Justice Thomas Goes Weird Again; Suggests Twitter Can't Moderate & Section 230 Violates 1st Amendment

from the supreme-Quart-justice dept

Today was a weird one for Justice Thomas. Along with his bizarre and confusing dissent in the Oracle/Google case, he has done another one of his random walks down conspiracy theory nonsense lane on an unbriefed issue in which he gets to, once again, attack the 1st Amendment. He’s done this a few times now. Two years ago he did this in writing an unprovoked attack on the 1st Amendment regarding NY Times v. Sullivan. Last year, he did it with an unprovoked and bizarre attack on Section 230. And now he’s done it again.

Today, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal on the Knight 1st Amendment Center case, in which both the District Court and the Appeals Court made it clear that when a government official, using social media in an official capacity, allows replies on a posting (such as a tweet), they are creating a public forum in that space, and therefore cannot engage in viewpoint discrimination — including blocking individuals for speech they disagree with.

A bunch of very confused and clueless people have (incorrectly) taken to arguing that this somehow means that Twitter itself is a “public forum” and cannot moderate content. That has always been very, very wrong. The courts were clear that they were only talking about the space beneath a public official’s statements. The simplest way to think of it is this: If the government rents out an event hall to let the President give a speech, it cannot engage in viewpoint discrimination in blocking people from coming into the hall to hear the speech. That does not mean the event hall itself is now permanently a public forum, or that the event hall owners cannot block people they have banned from their property from attending the speech, or any other events.

And, basically, the argument has stayed with very confused and clueless people… until today, when Justice Thomas decided to put it front and center. It’s hard to state how ridiculous this is. Not for the first time, Justice Thomas seems to have become the old cranky uncle who believes in conspiracy theory nonsense. Everything about what he writes here would fit more neatly into a Breitbart comment section or an OANN rant. That it’s coming from a Supreme Court Justice is just crazy. Let’s break this down bit by bit.

Respondents have a point, for example, that some aspects of Mr. Trump?s account resemble a constitutionally protected public forum. But it seems rather odd to say that something is a government forum when a private company has unrestricted authority to do away with it.

Again, it does not seem odd at all. It’s how it usually works. It’s how it works in my example above, when the government makes use of a private forum. Private forums have their own property rights, in the same way that, say, a private baker can choose not to print a message it disagrees with on a cake, but the government itself could not write a law preventing that baker from printing protected messages on cakes. The whole nature of our Constitution is kinda based on the fact that the government has limited authority. It’s bizarre that Thomas argues it’s “rather odd” to say that the government has less authority than private entities. That’s how it’s always been.

The disparity between Twitter?s control and Mr. Trump?s control is stark, to say the least. Mr. Trump blocked several people from interacting with his messages. Twitter barred Mr. Trump not only from interacting with a few users, but removed him from the entire platform, thus barring all Twitter users from interacting with his messages

Again, this is exactly how it has always worked. A private building owner can choose not to rent to the President to give a speech. But if they do rent, the President cannot block attendees based on their viewpoints. This isn’t difficult.

Thomas then goes on a long Fox News-style rant about how the big internet companies have too much power, and that the Supreme Court will need to rule on that at some point. He suggests — again, despite no briefing or oral arguments on this matter, but clearly influenced by nutty conspiracy theorists — that it could be argued that sites like Twitter are common carriers or subject to public accommodation rules. Again, this is heard quite frequently among the conspiracy theory Trumpist set, but no serious legal analysis has suggested this is even remotely accurate.

The long history in this country and in England of restricting the exclusion right of common carriers and places of public accommodation may save similar regulations today from triggering heightened scrutiny?especially where a restriction would not prohibit the company from speaking or force the company to endorse the speech. See Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. v. FCC, 512 U. S. 622, 684 (1994) (O?Connor, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part); PruneYard Shopping Center v. Robins, 447 U. S. 74, 88 (1980). There is a fair argument that some digital platforms are sufficiently akin to common carriers or places of accommodation to be regulated in this manner.

In many ways, digital platforms that hold themselves out to the public resemble traditional common carriers. Though digital instead of physical, they are at bottom communications networks, and they ?carry? information from one user to another. A traditional telephone company laid physical wires to create a network connecting people. Digital platforms lay information infrastructure that can be controlled in much the same way. And unlike newspapers, digital platforms hold themselves out as organizations that focus on distributing the speech of the broader public. Federal law dictates that companies cannot ?be treated as the publisher or speaker? of information that they merely distribute. 110 Stat. 137, 47 U. S. C. ?230(c)

The analogy to common carriers is even clearer for digital platforms that have dominant market share. Similar to utilities, today?s dominant digital platforms derive much of their value from network size. The Internet, of course, is a network. But these digital platforms are networks within that network. The Facebook suite of apps is valuable largely because 3 billion people use it. Google search?at 90% of the market share?is valuable relative to other search engines because more people use it, creating data that Google?s algorithm uses to refine and improve search results. These network effects entrench these companies. Ordinarily, the astronomical profit margins of these platforms?last year, Google brought in $182.5 billion total, $40.3 billion in net income?would induce new entrants into the market. That these companies have no comparable competitors highlights that the industries may have substantial barriers to entry.

There’s a hidden dig at Section 230 at the end of that second paragraph above — though one that completely misunderstand the nature of 230 and falsely suggests that it was intended to make these platforms act like common carriers (which is the exact opposite of the stated intention of the drafters of 230).

There’s also a weird (and confusing) dig at Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page & Sergey Brin — claiming (incorrectly) that Zuckerberg has full control over Facebook and Brin & Page control all of Google.

To be sure, much activity on the Internet derives value from network effects. But dominant digital platforms are different. Unlike decentralized digital spheres, such as the e-mail protocol, control of these networks is highly concentrated. Although both companies are public, one person controls Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg), and just two control Google (Larry Page and Sergey Brin). No small group of people controls e-mail.

That’s… not quite right. There is, again, a kernel of truth in the idea that siloed services are different than protocol-based distributed services. That’s a point I make all the damn time. But the conclusion elides (1) how protocols are actually managed and (2) how much control those three individuals actually have. It is true that those three have special voting power over their shares, but that does not give them the level of control that Thomas suggests. This also ignores the fact that in the last few years — despite Thomas’ claims — we have seen competitors springing up over and over again.

Then we get to the bit that is getting a ton of attention today. Thomas argues in a footnote that Section 230 itself might violate the 1st Amendment. We first saw this insane argument — and debunked it — a few months ago. It has no basis in reality. Yet here’s Thomas:

For similar reasons, some commentators have suggested that immunity provisions like ?230 could potentially violate the First Amendment to the extent those provisions pre-empt state laws that protect speech from private censorship. See Volokh, Might Federal Preemption of SpeechProtective State Laws Violate the First Amendment? The Volokh Conspiracy, Reason, Jan. 23, 2021. According to that argument, when a State creates a private right and a federal statute pre-empts that state law, ?the federal statute is the source of the power and authority by which any private rights are lost or sacrificed.? Railway Employees v. Hanson, 351 U. S. 225, 232 (1956); accord, Skinner v. Railway Labor Executives? Assn., 489 U. S. 602, 614?615 (1989).

There are all sorts of oddities here. First, the citation of Eugene Volokh’s piece entitled Might Federal Preemption of Speech-Protective State Laws Violate the First Amendment?. Not that I’m against the Supreme Court randomly citing smart blog posts from thoughtful commentators, but it’s still… a little weird. And if you actually read Volokh’s piece, which itself is a response to the Vivek Ramaswamy and Jed Rubenfeld Wall Street Journal op-ed that I mentioned above, it seems fairly skeptical of the idea that 230 could possibly violate the 1st Amendment. Instead, it’s trying to set out the strongest possible argument for that, which Volokh seems to make reluctantly for the sake of argument, noting multiple times that he doesn’t necessarily agree with it, and it relies on a Supreme Court ruling that he believes is incorrect.

But the biggest oddity of all is… what the fuck is he actually trying to say here? His argument is that 230 might be unconstitutional because it might “pre-empt state laws that protect speech from private censorship.” Beyond putting a shiny gloss on Volokh’s argument, private censorship is allowed. That’s kind of important. I mean, Thomas wrote a whole concurrence in the Masterpiece Bakeshop case arguing this very point… in the other direction.

Either way, this is now the third time in which Justice Thomas has randomly mused about free speech in a way that seems designed to attack social media and in line with the nutty conspiracy theories seen on Fox News/OANN/Breitbart. It’s almost as if he’s living in a weird alternative reality bubble and disconnected from the real world. While he mentions it in passing in his weird dissent, he might want to actually reread the Halleck decision which he signed onto, and which makes it quite clear that private companies can moderate content how they see fit on their platforms.

Unfortunately, though, as with his last two random outbursts on these issues, it’s likely we’re going to see lots of confused and ignorant people citing Thomas’ random unbriefed musings as proof that their nonsense has legitimacy.

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Comments on “Justice Thomas Goes Weird Again; Suggests Twitter Can't Moderate & Section 230 Violates 1st Amendment”

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85 Comments
ECA (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I wonder if any of these people have ever seen a Kindergarten room, full of kids given a choice of something to do, WITH NO GUIDANCE from teachers.

Anyone with abit of past history on the net and forums, Will tell you how bad it used to be. Including CompuServe and Prodigy and a few others.

Has anyone ever Not seen a forum thats been hit by Spam? Or a person that would not change their mind, given 1000 ways to disprove his opinion.
Anyone know a person who thinks Magic done on stage is REAL, or pro Wrestling(most isnt real)

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

I wish I could say I was surprised by this, but Republicans/conservatives have been the political party of “free speech for me but not for thee” for a good long while. I would bet on seeing a significant number of future lower court rulings from Trump appointees that reflect such an ethos.

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Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I wish I could say I was surprised by this, but Republicans/conservatives have been the political party of “free speech for me but not for thee” for a good long while.

Usually not at the Supreme Court level, though; the Roberts Court has taken a pretty expansive interpretation of the 1A.

Thomas used to be a pretty reliable part of those decisions, too. His more recent musings about curtailing free speech seem like something of a change from his earlier positions.

crade (profile) says:

"pre-empt state laws that protect speech from private censorship. "

"Private censorship" is pretty clearly a form of private speech.. and yeah the government can’t force your church to allow sermons by muslims in the interest of forcing neutrality or whatever if the church owners don’t want to.
and yeah, the first amendment pre-empts such state laws. That wut it for right? I would expect this stuff to be visceral level for any conservative

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Thus the scare quotes.. It’s "I won’t have that in my house".. Whatever you call it, just a decision by a private entity about their own actions and hard earned property I guess..

Certain things I feel trigger my conservative instincts and certain things trigger liberal ones, but these attempts to paint this sort of crap as conservative just piss me off.. Even if I don’t agree with how everyone uses em, people gotta have some base amount of freedom in their lives that the government doesn’t fuck with right? If you don’t draw the line at deciding what you support or don’t support with your own efforts where can you draw it?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

these attempts to paint this sort of crap as conservative just piss me off

Conservatives are the political faction that have more heavily pushed for the revoking/reform of Section 230, and they have done so out of a feigned concern about “censorship” that smokescreens their “we’re mad that we can’t be bigots on Twitter” grievances. Liberals/progressives might have issues with 230, but they’re not out here trying to say Twitter doesn’t have a right to moderate speech.

If’n you don’t like which group is being castigated as “the opponents of free speech, free association, and private property rights”, that sucks for you. But the only ones who can fix that problem is the castigaed group in question. I can’t snap my fingers and make this reality any less real.

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crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It’s not the liberals painting the conservatives as opponents of free speech and property rights that bothers me, thats what I’m doing 🙂 It’s the so called conservatives painting what they are doing as being backed by "conservative values" that bothers me..

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

This is why i sometimes use the "not really" quotes when mentioning "conservatives". A big part of the issue is that modern conservatism in the States, writ large, is big-tent conservatism. This is very much on purpose, and certainly is as at least as old as the Southern Strategy. Then there was Reagan. Now we have … whatever the actual hell you call this current absurd mess.

There’s this supposed core of conservatism that means "yeah more like the original Constitutional intent" but even the original conservatives were lying or self-deceptive about that. No it means every sort of social, political, economic, and religious conservatism all rolled into one. This includes mutually contradictory versions. But most want to conserve an entirely imaginary thing form imaginary pasts via methods which have never, ever worked for their stated goals. Some – i have no idea, they are just along for the weird ride since they started believing shit that other self-declared conservatives spew. They do not apparently hold any (or cannot articulate any) traditional political conservative core beliefs. (The beliefs which were crazy radical when the country was being founded.)

Another part of the issue is the poorly-defined conservative – liberal spectrum end being assigned to two parties in a two-party system. Wasn’t always that way so much. Actually, it isn’t even now, as there are plenty of conservative Democrats, even if there are nearly zero Republicans who are "liberal" in some area. But all Democrats are complete "leftists" for some reason. Like the workers should control the means of production or something. I guess. Or maybe "liberal" or "progressive" or "left" is merely externally defined by not being far enough to whatever is considered "the right". Currently that looks like pro- monarch / dictator for a religious ethnostate sort of level of conservatism, where everyone is free because authoritarianism. It all makes sense!

I miss the charming economic lies and light racism of William F. Buckley Jr. Those were the days. He was even mildly funny.

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crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I don’t think big tent is really a bad thing, but your big tent should be about trying to find common ground and compromises to join together and act on the lowest common denominator actions that will benefit the whole tent not about pretending that everyone in the big tent has to believe everything everyone else in the tent believes and everyone in the tent has to "stand together" to get every horrible thing anyone throws out forced on everyone even if it’s completely against their values.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

"Now we have … whatever the actual hell you call this current absurd mess."

Thinly veiled bigotry and a yearning back to simpler times when men were real white men, women were helming the kitchen, and the brown dudes were in the fields of the plantation?

The modern US "conservatives" really aren’t. Those who would be recognizable as such from the Eisenhower era are, today, moderate democrats. The southern strategy gradually drove out every "normal" conservative as the party began aligning more toward keeping whitey on top rather than the old message of fiscal and legislative conservatism.

The republicans used to be the party putting faith in science and mistrusting religion. It was once upon a time the birthplace of liberalism and egalitarianism. That all ended when Reagan and later on Bush put the last stones on the work begun by Nixon and Goldwater.

"No it means every sort of social, political, economic, and religious conservatism all rolled into one. This includes mutually contradictory versions."

In political philosophy what they have now is called millennialism. The belief that in the days of yore people were "purer" and grander, society was fairer, and no one knew want in the land of milk and honey. The belief that this mythical era all ended because of <insert scapegoat here> and that the chosen few now have to roll the clock back to simpler times, possibly by way of a götterdämmerung or "war to end all wars".

Essentially the modern-day US conservatives operate by the same core principles which radicalized and empowered the original nazis. They just lack the trappings – or perhaps not so much given that they couldn’t even keep nazi designs out of their latest CPAC, the speaker’s stage of which garnered comments re it’s odd design until it was identified as the "Odal" rune worn by the nazi SS. That rune meaning "Heritage".

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

[Addendum]

And no one can tell me it’s just coincidence the republican CPAC used, as speaker’s stage, a rune symbol worn by the particular SS division responsible for guarding racial purity.

It’s even the version of the rune with wings. The republican speakers might as well have been addressing the crowd from on top of a swastika.

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Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re:

and yeah, the first amendment pre-empts such state laws. That wut it for right?

No, prior to the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, legal precedent held that the Bill of Rights only restricted the federal government, not the states. The legal doctrine establishing that (among other things) the First Amendment restricts the states is called incorporation, and it only goes back about a hundred years.

You may be unsurprised to learn that Thomas has a more restrictive view of incorporation than the other justices on the court.

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Tom T says:

Re: Re:

Then they can give up their section 230 immunity. Section 230 is a qualified immunity. If we read ‘otherwise objectionable’ as catch all as some courts have done then it becomes an unqualified immunity. Right now we have courts going both ways on this but it looks more and more like the SCOTUS will not come down on the side of a broad reading of section 230. After all ‘overly broad’ is one of the key factors the court uses in declaring a law illegal.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

And, basically, the argument has stayed with very confused and clueless people… until today, when Justice Thomas decided to put it front and center.

No, from the looks of it it’s still mostly confined to people falling into those categories, it’s just those categories now get to count a supreme court justice in their number.

Beyond putting a shiny gloss on Volokh’s argument, private censorship is allowed. That’s kind of important. I mean, Thomas wrote a whole concurrence in the Masterpiece Bakeshop case arguing this very point… in the other direction.

And like that he played his hand, and showed himself to be yet another ‘free speech only counts for speech I agree with’ hypocrite. I wish that lot would get the guts and honesty to just outright admit it rather than tiptoeing around, but I suppose their actions are as much honesty on the subject as can be expected of such hypocritical people.

ECA (profile) says:

Re:

I wonder if any of these people have ever seen a Kindergarten room, full of kids given a choice of something to do, WITH NO GUIDANCE from teachers.

Anyone with abit of past history on the net and forums, Will tell you how bad it used to be. Including CompuServe and Prodigy and a few others.

Has anyone ever Not seen a forum thats been hit by Spam? Or a person that would not change their mind, given 1000 ways to disprove his opinion.
Anyone know a person who thinks Magic done on stage is REAL, or pro Wrestling(most isnt real)

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Anonymous Coward says:

Two years ago he did this in writing an unprovoked attack on the 1st Amendment regarding NY Times v. Sullivan.

Not at all. He was attacking the expansionist view of the 1st Amendment conjured into existence by the Supreme Court in that case that upended centuries of precedent not only in the USA but in the British common law that inspired the Bill of Rights, that consistently held that defamation is not and never has been protected speech. It certainly wasn’t considered as such by the people who wrote the First Amendment!

And Thomas’s writing was not "unprovoked" in the least; the media has been provoking this ever since the Sullivan decision was handed down, abusing it to lie about people and assassinate their character with impunity because Sullivan bars their victims from their First Amendment right to petition the government for redress!

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nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

that case that upended centuries of precedent… that consistently held that defamation is not and never has been protected speech.

It did no such thing. Rather, it redefined the standard necessary to prove defamation of a public figure. Defamation is still not protected speech, but there are some things that might have been defamation before the decision and not after it.

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

That running gag of mine comes to mind.

Once upon a time humans used to put elders on ice floes & set them adrift to protect the tribe from people who would listen to the elder even when it was clear the elder was insane.

We hate to see it but can we be honest for a second?
He is the same age group as millions of citizens who hand over billions of dollars to scammers who call them & scare them into paying.
Our "leadership" skews heavily into the demographic who can’t open a PDF without assistance, yet we listen to their views of tech they’ve never used themselves?

Yeah I don’t think we need 20 somethings on SCOTUS, but my FSM can we get people still attached to reality?

Thomas screaming how gay marriage was wrong because people didn’t like it… Loving v. Virginia wasn’t well liked by people either but here we are with a sitting black SCOTUS Justice married to a QANON infected white woman claiming teh gays getting married caused all of these ills to society that could have just been copypastaed from people screaming about Loving.

What would the nation look like today if we hadn’t reelected people who thought decorum & the right thing would make the other side put the country first over their political ambitions?

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Possibly better, once you manage to dump an incumbent for failing to put the voters first you’d be shocked to see how the replacement will do their best to keep the voters happy with things beyond the same old talking points.

I mean its not like we’ve spent way more time on trying to pass laws to stop abortion from happening while ignoring the water supply in many places that is poisoning children.
Or looked closer at cancer clusters striking children.

But then unborn are a great demographic,
they require nothing
you don’t have to ever do anything for them
people will blindly support you

nasch (profile) says:

Preemption

For similar reasons, some commentators have suggested that immunity provisions like §230 could potentially violate the First Amendment to the extent those provisions pre-empt state laws that protect speech from private censorship.

Um… isn’t that exactly how it’s supposed to work? Federal law preempts state law. If a state has a law that is contradicted by a federal law, the state law is effectively void.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Preemption

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

My understanding is the supremacy clause extends to statute because of Congress’ constitutional power to make law. So the 10th would not apply, because it is in fact a power delegated to the United States by the Constitution.

Anonymous Coward says:

So close to understanding

This is incredible… you see that there’s understanding that platforms and protocols are different sort of things

But dominant digital platforms are different. Unlike decentralized digital spheres, such as the e-mail protocol

… just need to take one more mental step:
an open platform is still owned (and operated) by some entity.
an open protocol can be operated by any entity (sufficient nerd-power is assumed) and is not necessarily owned by one.

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restless94110 (profile) says:

Pretzel

It was kind of fun for about 4 paragraphs reading you twist yourself into what they call pretzel logic.

You rent a hall and then some people come and so then that hall is not allowed to call itself a hall? Or a forum? Or whatever you decided it was? Or was not?

I didn’t read too much more but let me take a stab at your point: Anyone who is liberal and totalitarian can do anything he/she/it wants to do to anyone they don’t like, and then every one in the mob (i.e., corporations, celebs, mascots, schoolmarms, etc.) can then cancel anyone unless they agree?

And that is your grand vision of a new world? Hmm, maybe that hall you rented should be turned into a vegetarian market or something.

I don’t understand how anyone with even half a brain would support this line of thought.Don’t you see where this leads? Hint: it ain’t any place where the sun shines.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Pretzel

"Anyone who is liberal and totalitarian can do anything he/she/it wants to do to anyone they don’t like, and then every one in the mob (i.e., corporations, celebs, mascots, schoolmarms, etc.) can then cancel anyone unless they agree? "

That’s a long way to go around declaring that you think it unfair that the owner of property should be able to evict whoever the owner wants to evict from said property, especially when the terms of stay are clearly posted when you come in.

"It was kind of fun for about 4 paragraphs reading you twist yourself into what they call pretzel logic."

It only turns into a pretzel AFTER you decided to redefine and change what was said. But hey, Restless, after your pointed assertions about The Brown People I don’t think anyone here has missed which end of the political spectrum you’re posting from – so I don’t think anyone is very surprised that you started out by trying to move the goalposts and put up a strawman for cheap rhetoric tricks.

"I don’t understand how anyone with even half a brain would support this line of thought."

Given that "line of thought" is entirely a strawman of your own design probably no one does support it.

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Tom T says:

This entire piece is mind-numbing in its lack of self awareness. We get it. You are a tech guy and you complain endlessly that social media isn’t the same as phone, radio. I have degrees in electrical engineering, computer engineering, and computer science. I get it. But what you don’t get is that your technical jargon is largely immaterial and largely an argument about how many angles can fit on the head of a pin.

But as an electrical engineer I’m under the regulation of the state regulatory commission which regulates electrical utilities, telecoms, gas, water, waste disposal etc. I’m also under the regulation of the state licensing board which regulates Architecture, Land Surveying, and Engineering (All fields of engineering!).

He is what blows up your entire ignorant argument. As different as these things are they are enough alike that they all fall under the same regulatory framework and follow largely the same rules.

This is where you specialized knowledge makes you completely ignorant. You have lacked the ability to generalize and regulation is all about generalization.

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nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

As different as these things are they are enough alike that they all fall under the same regulatory framework and follow largely the same rules.

You’re saying that because electrical utilities and waste disposal can be regulated by the same body, therefore… what? Web sites should be regulated as common carriers? I don’t even get where you’re going with this.

This is where you specialized knowledge makes you completely ignorant.

Maybe your specialized knowledge has led you to believe that every field is like yours, and should be regulated in the same ways.

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Tom T says:

Re: Re: Re:

And BTW this isn’t a big government thing. There shouldn’t be regulatory boards and regulatory frameworks individualized for every single industry, field, sub-filed across the board. It would be a bureaucratic nightmare that would grind things to a halt.

Its a good thing that similar industries and professions are grouped together under large generalized frameworks. It keeps the regs simple and easy to follow and it limits the red tape.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You have named things that are regulated because mistakes can kill or injure innocent people directly. That consideration does not apply to social media, where you may as well talk about regulating conversation in pubs, clubs and cafes which are the nearest equivalent to social media.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"A hair dresser has to be licensed and fall under a boards regulations? Why is social media exempt?"

Because trying to "license" someone to be allowed to host a social gathering is something today only done in NK?
As I recall the old DDR tried to swing it but even they couldn’t manage.

Now, advocating that the state seize control over a social media platform for the sake of governing what speech the owner may or may not allow…that’s not even conservative anymore. It’s something advocated exclusively by modern Maoists and variants of Marxists…and of course, national socialists eager to not get thrown out for hollering the N-word or antisemitic slurs too loudly.

But you knew that.

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Tom T says:

"You’re saying that because electrical utilities and waste disposal can be regulated by the same body, therefore…"

I’m saying that they are regulated by the same body in the same general way. There is very little in separate regulations as it pertains to specific industries. We all operate under the same regulatory framework. When experts, who haven’t spend much time in their lives working in a regulated industry, this appears to be the case with Mr. Masnick, they tend to make the same arguments Mr. Masnick makes. But those really boil down to priests arguing over how many angels can fit on the head of a pin.

If electrical utility is as much like waste disposal that they can be regulated under the same framework and if a chemical engineer is as much like a land surveyor that they can be regulated under the same professional framework then social media is as much like telecom, radio, etc. to be regulated under the same regulatory framework.

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nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

When experts, who haven’t spend much time in their lives working in a regulated industry, this appears to be the case with Mr. Masnick, they tend to make the same arguments Mr. Masnick makes.

Argumentum ad hominem here. If the argument is flawed, you should be able to point out the flaws in the argument itself (which I notice you still have not done). Attacking the credentials or experience of the person making the argument is not appropriate and should not be necessary.

social media is as much like telecom, radio, etc. to be regulated under the same regulatory framework.

I can see how you might think since they’re both some kind of transmission of information that it would be appropriate to regulate them the same way. But there are quite significant differences as well.

https://www.publicknowledge.org/blog/what-makes-a-common-carrier-and-what-doesnt/

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"Why should social media get this special cut out that doesn’t apply anywhere else?"

Because free speech does indeed get a special cut out which doesn’t apply to any other form of commercial or regulatory oversight.

Why does 2A and the 5th get special cut-outs? Answer; Because they’re required to safeguard freedoms hence are not to be infringed upon by attempts to legislate away the rights of the citizenry. And the same applies to social media – the market gossip of the 21st century.

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Tom T says:

Re: Re: Re:

Anytime I hear dunning-kruger I know I’m talking to a bottom feeder. I do think its funny that people a theory that won an Ig Nobel prize, which is the scientific equivalent of a razzy award is somehow great science. I admit its funny and often time hilarious given the people who cite it are usually classic examples of it.

I’ve only been here for a day and its clear that this entire webpage is an example of nuthugging and a cult of personality. Mike is not a real expert on regulation. Not in the slightest. He has never worked in a profession that puts him under regulation. I doubt he has ever even had to work with a regulatory board. I’ve worked with dozens on all levels of government.

That’s why its clear to me that Mike is clueless when his fundamental argument is that because social media is not exactly like telecom it cant be regulated like telecom. If you have ever in your life worked in a regulated industry you know that is a profoundly ignorant argument.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"Anytime I hear dunning-kruger I know I’m talking to a bottom feeder."

Well, I suppose if you wanted to prove to everyone that you’re falling under that category that’s as good a way to do it as any. Dunning-kruger may not be good science but it’s certainly fit for the everyday use of describing someone who has a cognitive inability to realize their own inadequacy.

"I’ve only been here for a day and its clear that this entire webpage is an example of nuthugging and a cult of personality."

Says the man who spent what, a hundred posts trying to push false equivalences, bad faith arguments, moved goalposts and a bundle of other cheap rhetoric to peddle the view that a bar owner shouldn’t be free to evict unruly patrons. Or the online equivalent thereof.

"I’ve worked with dozens on all levels of government. "

Ah, yes…and an expert on IT, legislation, electronics, and no doubt, if the debate hinged upon it, particle physics. So lets add Arguing From Assumed Authority to the bad rhetoric.

"If you have ever in your life worked in a regulated industry you know that is a profoundly ignorant argument."

I think it’s safe to say that most of the people here have, in fact, worked in regulated industries, many of which have far higher restrictions and standards than telecommunications. You are literally standing in a crowd of pharmacologists peddling snake oil.

Better perhaps to go try that spiel on reddit where everyone isn’t someone who has familiarity with the subject.

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