applies to both corporations and people alike.

Since we’re operating in the realm of should, I’m going to cheerfully ignore your stipulation and say that corporations’ rights should generally be whatever the government deigns to permit.

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nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I think constitutional rights should only apply directly to US citizens acting as such.

They generally apply to anyone in the US, since most if not all constitutional rights are actually restrictions on what the government can do, and do not have exceptions for non-citizens (or people not "acting as such", whatever that means).

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TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I think constitutional rights should only apply directly to US citizens acting as such.

If I and three of my buddies have a bar, called "The Bar on the Corner," should the government have the legal right to force me and my three buddies to host Nazis in that bar?

If I and a couple of my buddies start up a message-board as a small company, should the government have the legal right to force me and my buddies to host Nazi speech on that bar?

Why do constitutional protections disappear when more than one US citizen decides to act in concert under a group name?

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Mike says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

If I and three of my buddies have a bar, called "The Bar on the Corner," should the government have the legal right to force me and my three buddies to host Nazis in that bar?

How about this: should you be allowed to deny service to Nazis who are behaving themselves in your bar?

Let’s get creative: should you be allowed to deny them access to your services as a medical provider? How about kicking them out at the grocery store and bank?

At some point, this society starts to sound an awful lot like the Amish but without a real doctrine for forgiveness and tolerance of sinners.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

I somewhat wish y’all had taken the same tack of refusing to answer Mike’s questions, Paul, Stephen, bhull, and Scary Devil Monastery.

The "How about this?" followed by the questions Mike presented was a dodge – by responding to the questions he presents, Mike is then allowed to not answer the question of "should the bar be forced to host the Nazi?" and most importantly, "why do constitutional protections disappear when more than one US Citizen decides to act in concert under a group name?"

I’m still looking for answers to those questions, Mike. I’ll answer yours if you answer mine.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

This is public forum, and until the time Mike’s inclined to answer your question himself, the rest of us are free to present our own opinions.

"why do constitutional protections disappear when more than one US Citizen decides to act in concert under a group name?"

The answer to that is simple – the constitution does not protected you from the actions of non-government agents. Unless you can prove that Amazon (or the bar) made their decision under government duress, they are as free to act as they have to protect their right to free association as you had to try and express your freedom of speech on their private property. You don’t have the constitutional right to use someone else’s property if they don’t want you there.

A bar can kick you out for whatever reason they decide, whether it’s because you’re a Nazi, you ignored their "no shirt no service" sign, you were trying to hit on the manager’s girlfriend or the bartender thought you were with the guy who started a fight in there last night. As long as they’re not kicking you out because you’re black or similar, they have that right. This is not controversial, and has never been until recently.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

This is public forum, and until the time Mike’s inclined to answer your question himself, the rest of us are free to present our own opinions.

Yes, I know. Thus I presented it as a wish, not a directive, with the rationale.

As to the rest of your response: I’m not sure you answered the question I was actually meaning to ask, which was meant to explore the rationale behind denying Free Speech rights to groups of people. Let me clarify:

For context, the question I asked is in response to the following statement by Mike:
"I think constitutional rights should only apply directly to US citizens acting as such."

So, within that context, why do the rights granted to [individual] US citizens disappear when they decide to act in concert under a group name [but not as government, rather in the sense of co-ownership of a bar or internet forum]?

Does that make sense or am I being obtuse in the presentation?

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:13 Re:

The assertion by mike implied that only an individual has the right to kick someone off. I.E. a bar owned by one person, the owner can kick some out. But a bar owned by a corporation, the corporation can’t.

My question (to Mike) is why do constitutional protections disappear when more than one person acts in concert under a group name? Why does a single person enjoy Freedom of Speech, but a bunch of people (operating under the name of Amazon) don’t?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:14 Re:

OK, this is a busy thread and I might have confused something here with various other posts I’ve responded to recently. Obviously, I agree – unless there’s evidence that the government were involved in some kind of coercion to get Amazon to kick Parler out, then that’s their right. If there is such evidence, then the constitutional beef is with the government agents, not Amazon.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

should you be allowed to deny service to Nazis

Yes. You’d be denying them service based on what they say and do, not for an intrisic trait (or a religious creed).

As for the other examples: Healthcare, no, because healthcare is (or should be) a human right; grocery store is an edge case, because food; bank is also an edge case. I have no easy answers for those.

this society starts to sound an awful lot like the Amish but without a real doctrine for forgiveness and tolerance of sinners

For what reason should I be required to forgive someone who has expressed no regret, remorse, or atonement for their past bigotry? For what reason should I be required to tolerate someone who currently expresses bigotry outside of any situation that involves human rights? (Reminder: Tolerance is a peace treaty, not a moral precept.)

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

"This should help explain why the answer to your bad-faith straw-question is definitively yes:"

Can’t help noticing how the AC with the temp name of "Mike" did exactly that. Start off being reasonable and when challenged on a bad faith assertion immediately resorted to troll rhetoric peppered with false equivalence, straw man arguments, and moved goal posts.

The only thing which works with the racists, bigots and fascist fuckwits currently banned from Facebook for being liberal only with their use of the N-word, is to shut them down hard. No tolerance to those who refuse to extend that courtesy unto others.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

"How about this: should you be allowed to deny service to Nazis who are behaving themselves in your bar?"

Yes. A bar owner reserves the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason so longer as they are not due to being part of a protected class – and Nazi is not a protected class.

"How about kicking them out at the grocery store and bank?"

Yes, for the same reason the bar has.

"Let’s get creative: should you be allowed to deny them access to your services as a medical provider? "

That’s slightly more problematic, and a different situation legally, I believe. But, under certain circumstances I believe it could be justified.

"At some point, this society starts to sound an awful lot like the Amish"

The Amish are generally way more open and accommodating to people who believe differently to you than the average Trumper, so I’m not sure this means what you imagine it to mean.

bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

How about this: should you be allowed to deny service to Nazis who are behaving themselves in your bar?

Yes, though I should note that you didn’t really define “behaving”, which could change some people’s answers. It could include not disruptive but saying white-supremacist things.

Let’s get creative: should you be allowed to deny them access to your services as a medical provider?

Generally, no; healthcare is or should be a fundamental human right, moreso than speech. That said, I’m unsure if that should be a legal issue. But since I’m in favor of the government being at least partly responsible for covering healthcare costs moreso than any other human need, I have plenty of reason for having this as the exception.

How about kicking them out at the grocery store and bank?

Generally, yes. The grocery store thing is somewhat arguable, but I still lean towards “yes”.

At some point, this society starts to sound an awful lot like the Amish but without a real doctrine for forgiveness and tolerance of sinners.

I—what? How? What do you even mean?

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

"Yes, though I should note that you didn’t really define “behaving”, which could change some people’s answers. It could include not disruptive but saying white-supremacist things."

That’s a good point. If "behaving" means simply that they’re not actively causing problems to terms of being rowdy or violent, that could still mean they’re doing things to offend other customers and thus cause problems for the business. It’s possible to have a quiet conversation about how the holocaust didn’t result in enough dead Jews, but someone sat at the next table may well not take this line of conversation well. They could be talking about something else entirely, but their Nazi t-shifts and flag pins might offend someone else.

A bar owner doesn’t have to wait until another customer decides to tell them how offended they are and they escalate it to a fist fight, or wait until other customers start walking out, before he tells the Nazis to leave. It’s a little concerning that some people think that you have to wait for actual violence, or actual business to be lost, before doing so.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

"How about this: should you be allowed to deny service to Nazis who are behaving themselves in your bar?"

Well, the bar owner is normally free to evict any person, at any time, for more or less any reason. So yes.

The only exception made to this is where judges and juries have established protection, for minorities under threat. A person being thrown out of a bar might have a case in civil court if the only reason they were thrown out was having a shaved head, wearing a yarmulke, or a palestinian scarf. Less so if they were also wearing a swastika, a framed pendant with a photo of Baruch Goldstein, or a patch with a crossed-out star of david.

Context matters.

"Let’s get creative: should you be allowed to deny them access to your services as a medical provider? How about kicking them out at the grocery store and bank?"

Creative as in Moving the goal posts and putting up straw man arguments? There is already well-established precedent for all of those cases. All of which has proven to work just fine and none of the long provided answers backing your argument.

It’s getting pretty clear here that you didn’t start this argument in good faith because your logic falls apart in favor of low-grade troll rhetoric the very second you got challenged on it.

"…this society starts to sound an awful lot like the Amish but without a real doctrine for forgiveness and tolerance of sinners."

Right. And there’s the second tell. Nazis and racists being the persecuted victims over not being allowed to force other people to host their hate sessions.

Last I checked forgiveness and tolerance of sinners demands repentance. You are implying it needs to be extended to the assholes who see no wrong in what they do.

Let me save you some time here by a big reveal even a few of the more eager stormfront trolls learned early on; There is no way that any reasonable assertion can be brought to provide the conclusion you want without the addition of a few major and very obvious falsehoods, false-equivalences, and goalpost-moving rhetoric…as you’ve presented very well in this thread.

AWS, Facebook, Twitter, or any other privately owned platform does not have to host any speech they disagree with and are free to set their terms of service accordingly.
Forcing them to host such speech is not possible under a democracy, or a nation valuing the concept of free speech. The only ones thinking that is possible are the people from the "alt-right" – i.e. fascists, racists and bigots, trying to push the twisted parody often given the nickname of "Freeze Peach" for very much NOT being Free Speech or an argument favoring it.

And when this is pointed out the comeback is always, invariably, bullshit rhetoric like the one you just served.

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

“Yes or no: Do you believe the government should have the legal right to compel any privately owned interactive web service into hosting legally protected speech that the owners/operators of said service don’t want to host?”

With caveats: yes, absolutely. I am not a libertarian. Far from it.

I am far from a libertarian, too, but I would answer, “With caveats: no, absolutely not.” I’m just going from the Constitution. Also, you should probably explain what at least one of those caveats is.

I think constitutional rights should only apply directly to US citizens acting as such.

  1. The Constitution places no such limitations on constitutional rights. The only exceptions are the right to vote and the right to run for or hold public office. In fact, with regards to free speech in particular, the text of the constitution not only doesn’t limit it to citizens, it doesn’t even limit that right to persons. An AI program or an orangutan (theoretically) would have the right to free speech and, with it, a protection from government-compelled speech.
  2. By that logic, the government should be able to freely regulate the speech of legal immigrants who are not US citizens.
  3. Define “acting as [US citizens]”.
  4. What do you mean by “apply directly”?
  5. Restricting the free speech and free association rights of corporations necessarily restricts the free speech and free association rights of the US citizens in that corporation or people working in that corporation.

“Please note that “privately owned” applies to both corporations and people alike.”

Since we’re operating in the realm of should, I’m going to cheerfully ignore your stipulation and say that corporations’ rights should generally be whatever the government deigns to permit.

That’s not how it works. That means you’re ignoring the stipulation of the question. The question defines “privately owned” as being owned by one or more private individuals, private corporations, or private organizations and not the government or a government agency/organization. You cannot simply decide that that’s not what the question means. Furthermore, legally speaking, there is no difference between a private corporation and a private individual.

At any rate, the government has “deign[ed] to permit” corporations to have free speech and free association. The judicial branch is part of the government, and it has explicitly ruled that corporations have these rights.

So let me repeat the question with this point in mind:

Yes or no: Do you believe the government should have the legal right to compel any interactive web service owned by a private individual, private corporation, or private nongovernmental organization into hosting legally protected speech that the owners/operators of said service don’t want to host?

Keep in mind that, legally speaking, there is no real distinction between an individual, a corporation, or an NGO.

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: First Principles ?

However, I strongly doubt you accept freedom-of-association as a basic principle of society (e.g., you fully accept the use of government force to compel private restaurant owners to serve black customers even though some owners do not want to associate with black people at all).

I don’t recall Mike’s actual position on that, but most people would point out that:

  1. Being black is determined at birth regardless of decisions made.
  2. It is literally impossible to choose to be black or not to be black.
  3. There is nothing about blacks that inherently gives a good reason to discriminate against them.
  4. Outside of skin color, there does not appear to be any statistically significant differences between black people and non-black people.
  5. Serving black people is no different from serving white people.
  6. The only difference in reputation that might stem from someone choosing to serve black people vs. refusing to would be that the latter would be seen as a racist.

And some other points that I may have forgotten.

Basically, a place of public accommodation refusing to serve someone based on race is an exception to the freedom of association, just like how speech meant to and actually inciting imminent lawless action is an exception to freedom of speech. It is also a limited exception that has limited extensions (adding in sex, gender, sexuality, disability, and religion as factors and adding in employment decisions) rather than being particularly broad.

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TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Point of order

Specifically, it was vitiligo.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_and_appearance_of_Michael_Jackson

Put simply, he chose to use makeup and potentially skin-lightening treatments to cover the uneven patches of color that vitiligo creates. By his own words, he was not trying to be "white."

I say this to forefend anyone trying to technicality the "didn’t choose to be white" statement by bhull. Michael chose to have a uniform skin appearance. That’s it.

bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Point of order

Yes, thank you. That’s exactly what I meant.

I actually learned about this from a friend who has the same condition (vitiligo). It really changed how I saw MJ.

Plus, most people look at who is and who isn’t “black” based at least in part on ancestry, which you simply cannot change at all and never will be able to change at all even with hypothetical treatments that change one’s natural skin color, along with the natural skin color. Also, I’m pretty sure there’s a stigma against people who change their skin color, too.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: First Principles ?

"However, I strongly doubt you accept freedom-of-association as a basic principle of society (e.g., you fully accept the use of government force to compel private restaurant owners to serve black customers even though some owners do not want to associate with black people at all)."

You know how we can tell you’ve got an axe to grind here, for which you aren’t adverse to moving the goal posts and propping up a straw man or two, bro? Lack of context.

I’ll give you a hint though. It’s not the same in much the same way skin color has no legal bearing on whether a killing is rules "murder" or "self-defense".

Or I can spell it out for you; You are not allowed to refuse any customer based on what they are. Only on what they do.

If your hypothetical restaurant guests are violating the dress code, the code of conduct, or bothering the other patrons then out they go, no matter what their skin color is.

Now, should we understand your question as meaning that you do think "Being Brown" is in itself an act rightfully considered offensive or are you truly at the kindergarten level it would take to honestly bring that comparison to the table?

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mermaldad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Let go of my Knee, Jerk

Sorry, but Mike’s intro tempted me to think of the most extreme example of a kneejerk reaction. I guess that this was intended to be humorous was not evident enough. I’m actually guilty of use of contractions to the point of overuse myself.

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RandoMan says:

If a company is honest and even, I don’t think you would see such an outpouring of anger.

AWS choosing to work with twitter and booting parlor because of hateful comments seems hypocritical.

PARLOR could be another stormfront level of trash while Twitter has many of the same hate filled/hurtful/angry posts.

If two buddies have continually keyed cars and you suddenly stop talking to one but not the other because of it. The reasoning seems hollow in many ways.

I don’t think as many people would care about Parlor being booted if they believed twitter would get the same treatment.

If the argument is that twitter is more active at curbing posts, maybe? They also make more money and have had years to clean up their platform. Even with that, to this day, there are still issues on twitter.

AWS, in my opinion has the right to boot whom ever they choose. Just don’t pretend to be the good guy by not sleeping with one bad guy for another.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

"AWS choosing to work with twitter and booting parlor because of hateful comments seems hypocritical. "

afaik, the two are not the same.
Twitter was moderating the hate while Parler was banning what it did not like. How are these two comparable?

Treating completely separate issues in a separate fashion is not hypocritical.

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RandoMan says:

Re: Re: Re:

Twitter has had, does have and will have issues moderating content. There are only so many ways to police on the internet. I won’t give twitter stuff about that.

Parlor, to my understanding, would moderate. Slower yes, after reports yes.

ISIS was on twitter recruiting and working on their brand. Im sure twitter went after many of those accounts. But like a game of walk a mole, they kept popping up.

I don’t fault twitter for not being able to knock them out right away. I don’t doubt government official’s requested that twitter leave ISIS tweets up in order to try and track people.

But that same argument could be made by Parlor. A new, by comparison, company that has had growing pains no different then an early twitter.

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Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Parlor, to my understanding, would moderate. Slower yes, after reports yes.

And when Amazon told them to clean up their act it didn’t really spur Parler into action to do something about it. If one of your critical suppliers tells you that your service breaches the contract, perhaps the smart thing would be to allocate more resources to deal with the moderation issue.

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Appreciative user (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I’ve listened to an interview with the ceo of Parler and the way you are presenting things seems very different han reality

Would it change your opinion at all if correspondence was released and it turns out the characterization was wrong and AWS has been supportive of them almost the entire time? That when aws gave the ban threat, it came out of the blue, and nothing parler could have done would allow them to stay (since ultimately it was a political decision behind the facade)

Or would that just move the goal posts to: well aws is a private company?

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TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

The goal posts have never moved: AWS is a private company and has the legal right to do what they did. The only question is whether we criticize them for it.

If you actually have correspondence of that nature, it could well change how AWS’ actions are viewed. However, I note that you have not actually provided said correspondence, so I must operate under the assumption that it remains a hypothetical (aka, does not exist).

Since there does exist actual shared correspondence indicating that the AWS Trust and Safety Team was warning Parler for months about breaches of contract, the narrative you present does not mesh with reality, and so will not be considered.

TL;DR: Present the evidence, or be ignored.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"I’ve listened to an interview with the ceo of Parler and the way you are presenting things seems very different han reality"

You listened to the most biased source possible and you accept that as the unvarnished reality of the situation?

"AWS has been supportive of them almost the entire time"

AWS are supportive of most startups, I’ve worked for a couple of them. But, when you’ve ignored 26,000 requests to take down content that violates AWS standards and a major news story appears that risks business from other, more signifiant, users of AWS, you can expect their stance to change.

"it came out of the blue"

No, it didn’t. Amazon have stated in court documents that they ignored requests for months and had a huge number of complaints in violation of their T&Cs outstanding at the time they removed their service.

"Or would that just move the goal posts to: well aws is a private company?"

There’s no moving of goalposts, except from the people at Parler desperately trying to pretend they’re innocent. AWS have T&Cs, which were violated. Parler have no right to use their service if they violate the conditions. AWS have a large number of competitors, both inside and outside of the cloud infrastructure market, and Parler can set up their infrastructure without using the cloud if that’s not available. There is no actual problem here, except that a company that violated its main supplier’s terms of service is too incompetent (or unwilling) to move to a different supplier.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"Twitter has had, does have and will have issues moderating content."

I’m not reading anything to the contrary, here or elsewhere. Agreed – no one is perfect.

I pointed out that twitter was moderating hate while parler was banning what it disliked.

"Parlor, to my understanding, would moderate. Slower yes, after reports yes."

I read such claims are in dispute, what mattered was what AWS thought about it.

"game of walk a mole"

The game is whack a mole, although I suppose one could walk a mole.

Arguing that parler leaving posts up so that the feds can more easily track them is a bit silly no?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I pointed out that twitter was moderating hate while parler was banning what it disliked.

You’ve nailed the crux of the problem without recognizing it. "Moderating hate" versus "banning what it dislikes" are exactly the same thing but from different ideological perspectives. A huge number of Americans truly believe that Twitter is "banning what it dislikes" and that Parler "moderated hate".

This is entirely an issue of perspective. The difference, and the reason Parler and its supporters are losing this fight, is that the other side is currently in power. Personally, I believe the correct group is in power and that it is likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Right-wing talking points are becoming less popular as the boomer generation dies off and younger Americans age into positions of power. That ultra-conservatives are throwing fits is not surprising; everyone lashes out once threatened with extinction.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"Moderating hate" versus "banning what it dislikes" are exactly the same thing but from different ideological perspectives.

How do you come up with that equality? What it dislikes can include moderate non violent viewpoints or the love of cats, while hate is well defined as an antagonistic viewpoint against people, and politics.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"This is entirely an issue of perspective"

Perhaps, but even if you’re correct – so what? Despite the whining of the losers here, there’s no law that says that a platform provider has to be neutral. That’s a main issue here – even if both platforms were cherry picking, there’s nothing to say they couldn’t, it’s just that the audience on Parler were more open to particular… cherries than people who used Twitter.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I don’t disagree at all. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough in my post but I wasn’t addressing whether moderation should or should not be done, only that any possible resolution of this whole argument hinges on everyone understanding that what one person thinks is absolute truth is a complete falsehood to another, purely based on perspective.

Platforms can and should moderate based on their views and beliefs. Doing so, regardless of which side of the argument you fall on, doesn’t automatically make you right and the other person wrong. But expressing a minority opinion, even as "fact", is not protected from being shut down by the majority. You know, that whole 1A thing, the right to speak but not the right to be heard (or supported).

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

"any possible resolution of this whole argument hinges on everyone understanding that what one person thinks is absolute truth is a complete falsehood to another, purely based on perspective"

Oh, I certainly agree there. Which is why it’s probably more important that platforms have the leeway to apply their own community standards, rather than have some top down mandate that would force the to host content against their will. The idea that a community cannot kick out troublesome members is a bigger problem than those less popular members having to make the choice between self-censorship or having to find a less popular venue.

With what might be a dated analogy in numerous ways – if I want to watch the uncut Cannibal Holocaust on the big screen, the correct response to that is to find a small arthouse venue that wants to work with me and my guests, not to demand that AMC do a wide release across their entire estate because I think I have the same rights as the latest Marvel movie for eyeballs.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

"everyone understanding that what one person thinks is absolute truth is a complete falsehood to another, purely based on perspective."

Understood, but not applicable everywhere. Somethings need to be agreed upon to be facts.

For example, gravity is just a theory.
If I jump off this cliff, I will fall. That is not usually disputed and neither is the fact that one may become injured as a result.

It seems that lately society has crossed a line in their gullibility and willingness to accept and believe total bullshit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"You’ve nailed the crux of the problem without recognizing it. "Moderating hate" versus "banning what it dislikes" are exactly the same thing but from different ideological perspectives. A huge number of Americans truly believe that Twitter is "banning what it dislikes" and that Parler "moderated hate"."

Under this scenario, one is unable to identify the hate by others unless it is something you also hate? Or am I reading too much into this?

I was probably not entirely clear when making the prior comment regarding moderation vs ban, but your response was informative in that I now understand some people have more difficulty than others recognizing hate.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Under this scenario, one is unable to identify the hate by others unless it is something you also hate? Or am I reading too much into this?

That might be a bit of an extreme way to interpret that but yes, to some extent. An example:

My grandmother was raised in rural Missouri and still lives there. For her, growing up included calling black people "negros", "black-face" was ok and blacks were expected to submit to the will of any whites that might be around. She still behaves that way. She doesn’t at all recognize how shocking her behavior is to someone younger visiting from the west coast.

A more modern example is the cadre of Trumpists. They believe everything he says, take every word at face value and trust in it no matter how wrong it may be. They may have heard the term "racism" but they’ve been told there is no racism in America today and they believe that. To them, racist thoughts and deeds are not racist, not hate in any way, shape or form because "racism doesn’t exist". Instead, they think that people telling them they’re being racist is the real hate crime — others are discriminating against them. So they react with more hate toward their detractors and still don’t see it as hate.

Hate is the easiest thing to identify no matter your ideology or political leaning and yet many, many people from all points on the spectrum fail to recognize their own personal biases, fail to see the bigger picture and fail to view things from others’ viewpoints. I’m not saying all viewpoints are "correct", only that until we can all become capable of putting ourselves in the shoes of those we disagree with this supposed "anti-conservative" argument will never be resolved. We’ll just continue flailing at each other, accomplishing nothing but further division.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

"I’m not saying all viewpoints are "correct", only that until we can all become capable of putting ourselves in the shoes of those we disagree with this supposed "anti-conservative" argument will never be resolved. We’ll just continue flailing at each other, accomplishing nothing but further division."

The division is unfixable, and has been for some time.

To sit at the same table is possible for only 70% of the US voting citizenry.
The remaining 30% refuse to sit down and talk until their viewpoints are recognized – those viewpoints being George Floyd not being murdered, Evolution being a lie, being homosexual is an abomination, the N-word is perfectly OK, Charlottesville was all the fault of the damn leftist liberals, the election was stolen by the child-trafficking satanist antifans led by Hillary, and Biden is The Devil.

You base your whole assumption on the concept that there are two adults in the room, able to set aside their differences and find common ground. That this is not the case here has been made obviously manifest.

To 74 million americans naked and obvious white supremacy and bigotry is not a deal-breaker. How do even debate that? Where do you find the common ground with people like the ones who would look at a man being slowly choked to death on camera and relish the fact that another animal – i.e. a person with black skin – was removed from the soil of white america?

You can not argue with stupid. This generation of people taught to disbelieve facts, disbelieve evidence, disbelieve logic and disbelieve science in favor of what they get told by some authoritarian wearing an elephant button…they’re lost.
All you can do is suppress them and put your hopes in that they haven’t managed to raise their children to be as willfully and stubbornly dumb.
Or you can try to put up with them for long enough that you’ll instead have to face them across the barrel of a gun, like the last time the US failed to act appropriately.

The storming of the capitol wasn’t the end of this. It was just the sound of the fuse being lit. Biden will have to deal with the fallout of everything Trump has messed up or broken. His presidency is going to be about nonstop firefighting at monumental expense. Come 2024, barring a miracle, the GOP will be back with another candidate set to appease Trump’s base. Pray hard it’s not going to be a Bohemian Corporal.

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Speaking as someone who’s tried, it’s rarely successful.

On a related note, it would appear to be the case that alt-rightists and Trump supporters think the left look down on them because we think they’re stupid. The problem is that leftists calling them stupid (or ignorant and stubborn, which a lot of conservatives seem to thing is equivalent to being called stupid, which it isn’t) is, to liberals, a charitable way of looking at it because the alternatives would be far worse, like “evil”, “fascist”, “liar”, etc.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Supporting X because of being fooled vs Supporting X by choice

That’s basically how I see it when dealing with that lot, yeah. As a lengthy comment a good while back basically put it ‘If people are calling you(Trump supporters) stupid and/or gullible that’s them giving you the benefit of the doubt, because the alternatives are much worse.’

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Supporting X because of being fooled vs Supporting X by choi

"…because the alternatives are much worse.’"

It’s not hard to understand the alt-right doesn’t want to talk to anyone who takes factual reality at face value. At some point you just need to realize that there is no way to debate, argue, or even agree to disagree with someone with whom you need to do actual violence to your own sense of proportion or principle to even be around;
Your gay friend? A sinful abomination its quite ok to beat and demonize.
That black man driving through the neighborhood? A <N-word> looking for children to molest or houses to rob.
A pro-choice advocate? A child-killer.
A black man choked to death on camera? An officer of the law doing their job.

There is no common ground here. We’re talking about 74 million americans who, upon observing reality, rewrite it to fit the narrative they have running on repeat in their heads. In no few cases compounded by an utter lack of empathy and/or the idea that it doesn’t matter how much something will hurt them if it also hurts liberals. A whole generation so indoctrinated to hate and react it’s literally a religion where the articles of faith can’t be cast in doubt.

And yeah. Most of the time the 70% of the US citizenry which isn’t fucking nuts does give them the benefit of doubt and call them stupid or ignorant, as if showing them the facts just one more time would cure that. It won’t. That excuse’s worn mighty thin by now.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Supporting X because of being fooled vs Supporting X by

It’s been said that if you’re used to a position of privilege, then any attempt at equality seems like oppression.

That’s probably what we’re seeing here – people who have been told that they’re special coming to realise that they’re not.

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TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Supporting X because of being fooled vs Supporting X by

To put a different spin on things: the only effective way I see to pulling someone out of alt-right shitholes, aside from the occasional rare epiphany, is personal action with those you actually know.

I have a few members of extended family who are towards this line. I and my family can take it upon ourselves to keep personal lines of communication open with them and with enough persistence perhaps make progress with them.

This has zero to do with interacting with rando right-wing fanatics on the internet, and has nothing to do with allowing a platform for the bullshit to be spread. It’s got nothing to do with forcing that type of interaction on the rest of people. My family’s choice to interact with the Trumpists in the family is our own, done out of a hope of redemption (however faint it might be).

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RandoMan says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Yo, cut me some slack on the spelling please, lol.

Don’t be a grammer German.

The fed comment was brought up in regards to twitter leaving ISIS posts up. (I was suggesting that maybe the government agencies might have requested that ISIS post be left up for some reason.) Basically cutting Twitter some slack on not cleaning up everything.

That doesn’t mean I’m for tech giants bending over for government agencies.

At the end of the day AWS can/should do what it wants. Whatever contracts were made should be held too.

I’m just saying, "don’t fart in my face and call it a summer breeze."

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"Parlor, to my understanding, would moderate. Slower yes, after reports yes."

My understanding is that Parler’s volunteers would quickly remove left-leaning posts, but would refuse to deal with right-wing content, to the point where they has 26,000 open complains via Amazon at the time they were removed for ignoring requests to deal with the latter content.

That’s a different argument to the one about sheer numbers or the difficulty of moderating accurately at a massive scale – a scale at which Twitter and Facebook shared but Parler did not.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Twitter was allowed to have growing pains and sort them out. Parler is not.

And that’s largely because Parler is a “Twitter-like”. Anyone wanting to be the next Twitter (or Twitter-like) should already know the issues that plague Twitter and have an idea of how their service will handle it. One of those issues is moderation. Parler admins didn’t have a plan for that beyond “ban liberals on sight”.