Wired's Big 230 Piece Has A Narrative To Tell

from the not-great,-bob dept

I remember when Wired was the key magazine for understanding the potential of innovation. I subscribed all the way back in 1993 (not the first issue, but soon afterward, after a friend gave me a copy of their launch issue). Over the years, the magazine has gone through many changes, but I’m surprised at how much its outlook has changed. The latest example is a big cover story by reporter Gilad Edelman, basically arguing that people who support Section 230 are “wrong” and holding the law up as a “false idol.” The piece is behind a paywall, because of course it is.

I should note that, while I have disagreed with Edelman in the past (specifically regarding his reporting on 230, which I have long felt was not accurately presenting the debate), I think he’s a very good reporter and usually quite thorough and careful. That’s part of the reason I’m disappointed with this particular piece. Also, I will note that my first read of the article made me think it was worse than I did after subsequent reads. But, in some ways, more careful reads also highlighted the problems. While presented as a news piece with thorough reporting and fact checking, it is clearly narrative driven. It reads as though it were written with a story in mind, and then Edelman went in search of quotes to support that narrative — even setting up strawmen (including myself and Cathy Gellis) to knock down, while not applying any significant scrutiny to those whose views agree with Edelman’s. It’s fine (if misleading) as an opinion piece you’d see on a blog somewhere. But as a feature article in Wired that was supposedly fact checked (though I am quoted in it, and no one checked with me to see if the quote was accurately presented), it fails on multiple grounds.

The framing of the article is that “everything you’ve heard about Section 230 is wrong” (that’s literally the title), but that’s not how the article actually goes. Instead, it comes across as “everyone who supports 230 is wrong.” It starts off by talking about “the Big Lie” and the fact that Trumpist cable news — namely Newsmax, One America, and Fox News — repeatedly presented blatantly false information regarding voting technology made by Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic. It notes that the voting companies sued the news channels, and all of them have been much more circumspect since then about repeating those lies. Edelman then contrasts that with the world of social media:

As some commentators noted, one group was conspicuously absent from the cast of defendants accused of amplifying the voting machine myth: social media companies. Unlike traditional publishers and broadcasters, which can be sued for publishing a defamatory claim, neither Facebook nor YouTube nor Parler nor Gab had to fear any legal jeopardy for their role in helping the lie spread. For that, they have one law to thank: Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

This statement is inaccurate on multiple levels. First of all, it’s comparing apples to oranges. Traditional publishers and broadcasters face liability because they choose what limited content to publish. Note that while you can sue Fox News for defamation, no one is suing, say, Dish Network for offering Fox News. That’s because liability should apply to those responsible for the speech. With Fox News, it’s Fox News. They choose what goes on the air. With social media, they don’t. They’re more like the “Dish Network” in this scenario. The liability is not on them, but the speakers. If Dominion and Smartmatic wanted, they could have gone after the actual speakers on those social media networks for defamation, just as they chose to go after Fox and not Dish.

It’s all about the proper application of liability to those actually doing the speaking. But you wouldn’t get that message if you read this article.

Even the final line of that quote, saying that platforms have 230 to thank, is not entirely accurate. Even without 230, it’s hard to see how a Dominion or Smartmatic could possibly hold Facebook liable for defamatory content on their network. The main difference is that 230 would get any such case dismissed earlier and cheaper, and that makes websites more willing to host user generated content without having to fear the crippling costs of extended litigation.

That’s all very important nuance. Nuance that is not adequately presented in laying out Edelman’s argument.

The article bends over backwards to present those of us who support Section 230 as being unwilling to admit that there are problems on the internet, and treating Section 230 like apple pie and ice cream.

According to its admirers, Section 230 is the wellspring from which everything good about the modern internet emerged?a protector of free speech, a boon to innovation, and a corner stone of the American economy. The oft-quoted title of a book by the lawyer Jeff Kosseff captures this line of thinking well. It refers to the law?s main provision as “the 26 words that created the internet.”

At best, that’s an exaggeration and a strawman that’s easy to knock down. Kosseff himself notes that this suggests his book is a one-sided hagiography of 230:

But, of course, Edelman’s representation is not a fair one of how any of us 230 supporters feel. We don’t say that 230 is perfect and ideal. We regularly highlight the challenging and impossible trade-offs that come out of this internet with many companies hosting third-party speech. Jeff’s book goes deep into things he doesn’t like about the way the internet has developed, partly because of 230. It details many of the reasoned criticisms of 230.

The issue all of us keep pointing out is not that 230 is perfect, but that every suggestion for changing it will create all sorts of problems that make the internet much worse. I’ve written about this a few times, and the fact that content moderation is impossible to do well. The good thing about Section 230 is not that it makes the internet perfect. It does not, and I’ve never claimed otherwise. It’s that it allows for the necessary experimentation to continually change and improve, and to react to new forms and techniques of bad behavior. So far, every other proposed approach acts as if content moderation is a “solvable” problem and that magically forcing companies into a particular paradigm will work.

This suggestion that supporters of 230 are Pollyannas of the web is a strawman. We are not. We are focused on the different trade-offs and nuances of every approach, and we defend Section 230 because it remains the best approach that we’ve seen for dealing with a very messy internet in which there are no good solutions, but a long list of very bad ones.

The article then suggests that we supporters of 230 believe all critics don’t know what they’re talking about. It actually references an event that I put together (though it doesn’t mention that) which Edelman attended, where I interviewed the authors of Section 230, Senator Ron Wyden and former Representative Chris Cox. If you’d like to hear that interview for yourself, you can listen to the whole thing on our podcast. Oddly, Edelman names only three out of the ten sponsors we had for that event (Amazon, Twitter, and Yelp) as if it was put together solely by the big internet companies. It does not name the other seven sponsors, which included organizations like the Internet Society and the Filecoin Foundation (which is helping to create a new internet that undermines the big social media companies).

Another article of faith among Section 230?s champions? That people who criticize the law have no clue what they?re talking about. Section 230 recently turned 25 years old, and the occasion was celebrated by a virtual event whose sponsors included Twitter, Amazon, and Yelp. Senator Ron Wyden and former congressman Chris Cox, the authors of the statute, fielded questions from the audience, typed into a chat window. The most upvoted question was, ?How best can we get folks to properly understand Sec 230? Particularly when it seems that many are either reluctant to realize they don?t understand or, even worse, they don?t want to understand??

Note that Edelman’s assertion here — that it’s an “article of faith” among 230 supporters that “people who criticize the law have no clue what they’re talking about” — is not actually supported by the highest-voted question during the Q&A portion of the session we held. It’s a factual statement that many people talking about 230 don’t understand it. And in the context of the conversation, that question was referring to people like former President Trump and Senator Josh Hawley, who think that Section 230 is why websites can remove policy-violating users — something that is just demonstrably wrong. So the question, in context, was not suggesting that everyone criticizing 230 “have no clue what they’re talking about” but trying to deal with the fact that many people talking about 230 demonstrably do not understand it and seem to have no interest in doing so.

So this line may fit Edelman’s preset narrative, but in context it does not say what he wants it to say. It’s cherry-picked. Edelman does say that Trump’s (and Biden’s) view of the law is not “terribly coherent,” more or less admitting that the question from our event was accurate. But within the context of his article, it’s presented as if we’re unwilling to dig in and recognize that the internet is not perfect, and believe everyone who pushes back on 230 is doing so in bad faith.

Of course, that’s false. The issue is that there are many bad faith attacks on 230. However, when there are good faith criticisms of Section 230, we’re perfectly happy to address them as such, and highlight why those approaches — even if meant in good faith — might backfire. That is not how we are presented in this article. Instead, we’re presented as one side of a black-and-white battle against the realists who recognize the problems of the law.

This is repeated later, when Edelman briefly quotes me as another out-of-context strawman to blow over:

Other guardians of 230 sound even more apocalyptic notes when the law comes up for debate. After a group of Democratic senators proposed a bill to limit the law?s protections in early February, Mike Masnick, founder of the venerable policy blog TechDirt, wrote that the changes could force him to shut down not just the comments section but his entire website. Section 230 coauthor Ron Wyden, now a US senator, said the bill would ?devastate every part of the open internet.?

And I did say that we would likely have to shut down if the SAFE TECH Act became law, but that was about that particular law. We have not said that about every possible change to the law. And we said it about the SAFE TECH Act because of just how poorly drafted that law is. My article about the problems of the SAFE TECH Act (a bill which Edelman praised effusively, while also complaining that it didn’t go far enough) goes into great detail on the many problems with the specific approach it laid out. But in Edelman’s view, it seems, because we said this bill would likely force us to shut down, that means we’re apocalyptic about any situation “when the law comes up for debate.” That’s just blatantly inaccurate. I’ve already mentioned the reasons we’re happy to engage with those who are looking to make changes in good faith, to understand their issues and explore solutions. I’ve talked happily to many Congressional staffers and other government officials about their ideas for this very reason.

But the point we keep raising is just how much detail and nuance there is in these items, which few of the critics seem willing to get into. Instead, the focus is on painting “internet bad!” with a broad brush, and that’s the trap much of Edelman’s article falls into.

It does the same thing with another aspect of our own advocacy, calling out our amicus brief in the Armslist case, written by Cathy Gellis. Here’s how Edelman frames that:

In fact, a lot of the most passionate pro-230 discourse makes more sense when you recognize it as a species of garden-variety libertarianism?a worldview that, to caricature it only slightly, sees any government regulation as a presumptive assault on both economic efficiency and individual freedom, which in this account are pretty much the same thing to begin with. That spirit animated Section 230 when it was written, and it animates defenses of the law today. So you have Cathy Gellis, a lawyer who blogs ardently for TechDirt in support of Section 230?s immunity, filing an amicus brief in the Armslist case insisting that a post listing a gun for sale is speech that must be protected.

That’s… well, quite something. Considering that neither Cathy nor I are “garden-variety libertarians” and neither of us see “any government regulation as a presumptive assault on both economic efficiency and individual freedom,” it’s already misrepresenting our views. It also completely misrepresents the nuances, context, and framing of our advocacy in the Armslist case. Our argument correctly notes that advertisements are a form of speech. Edelman may not like that, but it’s a factual statement — not some crazy utopian libertarian idea. Indeed, Cathy’s opening to the brief details just how difficult cases like this are, and how they force us to challenge many of our assumptions.

Tragic events like the one at the heart of this case can often challenge the proper adjudication of litigation brought against Internet platforms. Justice would seem to call for a remedy, and if it appears that some twenty-year old federal statute is all that stands between a worthy plaintiff and a remedy, it can be tempting for courts to ignore it in order to find a way to grant that relief.

The problem is, as in cases like this one, there is more at stake than just the plaintiff?s interest. This case may look like a domestic violence case, a gun policy case, or even a negligence case, but it is actually a speech case. Laws that protect speech, such as the one at issue in this appeal, are on the books for good reason. They are ignored at our peril, because doing so imperils all the important expression they are designed to protect.

You would not get that from Edelman’s piece at all. Instead, it suggests that we argued that there’s no issue here since this is just speech. That’s not an accurate portrayal of what we said by any basic reading of what we wrote. Cathy’s brief highlighted the challenging issues in the case, and brought them back to the key point behind 230: that it’s about putting liability on the actual responsible party, rather than seeking to dump it on the most easily targeted party like the platform hosting problematic third-party speech.

The article also goes after Professor Eric Goldman, who is one of the top scholars on Section 230 — first quoting a regular critic of his giving an extremely one-sided description of Goldman, and then again presenting a strawman of Goldman’s views, focusing on his important paper about why 230 is better than the 1st Amendment. Yes, the title of that piece is provocative, but in the Edelman article it’s presented as some sort of evidence of how extreme Goldman’s views are:

But Goldman is not only Section 230?s most up-to-speed observer; he may also be its biggest fan. When reporters call him for an expert quote, they get a very particular perspective?one capably summarized in the title of his 2019 paper, ?Why Section 230 Is Better Than the First Amendment.? In Goldman?s view, the rise of platforms featuring user-generated content has been an incredible boon both to free speech and to America?s economic prosperity. The #MeToo movement; the more than $2 trillion combined market cap of Facebook and Alphabet; blogs, customer reviews, online marketplaces: We enjoy all of this thanks to Section 230, Goldman argues, and any reduction in the immunity the law provides could cause the entire fortress to crumble. No domain of user-generated content would be safe. If the law were repealed, he recently told the Committee to Protect Journalists, ?comments sections for newspapers would easily go.?

Edelman makes little effort to engage with why Goldman says any of this, or even to explore the details of Goldman’s “230 is better than the 1st Amendment” paper until much later in the article, when he no longer presents it as connected to that paper. Instead, Edelman presents the title of Goldman’s paper, without providing the proper context — context he only obliquely raises elsewhere in the article. What that paper actually says is important, and not quite as radical or extreme as Edelman presents. The paper goes into great detail about a kind of wonky legal argument: that 230 has procedural benefits that help both companies and users deal with the kind of heckler’s veto that would occur if we had to rely on the 1st Amendment to deal with the lawsuits. The argument is that 230, as a procedural tool, kicks these cases out early. If we had to rely on the 1st Amendment, you’re talking about a much more expensive legal process, turning an issue that could be disposed of for tens of thousands of dollars into one that will require hundreds of thousands.

That is perhaps deep in the legal wonkery weeds, but it’s a legitimate point. Much later in the article, Edelman does finally quote Goldman directly making this point (the only supporter of 230 he appears to have interviewed, though it looks as though he interviewed and quoted at least three fierce critics of Section 230 — without ever critiquing any of their arguments), but it’s so far separated from the framing that Edelman used above that no one who hasn’t been deeply engaged in this debate will recognize it:

You might think, for example, that something like Citron?s proposed ?reasonableness? standard would be widely seen as a commonsense, compromise reform. In fact, even this suggestion draws fierce opposition. Eric Goldman, the influential law professor, told me it would be tantamount to repealing the entire law.

?A key part of 230?s secret sauce comes in its procedural advantages,? he said. Today, the law doesn?t just help companies defeat lawsuits; it helps them win fast, at the earliest possible step, without having to rack up legal bills on discovery, depositions, and pretrial filings. Forcing defendants to prove that they meet some standard of care would make litigation more complicated. The company would have to submit and gather evidence. That would require more attention and, most importantly, money.

Perhaps the biggest companies could handle this, Goldman said, but the burden would crush smaller upstarts. Tweaking Section 230 this way, in other words, would actually benefit monopolies while stifling competition and innovation. Faced with a deluge of defamation lawsuits, the large platforms would err on the side of caution and become horribly censorious. Smaller platforms or would-be challengers would meanwhile be obliterated by expensive legal assaults. As Ron Wyden, Section 230?s coauthor, puts it, Citron?s proposal, though ?thoughtful,? would ?inevitably benefit Facebook, Google and Amazon, which have the size and legal muscle to ride out any lawsuits.?

And… all of that is true. But rather than deal with that fact, and highlight that this is the point all of Section 230’s supporters are trying to make, Edelman brushes it off as typical anti-regulation nonsense.

The thing about this argument is that a version of it gets trotted out to oppose absolutely any form of proposed corporate regulation. It was made against the post-recession Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, which the conservative Heritage Foundation declares ?did far more to protect billionaires and entrenched incumbent firms than it did to protect the little guy.? Federal food safety rules, fuel economy standards, campaign spending limits: Pick a regulation and a free-market advocate can explain why it kills competition and protects the already powerful.

This is incredibly unfair. And it paints Goldman, Gellis, and myself as if we’re regular fighters against any corporate regulation, which is simply not true (I mean, hell, look at our net neutrality coverage). Also, it’s weird that this article comes out on the same day that the Heritage Foundation (according to Edelman, the kind of free market entity that fights back against any kind of regulations) came out and said 230 must be reformed or repealed. To lump us in with them as if we’re all just “free market libertarians” is just weird. Especially when the “free market” groups he names… are on the other side on this issue.

There is no attempt to seriously deal with the critiques that we raise about the various proposals to reform 230 and our explanations of why they would be problematic. They’re just brushed off as anti-regulation.

On the other hand, the Section 230 critics Edelman spoke to have their views presented without qualification or critique. It’s as if Edelman has decided they are correct, and thus he does not need to test their theories, and that we are wrong, so our theories can be blithely dismissed.

Separately, it’s worth addressing one key argument the article raises, which I’ve seen many others raise before: that 230 must not be necessary for an open internet because other countries don’t have it and everything is “fine” there. In this article, the comparison offered is… Canada.

Maybe, as Lunney suggests, the common law would have developed something similar to the immunity provided by Section 230. But courts also could have come up with rules to take into account the troubling scenarios: bad Samaritan websites that intentionally, rather than passively, host illegal or defamatory content; platforms that refuse to take down libel, threats, or revenge porn, even after being notified. They might have realized that the publisher-distributor binary doesn?t capture social media platforms and might have crafted new standards to fit the new medium. Section 230, with its broad, absolute language, prevented this timeline from unfolding.

This hypothetical scenario isn?t even all that hypothetical. The United States is the only country with a Section 230, but it?s not the only country with both a common law tradition and the internet. Canada, for example, has nothing analogous to Section 230. Its libel law, meanwhile, is more pro- plaintiff, because it doesn?t have the strong protections of the First Amendment. Despite all that, user-generated content is alive and well north of the border. News sites have comments sections; ecommerce sites display user reviews. Neutral providers of hosting or cloud storage are not hauled into court for selling their services to bad guys.

Both of these paragraphs are worth addressing on their own, but it’s important to see the two combined to highlight the issues with this argument. It is possible that the common law would have developed to create a 230-like situation. Indeed, as some will remember, in the early 2000s I had said that I didn’t think 230 was necessary, since it seemed obvious that a website shouldn’t be held liable for third-party content, and I hoped that courts would easily recognize this. However, history has made it clear that my belief was wrong. Over and over again we’ve seen individuals (and even a few courts) get this wrong, and assume that hosting third-party content should lead to liability. Section 230’s purpose was to avoid the headache of having to go through this over and over again.

That’s a key part of what Goldman is talking about regarding the procedural benefits of 230.

But the second paragraph is one that has made some people nod in agreement. Unfortunately, it elides many important details. First, it says that Canada is “alive and well” with third-party content, but that leaves out a lot of context, such as the nature of litigation in each country. According to a Harvard study on litigation rates of different countries, the US is way more litigious, with 5,806 lawsuits filed per 100,000 people, compared to just 1,450 per 100,000 in Canada. For better or worse, the US is a much more litigious society. That makes a difference.

And there are all sorts of differences in the Canadian litigation context as well, including that Canada (like much of the rest of the non-US world) has a common law system in which the loser usually pays at least a portion of the winner’s legal fees, deterring a significant amount of frivolous litigation. The US doesn’t have that except in extreme cases, or a few very limited conditions (anti-SLAPP laws, certain copyright cases, extremely vexatious litigation). That explains a huge part of the reason why abusive litigation is so much more popular in the US. Plaintiffs often don’t care if they win or lose, because the goal is just to hurt the defendant. In Canada that’s harder to accomplish.

Second, it leaves out the actual impact on speech in Canada, and simply rolls it all up as “alive and well.” Except that’s not quite true. While it does admit that libel law is “more plaintiff friendly” it leaves out how that works in practice, which shows why the first paragraph above is misleading as well. A perfect example of this was the saga of Jon Newton and Wayne Crookes that we discussed on Techdirt. At issue was that Newton, the operator of P2PNet, had simply linked to an article that a Green Party official, Wayne Crookes, believed was defamatory. In the US, such a case would have been kicked out of court quickly under 230. In Canada, the case that began in 2007 had to go through many years and many appeals and didn’t end until late 2011 when Canada’s Supreme Court finally ruled that merely linking was not defamatory.

Literally two months after that case concluded — even though Newton won — he announced that he was done with the site.

That story alone highlights the issues with the “it’s fine in Canada” approach. It’s not fine. And for a small site, it required years spent fighting a draining lawsuit that, while it eventually resulted in a win, meant that the site in question was basically done. And we’ve seen this in lots of other countries as well, including Argentina and India. While some other countries have eventually had 230-like rules established through the courts, it’s often a long and arduous process for sites, and in the meantime makes them much quicker about pulling down any speech that might get them in trouble.

Even worse, the idea that “Canada is fine, just a bit more pro-plaintiff” fails to take into account other realities of Canadian intermediary liability jurisprudence, including the infamous Equustek decision that argued the Canadian government could order Google (a non-party to the court case in question) to block a website from being accessed not just in Canada, but around the globe. That kind of decision should raise serious questions about Canada’s actual commitment to free speech and whether or not such content is truly “alive and well” up north.

Indeed, Edelman then states that maybe Canada’s internet isn’t really that open, giving the example of a media site that removes a bunch of comments in part because of legal reasons and the risk of being dragged into court. Bizarrely, he spins this as evidence that we don’t need 230.

Yes, websites with user-generated content do have to be more careful. Jeff Elgie, the founder of Village Media, a network of local news sites in Canada, told me that the possibility of getting sued was one thing the company had to take into account when building its comments system, which combines AI with human moderation. But it?s hardly the extinction-level threat that Section 230 diehards warn about. (Elgie said that, overall, only around 5 to 10 percent of comments get blocked on Village Media sites, and only a small subset of those are for legal reasons.) It is simply not true that ?the internet? relies on Section 230 for its continued existence.

Except no one says that the internet would go away completely. We just say that it would be a very different kind of internet — one in which marginalized voices are less able to get through, stories like #MeToo get stifled in their crib, and smaller sites like mine are unable to exist. Indeed, there’s plenty of empirical evidence of over-blocking, especially in countries without 230-like protections. Edelman doesn’t address that beyond saying that Canada is fine. And, sure it’s “fine” because we can’t point to all the content that no one can see because it’s never posted or not posted for very long due to over-blocking out of fear of legal liability. Edelman, a top journalist working for one of the largest media publishers in the world, may not care much as to how that impacts the less fortunate, the marginalized, and such. But we do.

Finally, a point that we’ve made in the past regarding this “other countries” argument is that if you look around, you don’t see any of those other countries producing many successful internet companies that rely on third-party content. That’s certainly true of Canada. There’s… Wattpad? Who else? Edelman dismiss this argument as “a pivot” (though it’s not a pivot, it’s the very important nuance we’re trying to explain) and then dismisses it entirely saying it’s not clear 230 really matters here.

In response to this observation, staunch supporters of Section 230 generally pivot. They concede that other countries have blogs and comments sections but point out that these countries haven?t produced user-generated content juggernauts like Facebook and YouTube.(Set aside China, which has a totally different legal system, a closed internet, and private companies that are more obedient to the state.) Section 230 might not be responsible for the internet?s literal existence, they say, but it is necessary for the internet as we know it.

There are a few ways to respond to this. One is that it?s hard to prove Section 230 is the reason for the success of American social media giants. The internet was invented in the US, which gave its tech sector an enormous head start. America?s biggest tech successes include corporate titans whose core businesses don?t depend on user-generated content: Microsoft, Apple, Amazon. Tesla didn?t become the world?s most valuable car company because of Section 230.

This isn’t a particularly compelling response. After all, while the US may have pioneered the internet, the biggest user-generated content (social media) companies were started at a time when the internet was truly global and widely adopted. Facebook launched in 2004. YouTube in 2005. Twitter in 2006. That’s well past the time when the internet was new and just in the US. Furthermore, you can look at other evidence to tease out some of the differences — as we did in our Don’t Shoot the Message Board report in 2019. In that report, we looked at a wide variety of intermediary liability regimes and how they impacted startup creation and investment. One key finding was that the US didn’t have nearly as much success with regards to startups in the copyright space as it did in other areas, and some of that could be explained by the fact that the DMCA is much more limiting that 230. In the music world, there are lots of examples of successful companies coming out of Europe — such as Spotify, Soundcloud, Deezer and more. In other words, when we have more restrictive intermediary liability law, the evidence shows less successful US company creation.

Edelman’s final response to this argument is… just pure speculation.

Another response is that even if Facebook does owe its wild success to Section 230, perhaps that?s not a reason to pop champagne. The reason we?re talking about reforming tech laws in the first place is that ?the internet as we know it? often seems optimized less for users than for the shareholders of the largest corporations. Section 230?s defenders may be right that without it, Facebook and Google would not be the world-devouring behemoths they are today. If the law had developed slowly, if they faced potential liability for user behavior, the impossibility of careful moderation at scale might have kept them from growing as quickly as they did and spreading as far. What would we have gotten in their place? Perhaps smaller, more differentiated platforms, an ecosystem in which more conversations took place within intentional communities rather than in a public square full of billions of people, many of them behaving like lunatics.

And, I mean… sure? Maybe? And maybe it wouldn’t have happened that way, and we’d have something a lot worse that enabled a lot less free expression. Perhaps we would have had an internet where it was much harder to call out the rich and powerful for sexual assault or casual bigotry. That “maybe” seems like a difficult one to hang your “it’ll be okay to change 230” hat on. And, indeed, just as Edelman points to Canada as his “proof” that the internet is fine without 230, we can point to the rest of the globe to say that his speculation here does not seem to be proven either. Indeed, what we’ve seen (as noted above) is much more aggressive suppression of speech, which is a big part of what we’re concerned with.

Also, if we look again at the copyright context, where no 230 exists, but rather a much more restrictive DMCA, we do not see this utopian better internet that Edelman speculates might have happened absent 230. We don’t see “smaller, more differentiated platforms.” Instead, we see the opposite. In the copyright realm, we see giant companies — the few that have been able to hire giant legal teams to negotiate expensive deals. The smaller, more innovative startups mostly got driven out of the market by lawsuits quickly, even when they had strong legal claims. The actual evidence in the US context is that increasing legal liability doesn’t lead to more “intentional communities,” but simply fewer communities, and a very tiny number of giant companies with no real alternatives (unlike in the social media space, where there remain tons of alternatives).

All in all, the article is still worth reading — and Edelman does present a thorough look at much of the 230 debate. It’s just pretty clear what he believes. And that’s fine for an opinion blog where the goal is to make your own views clear. But Wired presents this as a featured cover story that highlights factual claims about how 230’s supporters are wrong, and it doesn’t actually do that. It sets up strawmen, ignores nuances and context, and tells a predetermined story with cherrypicked, non-representative examples.

And that seems like a wasted opportunity.

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Comments on “Wired's Big 230 Piece Has A Narrative To Tell”

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PaulT (profile) says:

"America’s biggest tech successes include corporate titans whose core businesses don’t depend on user-generated content: Microsoft, Apple, Amazon"

Most of Microsoft’s success is due to things that happened before the internet itself even existed, and it could be very much argued that they only lasted as long as they have during the internet era due to the antitrust activities it indulged in while it was in its infancy. UGC isn’t relevant, but then neither is sushi and I don’t see people talking up fishing regulations.

As for Apple and Amazon – are you seriously going to tell me that the App Store and Amazon’s retail platform would have been as successful if they were not able to allow user reviews, or if they were held liable for the content of the apps/Kindle books? Not to mention AWS – if Amazon could be held directly liable for the actions of the people it hosted, that might be a bit of a problem…

"Tesla didn’t become the world’s most valuable car company because of Section 230"

Nor would it have made any difference if section 230 didn’t exist, so that’s not relevant.

Well, it might have done because the places it used to gain prominence through user comments and shared stories wouldn’t have been able to operate as free marketing for it, but that’s a different story.

This is meant to be insightful?

I just skimmed this article, but it seems to be argued in very bad faith. Fortunately, section 230 does not shield Wired from any action people wished to take against it if the people mentioned were to really take offense.. as is my understanding anyway.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I just skimmed this article, but it seems to be argued in very bad faith.

Of course. Gilad Edelman is making an argument that can’t be argued in good faith. So when an argument can’t be made in good faith, but Gilad Edelman still wants to argue it, his only choice is to argue in bad faith.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Gilad Edelman is making an argument that can’t be argued in good faith.

Criticisms of 230 can be made in good faith. Edelman ignores those kinds of criticism in favor of a “critics good and smart and optimistic, proponents bad and dumb and fatalistic” bad-faith approach that even he has to know won’t hold up under scrutiny.

I hope the paycheck he got was worth selling out his credibility.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Maybe if they have vastly different values like considering free speech inherently dangerous, want dictatorships, support monarchism, or similar. But those aren’t exactly going to persuade anybody because they will see them as evil and/or a loon.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

[T]he Section 230 critics Edelman spoke to have their views presented without qualification or critique. It’s as if Edelman has decided they are correct, and thus he does not need to test their theories, and that we are wrong, so our theories can be blithely dismissed.

In the world Edelman inhabits, he likely refers to that approach as “balanced reporting”.

In the real world, we call that approach “spreading propaganda”.

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Koby (profile) says:

Feature, Not A Bug

The issue all of us keep pointing out is not that 230 is perfect, but that every suggestion for changing it will create all sorts of problems that make the internet much worse.

Many of the suggestions offered involve allowing political speech from all sources. On this basic point, there is not agreement. The pro 230 people view political censorship as a good thing, and limited moderation to quash profanity and spam as bad, specifically because it permits speech with which they disagree. We disagree on what will make things better or worse.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

Many of the suggestions offered involve allowing political speech from all sources.

…by forcing speech such as racial slurs, anti-queer propaganda, and misinformation disguised as “political advocacy” onto platforms that don’t want to host that speech.

The pro 230 people view political censorship as a good thing

Donald Trump was banned from Facebook and Twitter, but he still has his own website that literally anyone can look at right now. How did Facebook and Twitter “censor” him again? Keep in mind that losing an audience to which he was never legally entitled is not “censorship”.

it permits speech with which they disagree

Assume I run a Mastodon instance that anyone can join so long as they follow the TOS. For what reason should the government force me to host any kind of speech “with which [I] disagree” that I don’t want on my instance? Keep in mind that “because I said so” and “because neutrality” are not valid answers.

We disagree on what will make things better or worse.

Any approach that lets the goverment undercut, override, and altogether obliterate the property rights of the people who own and operate social interaction networks such as Facebook and Twitter in the name of “viewpoint fairness” or what-th’fuck-ever you wanna call it will always make things worse.

And please don’t make me post the Kavanaugh copypasta again, Koby. Please be better than what you are right now: a troll.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"Donald Trump was banned from Facebook and Twitter, but he still has his own website that literally anyone can look at right now"

Alex Jones was banned from them and he spends his time whining about being "silenced" on Infowars. A platform he owns, which has a global reach and predates all of the platforms he’s complaining about.

But, of course, what he’s really complaining about is that he can’t sell as many shoddy pills to the small number of people who willingly visit Infowars as he could when he could scam the general population.

"altogether obliterate the property rights of the people who own and operate social interaction networks such as Facebook and Twitter"

…and whichever services he uses to get the world’s dumbest talking points that he insists on repeating. As always, I wish there were a way to temporarily install the rules he demands without causing too much collateral damage. He and his ilk would be begging on their knees within hours once they realised what they’d actually demanded happen.

"Please be better than what you are right now"

What’s disappointing about Koby is that he shows he’s capable of intelligence, even insight, on articles on other subjects. For some reason, on this subject he always reverts to the dumbest takes possible.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Feature, Not A Bug

Hey, look, the section 230 signal has gone up and the person most likely to repeat the lies is here.

"Many of the suggestions offered involve allowing political speech from all sources"

Which violates the free speech rights of the platforms and also makes them less attractive to the non-political users who make up a huge amount of their customer base. This is why this moderation exists – you people are bad for business.

"The pro 230 people view political censorship as a good thing"

Like Parler, Gab, Stormfront and every cesspool you frequent, you just don’t see it that way because you agree with the Klan members you hang out with.

"We disagree on what will make things better or worse."

People who understand reality understand that removing section 230 will make things worse. For the US. Everywhere else on the planet which has similar rules without having to specifically outline an exception will carry on as normal, and will probably benefit from having US corporations change their incorporated nations in order to not have their businesses destroyed because 4% of the world population is operated by morons such as yourself.

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Rocky says:

Re: Obtuse people

Many of the suggestions offered involve allowing political speech from all sources.

Ah, "allowing", which in this context means forced hosting of speech. Anyone who suggest this haven’t read the first amendment. That suggestion also means that no website can no longer say "no political discussions allowed".

It’s amazing that you still don’t grasp this, you can change or repeal section 230 all you want, but what you suggest goes against the first amendment itself. The suggestion means forced association by the government which the first amendment explicitly forbids, regardless if section 230 exists or not.

Please tell us Koby, why do you support something that goes against the very first amendment in the constitution?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Feature, Not A Bug

Grabbed from https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190731/17202442692/enough-with-myth-that-big-tech-is-censoring-conservatives-that-law-requires-them-to-be-neutral.shtml#c100

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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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Feature, Not A Bug

As Stephen noted at that point you insist that they be specific. ‘Oh, which values would those be, ‘family’ could cover a lot of things after all…’

If someone’s going to be a bigot then they damn well should at least be an honest bigot, and if they’re not willing to own their bigotry then it’s up to those around them to hold their feet to the fire until they do rather than just give them a pass and accept dishonest verbal dodging.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Feature, Not A Bug

Many of the suggestions offered involve allowing political speech from all sources.

Koby, you have never, not once, ever pointed out somebody that was banned from a social media platform purely for their political views.

Unless you consider somebody like Trump using his big like while advocating violence in an attempt to overturn a free and fair election by attacking the capital building while congress was certifying the electoral votes. Is that the political speech to which you are referring?

Or, is the the the fact that the GQP as adopted racism, xenophobia, white supremacy, violence against libs, homophobia / anti LGBQT+, etc. as major policy and it’s because of those reasons of being banned that you think is political speech?

Please do tell us what you think is political speech that is being banned from social media by the basis that it’s that is political speech.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Feature, Not A Bug

"Koby, you have never, not once, ever pointed out somebody that was banned from a social media platform purely for their political views."

These guys have tried, but when you finally get them to narrow down their claims to something verifiable, it’s invariably someone who was banned for reasons that clearly had nothing to do with political speech. About the closest you’ll get is someone like David Icke (who was banned for his "political" speech – if you think that spreading disinformation and claiming that the virus isn’t real in the middle of a pandemic is purely "political"), but usually they’re people who are involved in direct racial or homophobic harassment trying to claim that the issue was because they identify as right wing.

As I often say on this subject – if a bunch of Nazis are getting kicked off the platforms you use and you’re concerned because you align with them politically, your problem isn’t the reaction from social media. Your problem is that you politically align with fucking Nazis.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Feature, Not A Bug

"As I often say on this subject – if a bunch of Nazis are getting kicked off the platforms you use and you’re concerned because you align with them politically, your problem isn’t the reaction from social media. Your problem is that you politically align with fucking Nazis."

True enough…and the issue is compounded by the fact that someone who aligns with fscking nazis doesn’t see or understand why this should be a problem. Because they’re aligned with fscking nazis. It’s the perfect textbook example of circular logic.

At some point the US will slip over the edge, just like it happened in 1933. It’s gone too far, and the self-destructive racists, doom cultists and envious spiteful are well beyond critical mass. I don’t see a way for the US to rid itself of its cancer without killing the patient at this point. If Biden walked on sunbeams and turned water into covid vaccine…that’s just effective life support now. At some point the next crisis comes along with the death rattle of that republic.
Once the dust has settled after the ensuing wars people like Koby will be asked to account in front of a courtroom and a noose.

Hopefully humanity won’t have to learn this lesson more than twice.

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Anonymous Coward says:

From the Wired piece:

The United States is the only country with a Section 230, but it’s not the only country with both a common law tradition and the internet. Canada, for example, has nothing analogous to Section 230.

Does Canada (or any other country) have anything analogous to the Cubby v. Compuserve and Stratton Oakmont v. Prodigy decisions that incentivized NOT moderating content and led to the creation of Section 230 in the first place?

Without those two cases, the US likely wouldn’t have Section 230 either.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Other countries...

Finally, a point that we’ve made in the past regarding this "other countries" argument is that if you look around, you don’t see any of those other countries producing many successful internet companies that rely on third-party content.

Ironically, if you actually follow the rabbit. I would say China is probably the biggest with Tenecent, (WeChat/QQ), and probably followed by Russian VKontakte, (VK). Well known countries for free speech.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Other countries...

"I would say China is probably the biggest with Tenecent, (WeChat/QQ), and probably followed by Russian VKontakte, (VK). Well known countries for free speech."

But the speech is free, comrade. As you yourself correctly remarked, it is so free the state-controlled social media platform is larger than anybody else’s…

Honestly, I don’t know if that was just a very sick self-burn you just did or whether Poe was invoked once again…but I’d have to say either way your argument says absolutely nothing about the merits of 230.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: If the truth is on your side you don't need to lie

Which is rather telling as if the law really was so terrible you’d think someone would have come out with an honest argument against it by now, and yet all that’s ever presented are blatant lies, misrepresentations and strawmen.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

If the truth is on your side you don’t need to lie

Huh. It’s funny how much of that also applies to copyright enforcement (see The Pirate Bay trial, the Megaupload SWAT raid, etc). It’s also funny how John Smith regularly campaigns for the destruction of Section 230, and defenses against copyright lawyers. Coincidence?

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"It’s also funny how John Smith regularly campaigns for the destruction of Section 230, and defenses against copyright lawyers. Coincidence?"

Not really, no. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an argument in defense of copyright or copyright enforcement which wasn’t outrageously false or utter hyperbole.

Like the claim that the existence of public libraries would render authors extinct, Valenti’s old lay about the VCR being to actors and moviemakers what the Boston Strangler was to a woman alone, or the assertion that people copying files "lost" the media industry more money than exists in the world.

I’m sure there’s someone, somewhere, who has tried to write an actual honest defense of copyright. It would end up pretty weaksauce, on par with "people shouldn’t jaywalk", and certainly not be a good basis for legislative action.

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

So we should be able to sue Wired for the bullshit spread on their pages?

Comparing "news" outlets to social media companies is really comparing apples & mangos.

Faux News presented things as factual, idiot fans repeated these things online… so lets sue Facebook for not fact checking the billions of posts an hour on their network while pretending it is the same as "news" outlets knowingly spreading lies?

Lets ignore its completely impossible, but the people responsible are those who posted it, and even if the platforms could have smacked down every single repetition of the lie… we’d then have a deep Wired think piece about how they are silencing conservative voices & those poor conservatives should be allowed to sue the deepest pockets.

The government can only step in via lawsuits, where a court has to determine whats true, whats false, whats malice, whats the poster is just a dipshit.

I would LOVE for all of the 230 is bad people to explain what their replacement is, in detail. Most of them are just like kill it and let the lawsuits decide whats right, so what if it kills the idea of allowing users to express anything online as platforms cut their losses.

We can’t demand tech manage to solve a societal problem, we have stupid people who are loud & really really dumb. Somehow the election was rigged but wasn’t a landslide & the evil Illuminati child eaters also hypnotized the courts to look at their evidence & deny it was true.

Pity, one would think that a reporter could have at least read the law he set out to claim was bad & not pull random quotes from people to make himself look correct. Pity 230 doesn’t have Dominions Lawfirm on speed dial.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"So we should be able to sue Wired for the bullshit spread on their pages?"

You already can. 230 protects from bad takes and libel made by random members of the public on its pages, not from people it hired to write an article they decided to publish.

"I would LOVE for all of the 230 is bad people to explain what their replacement is, in detail"

Most of them seem to live in a fantasy world where simply removing it would allow for polite discussion, and where every internet site would not have to decide between removing all UGC or becoming the next 4chan.

They don’t have detailed alternatives, they have fairytales.

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sumgai (profile) says:

There is a certain psychology going on here, and it’s damnably hard to spot. The problem with 230 is not that it deflects liability from the platform (and supposedly back onto the original speaker), it’s that people of all stripes are seeing for the first time that there a helluva lot of idiots/stupid people/assholes out there. Our main reaction to that exposure is "where the fcsk did we get so many wrong-thinkers?! These can’t be my fellow Americans, and they certainly are not qualified to call themselves my peers." Thus, the real reason to repeal/modify 230 is to shield ourselves from this affront to our good senses, and put our heads back in the sand where we can live peacefully in a land of la-la, and where no one gets upset at all of the assholery going on around them.

To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson:

History, in general, does not tell us what makes a good internet, only a bad one.

That doesn’t preclude a good internet from arising, but to do so, Mike is right – we need to allow for experimentation. That experiment won’t be finished very soon. After all, the USA is still at it, and we’ve been trying various options for 245 years.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You could make a colorable argument that we kind of did during WW2, what with the centrally-planned economy run by industry leaders, the Japanese internment camps, the expansion of the US into a (commercial) empire, the near-total focus on war…

I’m not saying I necessarily believe it, and even if it were true there’s a difference between wartime measures and peacetime fascism.

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Anonymous Coward says:

people like former President Trump and Senator Josh Hawley, who think that Section 230 is why websites can remove policy-violating users…

I think you give them too much credit. They’re just in it to rile their base. They can’t pass the "knew or should have known" test.

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Rico R. (profile) says:

A recurring theme here at Techdirt

Cathy Gellis hits the nail on the head in her tweet above, not just for this section 230 piece, but also for Ajit Pai’s net neutrality repeal, copyright law reform proposed by Thom Tillis, Article 17 implementations in the EU, etc.:

…remember that there are plenty of credible voices [they] ignored or mischaracterized.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Ah good old hachet-jobs...

And yet again it is proven that (to date) the only way to argue against 230 is to lie about it, and even then damn did they go above and beyond in their dishonesty, strawmannning and cherry-picking to craft the narrative they wanted.

Whatever the one who wrote that might have been, whatever reputation they might have held before it was published at this point, after such a grossly dishonest presentation of the subject I struggle to see any way people should trust anything they cover from here on out, because if they are willing to go that far to grind an axe on one subject for what reason should people believe they won’t/haven’t done the same on other subjects?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Great rebuttal Mike,

One thing that seemed particularly egregious from Edelman was his suggestion that with sufficient changes to Section 230, innovation in AI would solve content moderation challenges. There’s some techno-solutionism for ya!

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techflaws (profile) says:

The piece is behind a paywall, because of course it is.

Well, good that your article

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200531/23325444617/

Hello! You’ve Been Referred Here Because You’re Wrong About Section 230 Of The Communications Decency Act

is not. I assume, someone already tweeted it at him?!

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Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Repealing vs replacing

Mainstream media, that is, any big public distributor of “news” has a way of cherry picking for news
They all do it, be if Fox or CNN; here Wired.

What irks me is nobody focuses on the problems of the law. Everyone wants to keep it or dump it.

I’d rather see it replaced!
The premise half way in, that you changed your mind partly because courts get it wrong, is a key point to look at.
The problem I have with 230 is that it allows targeted censorship, vs generic and equal censorship.

I see a need to protect a passive distributor from user generated legalities. With or without 230. I just prefer it be without.
I’ll focus on the Compuserve ruling because it’s one I followed.
[quote] …could only be liable for defamation if it knew, or had reason to know, of the defamatory nature of the content.[/quote]
Sorry, wrong. That’s a misinterpretation of free speech.

The ruling itself should be enough to show we need a law to protect the first amendment in court.
A simple law that states no site is responsible for the posting of users, as long as they do not remove legal content from any user.

The first amendment protects unpopular speech. In theory.

I know the general debate against that has been private business rights and I’ve slipped into agreement with the pro- crowd at times.
But that’s misleading.

Rather than use static web as an example let me use the community centre approach.
Here the community centre is a stand-in for the NYT, Facebook, or Tech Dirt.
If the centre wishes to host a speaker, author, the. They can do so. And keep it closed; with no rebuttal. They have a choice of who they offer. If the speaker, author, says something they don’t like they can post a public rebuttal.
If they say something that is a violation of the law then the speaker is responsible, not the centre!

If they chose to host a public open mic, or comments section, then they should not have the ability to select who speaks or about what.
You can set a rule as to foment topic but not as to comment content. If the speaker says something illegal the speaker is responsible, not the community.

I’ll move that to a church site. If a church open public commentary, then a Setian should be protected in posting a counter to the church about the joys of Set.

If a pro choice group allows public comment the pro-lifer should be protected.

If a gun club has an open mic the anti-gun advocate should be protected.

This is very different than stating that a church, gun club, or pro-choice outlet be required to host directly such materials.
The NYT need not host a Donald Trump Column daily. But if they allow public comments after the article Trump should be allowed to post.

At the same time NYP should be required to let AOC post in the comments unhindered.

Once a private company opens the public mic all legal speech should be protected.

In no case should the host site be legally liable for anyone’s content. Not even their own authors. The author/creator is the only one who should legally be responsible.

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Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Repealing vs replacing

What irks me is nobody focuses on the problems of the law.

It’s nko their fault they don’t take the same hallucinogens you do, that make you see fantastical visions such as "Section 230 allows censorship."

as long as they do not remove legal content from any user.

Newsflash: that condition violates free speech.

The first amendment protects unpopular speech.

Including the right to say "We won’t host your speech for you"

If they chose to host a public open mic, or comments section,

As always, you invent a misleading analogy to oush your false claims.

then they should not have the ability to select who speaks or about what.

Well problem solved! Because currently nobody but the government even remotely has such power.

I’ll move that to a church site. If a church open public commentary, then a Setian should be protected in posting a counter to the church about the joys of Set.

Only if you want to violate free speech rights.

If a pro choice group allows public comment the forced-birther should be protected.

Only if you want to violate free speech rights.

If a gun club has an open mic the anti-gun advocate should be protected.

Only if you want to violate free speech rights.

This is very different than stating that a church, gun club, or pro-choice outlet be required to host directly such materials.

[Asserts facts not in reality]

Once a private company opens the public mic

Considering the fact that that is impossible, the rest of your disingenuous argument collapses.

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Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Re: Re: Repealing vs replacing

Uh, ohkay.

I’m not sure how you relate non-censorship to violation of free speech.

Censorship

Not false base on a law I’m proposing

That’s bull and you know it. Platforms currently have the ability to take down posts they don’t like.

As they are currently written.

As they are currently written

As they are currently written

Ignoring context?

What do you call this, right here, if not a private company hosting a public mic. Is not techdirt private? Is this not an open public discussion?

You’re so quick to attack you don’t look at context.

Let me revisit my statement vs your attempt to apply it to current law:
[quote] A simple law that states no site is responsible for the posting of users, as long as they do not remove legal content from any user.[/quite]

If the intention of 230 is to supply legal protection for hosts it could have been done without requiring censorship.

And yes, I will continue to use “censorship” when discussing moderation. Because I a absolutely completely against censorship.

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Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re: Repealing vs replacing

I see you haven’t read the first amendment. Just let me quote it here:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Let me explain what some of the above means:

  • If I don’t want to associate with you, that’s my right.
  • If a group of people doesn’t want to associate with you, that’s their rights.
  • If you don’t want to associate with other people, that’s your right.

When someone forces others to associate with them, that infringes the other parties first amendment rights. Forcing someone to carry speech they disagree with is also a forced association.

If you come into someone’s private property, they are within their first amendment rights to kick you out for any reason whatsoever. Allowing public access to private property doesn’t transform it into a public space.

If the intention of 230 is to supply legal protection for hosts it could have been done without requiring censorship.

And yes, I will continue to use “censorship” when discussing moderation

You can call moderation "censoring" all you want, it only tells me that you don’t have a clue. Moderation is someone exercising their first amendment rights on their private property. They choose not to associate with you by denying you space on, or access to their property. Or do you think some peoples first amendment rights are more important than others?

You don’t understand the constitution, you don’t understand section 230, and you have publicly demonstrated this by you own arguments. Why don’t you take some time to educate yourself because what you are saying doesn’t correspond to factual reality and what the law says.

Just to iterate, TL;DR:

  1. Moderation is people exercising their first amendment right on their private property.
  2. Section 230 makes it clear who is liable for what.

It’s not difficult to understand, unless you don’t want to understand.

Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Repealing vs replacing

[quote]Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…[/quote]
Nowhere does that say anything about censoring someone else’s speech, nor a declaration of what is and is not protected.
Nor where.
It simply states the government can not stop it.

Nowhere does that say people have a right to host or not host anything. Nor selectively decide what to allow and what to discard.

Nowhere does the First Amendment, the flag of the pro-230 crowd, say anything about a private non-governmental source allowing or prohibiting any form of expression.

[quote] Let me explain what some of the above means…[/quote]
Nope. It means exactly what it says. Any expansion of that is done by laws. And laws can be amended, repealed, or allowed to exist in perpetuity.

I suggest you take a look at any of the many in-depth studies of the 1930s-1970s film content regulations.
Be it the MPA loosing on trying to pull films from theatres that showed independent, non-certified films, or states attempting to bar films.

nearly every time freedom of speech comes up opposite private choice rights speech wins out.

Fixing issues with 230 that give public hosting the right to set up TOS in any way they like and blindly remove anything they disagree would be a better option than seeing this wind up in SCotUS where there is a good chance the law gets tossed completely.
Where nobody wins.

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Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Repealing vs replacing

Nowhere does that say anything about censoring someone else’s

That willfuly ignorant cherry-picking is pathetic, even by the low bar you’ve set previously, not to mention your deliberate "censoring someone else’s speech" lie.

Nowhere does that say people have a right to host or not host anything. Nor selectively decide what to allow and what to discard.

The Supreme Court, since ACLU vs Alabama says you’re full of shit as always.

Nowhere does the First Amendment, the flag of the pro-230 crowd, say anything about a private non-governmental source allowing or prohibiting any form of expression.

Nowhere does any non-governmental source possess any power to prohibt any form of expression.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Repealing vs replacing

"Nowhere does that say anything about censoring someone else’s speech, nor a declaration of what is and is not protected.
Nor where.
It simply states the government can not stop it"

In other words… since it only mentions the government, it places no restriction on what private actors can do?

"I suggest you take a look at any of the many in-depth studies of the 1930s-1970s film content regulations."

The restrictions that do not block films from being release unrated, they just can’t force private theatres to show them if they don’t want to show X rated or unrated content?

"Be it the MPA loosing on trying to pull films from theatres that showed independent, non-certified films, or states attempting to bar films."

So, the MPAA and government can’t force other people to follow their rules if they don’t want to, leaving the venues free to censor or not censor according to their own wishes on their own private property?

I don’t think you’re making the point you think you’re making.

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Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Repealing vs replacing

Nowhere does that say anything about censoring someone else’s speech, nor a declaration of what is and is not protected.

It does say or the right of the people peaceably to assemble though, but what you are saying is that the government should allow for forced association which is against the first amendment. If I ran a site and you could force me to associate with you and your speech, my first amendment rights is abused. You are de facto then using the government to censor me from making a choice on who I want to be associated with. The only one proposing real censorship here is you.

Do you want to be associated with bigots, white supremacists, holocaust deniers and nutcases in general? Well, according to your argument you have no say in the matter.

People like you don’t understand what you are asking for, and when you get it you complain that the leopards ate your face.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Repealing vs replacing

"What do you call this, right here, if not a private company hosting a public mic. Is not techdirt private? Is this not an open public discussion?"

No, it’s an open discussion. It isn’t public by any means unless you also want to join our oldest deranged troll in claiming Mike is a CIA employee and Techdirt a giant sting op.

"You’re so quick to attack you don’t look at context. "

Because when you start pulling the "war is peace, freedom is slavery" schtick, context is irrelevant.

"And yes, I will continue to use “censorship” when discussing moderation. Because I a absolutely completely against censorship."

Which means that you are OK with never being able to visit a shopping mall again without the background music being overridden by nazis, evangelists, pro-pedo activists, doomsayers, and every flavor of fringe politics screaming in bullhorns every step you take?

Every site on the internet turned into 8kun?

You know. I almost hope you get your wish by now. The US will very rapidly turn into a perfect shit-show where every site allowing interaction is a septic tank. We know perfectly well how that works because we’ve seen it before 230 even came along.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Repealing vs replacing

"The problem I have with 230 is that it allows targeted censorship, vs generic and equal censorship. "

It allows property owners to dictate who gets shown the door from their private property. This is not a bug, it’s the whole point.

"The first amendment protects unpopular speech. In theory. "

And in practice. The government can not legislate against your speech. If the vast majority won’t tolerate your speech on their premises then you’ll have to build premises of your own rather than seek a safe space where you force that majority to hear you out.

"If they chose to host a public open mic, or comments section, then they should not have the ability to select who speaks or about what. "

Why not? Since when is property ownership conditional? If a nazi stands up and heils into that open mic or someone starts trying to persuade people of the virtues of underage sex, care to clarify why the owners of the property can not show that person the door?

No, Lostinlodoss, you just delivered the argument that the bar owner can’t evict people for bothering the other patrons and the student opening his doors for a party has to let the guy feeling up the girls at the place remain.

"But if they allow public comments after the article Trump should be allowed to post. "

On Twitter he had that privilege – and abused it until Twitter saw fit to revoke it. Their house, their rules.

"Once a private company opens the public mic all legal speech should be protected. "

It still is – from the government. The property owner still owns full rights of association – that 1A bit you and your kind hate so much – and is free to evict the one who makes him and the other patrons uncomfortable.

There’s a reason that 1A and most freedom of speech clauses are written the way they are – to prevent the situation where the minority can impose on the majority.

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Lostinlodos (profile) says:

You’re painting in a circle. Which is why blanket-pro-230 is facing far more than one party’s complaints.

‘“censoring someone else’s speech" lie.’
If someone posted it and I can not read it that’s censorship. End of any discussion from my POV.

“The Supreme Court…”
Is the most recent interpretation… nothing less and nothing more. Time and time again the SCotUS has changed or overruled it’s own Rulings of olde.
You are opposing an accurate claim with a (series of) court ruling
(S).

“Nowhere does any non-governmental source possess any power to prohibt any form of expression.”
Does Trump have the ability to post on Twitter?
Done and dusted.

I miss the days of Compuserve and the mass of BBSs. Where freedom to talk was guaranteed.

So many left learners and alt-left have complained about the chan sites solely because of the alt-right topics.
They ignore, willingly, deliberately, that the vast majority of such sites has nothing to do with alt anything from left or right.
These are sites where both the common and the professional can discuss, argue, and counter!

Why must a mask be worn by the vaccinated?

How can Christianity claim god is pro life when he/she/it:they spent an entire Old Testament killing anyone who stood in the path of the chosen people? When god instructed to kill every male and child, and to keep the women and female animals as spoils?

What effect, if any, does human advancements have on the cyclical nature of global warming and cooling.

Does the post office scan every stamped envelope? How do they know if my stamp was used if they didn’t mark it?

Who’s more powerful; Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel?

Such discussion is damaged if a company starts deleting posts.

I’m called Republican (screw christ), conservative (ave satanas), and alt right (The BOC can kiss my I hate you white arse) for my beliefs on 230.
But it’s deeper than just one amendment to one law.

If you tick off the non-partisans how do you expect to convince anyone who is beholden to Republican thought. Be they Trump Populace or old Republican big business?

There’s no discussion in public forums anymore. From what I can find searching for video blog sites, and personal blogs, it’s left wing or right wing and everything else is consistently deleted!

As soon as a site starts deleting commentary it’s no longer a free and open discussion.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If someone posted it and I can not read it that’s censorship. End of any discussion from my POV.

Your baseless fantasies add no value to any discussion, troll.

an accurate claim

You have never once made such a thing.

Does Trump have the ability to post on Twitter?

The same ability as anyone who doesn’t misuse it to coordinate anti-American terrorist attacks. But your question is, as always, deliberately misleading as being banned from twitter does not eliminate his ability to express himself. His own blog proves as such. Done and dusted.

There’s no discussion in public forums anymore. From what I can find searching for video blog sites, and personal blogs, it’s left wing or right wing and everything else is consistently deleted!

Even of that weren’t a hallucination, what you’re describing is called free speech.

As soon as a site starts deleting commentary it’s no longer a free and open discussion.

In the real world, section 230 protects freedom of expression by allowing anyone and everyone to cultivate their own ideals, without idiot censors like you telling them the speech the’re allowed or forced to have.

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Rocky says:

Re: Re:

You’re painting in a circle. Which is why blanket-pro-230 is facing far more than one party’s complaints.

Well, those complaining about section 230 doesn’t understand it, doesn’t want to understand it and regularly lie about it. Just like you.

Let just sum up your arguments:

  • The government should allow for forced association.
  • The government should allow forced speech by association.
  • Private property owners should loose control of their property.
  • Rules and TOS’s doesn’t matter.

That’s what your arguments boils down to, Mr. "I’m against censorship". You want to take away peoples rights on who they want to associate with. You are a real "champion" of freedom, aren’t you…

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Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Let me ask a question of all pro-230 posters. Including and especially Mike Masnick. Who I know disagrees with me.

Which concerns you more. A blanket repeal of 230 or a dedicated and targeted repeal and replacement?

I ask this out of curiosity, not as argumentative.

My hatred of censorship comes from being told I’m not “allowed” to watch this film or read this book.
Be it Holocausto Cannibal in the 80s, Evil Dead in the 80s, Larks on a String in the 90s, K3 in the 00s, Mignonnes on the 10s.

When a Republican says “this is garbage” I’m all over grabbing it. Same for Dems!

I have yet to read a single long form from either side. Excluding this article and the referenced Wired post. That actually declared any reason for position.
Given that both sides, pro more than anti, blindly say 1st amendment and free speech doesn’t help those of us who don’t simply accept wat a preferred news search states.

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Rocky says:

Re: Re:

Which concerns you more. A blanket repeal of 230 or a dedicated and targeted repeal and replacement?

Section 230 doesn’t stop anyone from moderating or not moderating their site, it stops them from being sued into oblivion for the choices they make on how they want their site to work and what content they want to focus on.

Repealing section 230 means they no longer have that choice which lead to 2 outcomes. They either stop accepting user content, or they will moderate EVERYTHING to be sure that they won’t be spuriously sued for some inane comment a 3d party made on their site. Either way, you loose.

Changing 230… Well, no one has so far come up with a change that makes it better, every suggestion I’ve read would make it worse. And this is for a very good reason, section 230 is very simple. It treats everyone relying on it in the same manner, there is to exceptions, no special rules or regulations.

So, have you actually read section 230 and even thought about how it works in conjunction with the first amendment? Your question indicates otherwise.

Given that both sides, pro more than anti, blindly say 1st amendment and free speech doesn’t help those of us who don’t simply accept wat a preferred news search states.

It’s very simple, does your first amendment rights trump another persons first amendment rights? If the answer is no, then you are for section 230. If the answer is yes, you are for censorship, forced association and against section 230.

This shouldn’t be difficult to understand. When you start forcing people, it’s not about freedom anymore, it’s about what you want regardless of others.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Repealing section 230 means they no longer have that choice which lead to 2 outcomes.

Unless Senator Bill Hagerty has his way; allow people can sue for moderation decision, then it becomes too risky to allow user content, as you can be sued for the same content if you leave it up or take it down. That idea could kill even the biggest of social media sites.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"My hatred of censorship comes from being told I’m not “allowed” to watch this film or read this book.
Be it Holocausto Cannibal in the 80s, Evil Dead in the 80s,"

As a child of the video nasties era in the UK, I agree. However, nobody’s saying you can’t access those materials, they’re saying that the owner of property has the right to restrict things if they feel that it’s unsuitable.

So, I can go into my own home or a fellow horror movie lover’s cinema and watch Cannibal Holocaust without a problem. I just can’t force the local bar or library to show it on their TV screens, and the train conductor or diner waitress can ask me to turn if off if the family in the seat behind me are getting uncomfortable.

That’s all section 230 is – if an establishment or their other customers have a problem with something I’m doing, they reserve the right to tell me that it’s not the time and place to do it, and take further action if they feel it’s necessary. They cannot stop me from doing it elsewhere. This is not a problem, online or in the real world, unless the person being told to quit makes it one.

Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

PaulT:
A rational take. Thanks. That makes sense. In a private diner. To a degree. And here I can understand, now, where the premise is originating from.

Where my fear comes from is I watched what went on in independent stores in the US. And theatres prior to that.
Prior to the video explosion in the late 70s theatres were often threatened by MPAA members of having all certified (later rated) films pulled if they opted to screen independent films.
Some houses capitulated. Some fought back, and won.

In the 80s distributors threatened to cut off supply to rental stores that carried titles they disagreed with.
Two of my favourite stores fought back locally.
Both one but one lost so much money in the fight they closed.

But the blockbuster approach is the ultimate display of how one could moderate without censorship. (To a degree).
Blockbuster in the late 80s started the adult card system that gave parents a card to let minors rent R rates films.
They then went on a moderation spree of tagging any film they didn’t “like” at the corporate level with a NC no children sticker. Which couldn’t be rented with the adult card.
Parents fought back again and eventually they issued nc permissions to accounts when parents asked for it directly. Which again put the consumer in charge.

Some theatres offer adult cards. Allowing minors to enter r rated and NC17 films. The remaining video chains such as Family and Pyramid, have near total access cards available. Allowing parents to let their kids/teens rent anything not regulated by law (no porn).

The problem I have is what happens when you can’t say you have that film. You can’t hang a poster, put up a title placard, etc.
Which is law in some locations
When you delete something from public view it’s censored.

My problem with 230 stems from that. Right now companies can arbitrarily remove entire discussion tracts at will. With no recourse for the censored. That push a button and gone.
When the base of the story is presented without rebuttal it paints a guided view of a topic.
The technology publishing landscape is so consolidated it’s not possible to create an alternative in a viable way.
People say go to this site or start a site like that. But how is that an option when you can’t advertise.
Parler survived because the Democratic news groups tried to scapegoat them in public. Drawing people to see what it was really about.
There needs to be a better way.
Returning to the wild of early days happens to be the best method I can think of. Total lack of moderation. With protections for the host.
I have yet to see anyone come up with a method that would allow every voice to be heard and allow selective “moderation”.
I believe sometimes it Bette to simply have the choice of everything or nothing, vs the current method of selective enforcement.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

When you delete something from public view it’s censored.

It was never in public view in the first place. It was publicly accessible on private property. There’s a distinction there that I’m sure you’ll miss.

My problem with 230 stems from that. Right now companies can arbitrarily remove entire discussion tracts at will. With no recourse for the censored. That push a button and gone.

That’s the first amendment that allows for that. Section 230 makes it so they aren’t sued into oblivion for moderating or not moderating, because it had to be spelled out in a litigious society that property owners actually control their own property.

TL;DR: You don’t understand section 230, you don’t understand the first amendment and you don’t understand private property rights.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

As I indicate above – the government raiding your video store under threat of jail time for stocking forbidden items is censorship (which happened in the UK).

Blockbuster deciding not to stock a certain title is not (what he’s talking about).

If he grew up with such freedom and privilege that a corporate stocking decision seems like censorship, that might explain why he thinks that a company reserving the right to admission is censorship, but it doesn’t make it so.

Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

The only thing blockbusters didn’t carry was porn which is a federally regulated class. Complicated by inconsistent use of law to cover “obscene” which despite it’s SC “test” is a direct affront to the freedom of speech.

I was actually supporting Blockbuster’s approach. While also finding implementation a bit draconian.
Corporate had a list of Films to always be tagged NC. Local franchises could and did tag other films they didn’t think “kids” should watch. Employees at many stores could also tag films.

That lead to some funny tagging over the years. But it kept the distributors off their backs.
We had the normal stuff like Silence of the Lambs and Friday the 13th etc. And Iron Maiden concerts because of “Number of the Beast”. And Sailer Moon because omg teenage animated cleavage!
But the Moore films were all tagged, as was Moore is a Big Fat Stupid White Man. Lol.
The Animated Bible was tagged. Haxxan was tagged. I remember a time when there were more tagged films at one local store than not tagged.
My father got me my card rather young when I couldn’t grab a magazine while he waited in the car. Because omg comic book boobs.

But all “speech” was offered. AND moderated.
As annoying as it was: it worked.
I also think the implementation was part of the company’s undoing but that’s a different article.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

It’s funny, you keep mentioning Michael Moore, but I can’t think of anyone on the "left" who really cares about anything he does, probably Sicko was the last one that got any attention and that was mainly as a counterpoint to the misinformation put out by the right in response to the healthcare debate.

But, it does seem to be that he’s a figure that constantly occupies the Republican mindset as someone who’s equal to Fox on the "left", yet you claim to not hold their views… Hmmm…

Did you check out any non-Murdoch news sources since you mentioned that they make up 3/5ths of your news input, or are you still clinging to the idea that since you think that the NYT is "alt left" that means you have a wide variety of news in your diet?

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

"The only thing blockbusters didn’t carry was porn"

Weird, I remember there being a lot of problems with them refusing to stock certain NC-17 titles that weren’t porn, and editing other movies before they would stock them.

"I was actually supporting Blockbuster’s approach."

No, you’ve openly opposed it in every comment you made here about platforms.

"I remember a time when there were more tagged films at one local store than not tagged."

So… go to another video store or get your movies elsewhere if you don’t like it? I was buying movies that were completely banned in my country when I was 14, I’m sure that someone who could legally go to a cinema showing the same movies at that time would have even more options.

"Employees at many stores could also tag films."

…and managers and corporate could refuse to stock them entirely. Do you really think the ultimate arbiter of what you saw on the shelf was the teenager at the checkout? Please…

"But all “speech” was offered"

No, it wasn’t. A subset of available movies was stocked by the store, and even those were further censored or restricted by location. You sure as hell couldn’t go to a Blockbuster in 1993 and get the latest Category 3 Hong Kong release uncut. This was in fact one of the problems with Blockbuster – they made so certain that major studio releases were available that it killed the secondary market of people picking up indie/b movies after they found out the new big release wasn’t available.

But, people like you are apparently easily fooled into thinking you had everything.

"I also think the implementation was part of the company’s undoing but that’s a different article."

So, you’re saying that Blockbuster ultimately failed because people voted with their wallets and went with the less restrictive options… and you think this can’t possibly happen with internet platforms because…?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

What you’re describing, however, is free speech and the free market in play. It’s the market that decided they wouldn’t see X / NC-17 rated movies, the market that decided that they’d rather go to Blockbuster, and so on. There may have been some collusion among larger corporate players who realised they make more money over showing Jurassic Park in 8 screens instead of letting Bad Lieutenant have one of the screens. However, you could still get a copy of the movie no problem. You just had to get off your lazy ass and go somewhere other than Blockbuster or AMC.

This is different from the situation in the UK, where it was illegal to distribute a movie without a BBFC certificate, illegal to admit anyone under 18 to the cinema showing an 18 rated film, illegal not to distribute the cut version if cuts were made and people were dragged through the courts and even jailed for obscenity charges.

Yet, as a young teenager in the age of VHS, I still managed to watch every one of those movies. What was stopping you?

"Right now companies can arbitrarily remove entire discussion tracts at will. With no recourse for the censored"

They’ve always been able to do that, the editing just happened before publication instead of afterwards.

"People say go to this site or start a site like that. But how is that an option when you can’t advertise."

Nothing’s stopping anyone from advertising, you’re lying about a situation that doesn’t exist. Stopping you from renting the massive billboard on the freeway is not stopping you from advertising. From where I’m sitting, all these idiots are just getting free advertising in the press anyway, they don’t need to spend a penny on marketing.

Come back to me when you pussies have experienced actual censorship, because you’re just hilariously weak from my experience

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Right now companies can arbitrarily remove entire discussion tracts at will. With no recourse for the censored. That push a button and gone.

Any individual posting on the Internet can find or create a space in which to publish their words. That enables them to be part of the discussion, even if they are ignored by the majority. Note, that makes them much better of from the point of view of being part of the discussion than what was possible pre-Internet; where if your words were not accepted by a publisher, it was the street corner or self printed leaflets.

By attacking section 230, you are likely to return the world to what is was before the Internet, your words mat be heard only if approved by somebody else.and very few submissions will even be looked at, never mind approved.

Lostinlodos (profile) says:

“Well, according to your argument you have no say in the matter.”
I do, I can counter it by replying. Or write a public post of my own, as we see here as this article.

“People like you don’t understand what you are asking for, and when you get it you complain that the leopards ate your face.”

You mis-class me. I know exactly what I wan. The internet of the past. Wild and untamed.

“You want to take away peoples rights on who they want to associate with.”
You either are misunderstanding my intention or are intentionally shoe-horning it into a small viewpoint.
I separate the private business from the public forum.
I’m calling for sites to have a a completely open forum, or none at all.
Most sites have some variations of the tag line ‘views expressed are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the company’s opinion’.

“When you start forcing people, it’s not about freedom anymore, it’s about what you want regardless of others”
How do you work that with other /rights/ laws.
Does not women’s rights force men to accept women as equal? Does not civil rights force bigots to treat other races as equal? Why should such a right not extend to speech?

“…then it becomes too risky to allow user content, as you can be sued for the same content if you leave it up or take it down.”
Absolutely agree.
That is why I support a replacement. Not a flat repeal. No business should be held responsible for the actions of their clientele.

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Rocky says:

Re: Re:

I do, I can counter it by replying. Or write a public post of my own, as we see here as this article.

Which is not what I asked. I asked if you want to be associated bigots, white supremacists, holocaust deniers and nutcases in general?

You mis-class me. I know exactly what I wan. The internet of the past. Wild and untamed.

The internet was never really wild and untamed, that’s just nostalgia talking. If you used someone’s server or service they could boot you the minute they didn’t like you or what you said, it’s only that at that time you could get away with more.

You either are misunderstanding my intention or are intentionally shoe-horning it into a small viewpoint. I separate the private business from the public forum. I’m calling for sites to have a a completely open forum, or none at all. Most sites have some variations of the tag line ‘views expressed are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the company’s opinion’.

No, it’s you who are don’t understand the first amendment. Your argument above means forced association and forced speech, ie depriving others of their rights so you can speak using their private property against their wishes. And that "tag-line", that’s when someone who works for a company declares that their views are separate from the company’s.

How do you work that with other /rights/ laws. Does not women’s rights force men to accept women as equal? Does not civil rights force bigots to treat other races as equal? Why should such a right not extend to speech?

Oh my. Is this your argument? It’s… mindbogglingly stupid. If someone is fighting to have the same rights, that doesn’t mean someone else’s rights are encroached. You clearly don’t understand what you are talking about.

That is why I support a replacement. Not a flat repeal. No business should be held responsible for the actions of their clientele.

Replacement with what? You have so far argued that it’s totally okay to infringe other peoples first amendment rights just so you can use their property against their wishes.

It’s now totally clear that you don’t understand the first amendment or section 230. And private property rights for that matter. Your whole argument is just emotional and ego-centric hand-waving while demanding that something must be done, other peoples rights be damned.

Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

No, it’s you who are don’t understand the first amendment. Your argument above means forced association and forced speech, ie depriving others of their rights so you can speak using their private property against their wishes. And that "tag-line", that’s when someone who works for a company declares that their views are separate from the company’s.

To reiterate, there are exactly zero companies with the power to say "you can’t say that."

All a private platform has the power to say is to freely say "I won’t say that for you," constitutional free speech which anti-free-speech stooges like logorrhea, koby, and smurfo want the government to fascistically censor.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Are you sure you are not a republican?

As the saying goes, if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

Which is exactly why forced association is bad, ie if a site if forced to associate with people they don’t agree with, the rest will soon conclude that they are just like those they are forced to associate with.

Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Quite sure. Support government health care, ban public displays of religion in government buildings, end government prayer, restore the pledge to the original by removing under god.

I can easily piss off both parties with ‘abolish legal protections and recognition of marriage m, a religious act’ and recognise civil partnerships of any duality.’
And I support LGBT rights.

But the Dems don’t want me because I want limited vetted immigration, every legal citizen to not only have the right to a weapon but to be supplied on and trained with it from a young age.

I believe biological gender is more important for separation and classification than personal association. Your components are internal or external.

My anti-censorship stances really maddens both sides’ moderates!

But this isn’t forced association. Just like the article at hand above! Personally I think this reply at hand should be hosted at Wired in the comments section and discussed at length there. (If they have comments).

You stated why you mistook me for a Republican. I can quickly counter that myself.
Sure, you could class me as a Republican with many far left viewpoints, or a Democrat, which I was long registered as, with some standard conservative right views.
I still consider myself independent generally today though. Not being lockstep with any current party.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"But the Dems don’t want me because I want limited vetted immigration"

If you’d stop sucking on the Murdoch teat, you’d probably find that this is what most sane people on the "left" want as well.

"every legal citizen to not only have the right to a weapon but to be supplied on and trained with it from a young age."

Ah, so you don’t think that the roughly 40% of the US population (or 30%-ish of households) who already own more guns per capita than any developed country is enough, you want to force people who don’t even want them to deal with them and indoctrinate their children as well. But, don’t call you a Republican… sure…

"Personally I think this reply at hand should be hosted at Wired in the comments section and discussed at length there"

It can already be hosted or not hosted anywhere according to the wishes of the individual platform. Your problem is that you’ve stated that if a platform owner doesn’t want to hold the discussion, they should lose their right to refuse the association.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"…every legal citizen to not only have the right to a weapon but to be supplied on and trained with it from a young age."

You know, forcing gun ownership on people may not really be a good idea.

"My anti-censorship stances really maddens both sides’ moderates!"

Possibly because it’s not an anti-censorship stance. You want to compel private entities to carry speech they don’t want to carry by using the government violence monopoly.
That makes your entire argumental angle an exercise in Newspeak to begin with. And lamentably one which is mimicked not so much by moderate republicans but primarily by the alt-right crowd on stormfront.

"But this isn’t forced association."

If you tell a private entity they must abstain from throwing someone out of their personal property then yes. It’s forced association you advocate for.

"Democrat, which I was long registered as, with some standard conservative right views."

Except that those particular views aren’t "conservative". When you’re sharing key talking points with the KKK and the neo-nazis you may want to backtrack a bit and see where you managed to go horribly wrong.

The stuff you keep advocating for which has people around here up in arms? We’ve seen all that before! Some of it only in failed social experiments the collapse of which should have taught us all better.

And most of it aimed at not allowing the minority to have and exert a viewpoint but instead to force the majority to persistently hear them out. That’s not how free speech works.

Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“ So, in Europe you’d be centre-right?”
Could be. Maybe not.
I don’t follow European politics enough to classify myself under their various groupings.

“(3) The Internet and other interactive computer services offer a forum for a true diversity of political discourse, unique opportunities for cultural development, and myriad avenues for intellectual activity”
Discourse!

“(5) to ensure vigorous enforcement of Federal criminal laws to deter and punish trafficking in obscenity, stalking, and harassment by means of computer”
Here is key. Enforcement of law!

“(c) Protection for “Good Samaritan” blocking and screening of offensive material”
Big issue here! Offensive, like obscenity, is purely personal. Everyone has their own opinion of what is offensive.

“(A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected”
Again, or otherwise objectionable.
“Or otherwise…” should be replaced with a mandate the company lists exactly what is not allowed in its TOS.

I think that clarifies exactly where I stand.
Right now the law as is allows censorship at will with no supplied reasoning.
Either amend to require reason in notice of action, or amend to require declaring cause of action in the tos.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“(3) The Internet and other interactive computer services offer a forum for a true diversity of political discourse, unique opportunities for cultural development, and myriad avenues for intellectual activity”
Discourse!

Yes, no one can’t stop consenting parties from talking to each other. Amazing, isn’t it?

“(5) to ensure vigorous enforcement of Federal criminal laws to deter and punish trafficking in obscenity, stalking, and harassment by means of computer”
Here is key. Enforcement of law!

CRIMINAL law, ie. if you do a crime, section 230 can’t protect you. Kind of a no-brainer…

“(c) Protection for “Good Samaritan” blocking and screening of offensive material”
Big issue here! Offensive, like obscenity, is purely personal. Everyone has their own opinion of what is offensive.

Exactly, which is why when you use someone’s private property it’s their rules and preferences that dictate what they think is appropriate behavior, and which is why they are within their rights to kick you out when you go against their wishes.

“(A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected”
Again, or otherwise objectionable.

Yes, for example, if I run a forum dedicated to cats for cat owners, I will find it otherwise objectionable when people starts posting stuff about dogs which I happen to dislike. Or politics. Or anything really not related to cats. Or do you find this to "censorious" since it stops "the free flow of ideas"?

Btw, you did notice the last sentence I hope: whether or not such material is constitutionally protected

“Or otherwise…” should be replaced with a mandate the company lists exactly what is not allowed in its TOS.

Your suggestion is incredible naïve and comes from someone who doesn’t really understand that there’s people on the internet who have nothing better to do than to figure out how to creatively break rules, and they are usually trolls or pure assholes. Anyway, I can narrow that list down to one item: What displeases the site owner, subject to change without notice.

I think that clarifies exactly where I stand.
Right now the law as is allows censorship at will with no supplied reasoning.
Either amend to require reason in notice of action, or amend to require declaring cause of action in the tos.

Yes, it explains it eminently. You don’t understand section 230 and the first amendment. And you definitely don’t understand how things work on the internet when it comes to those looking for ways to break rules (aka assholes and trolls). You have an extremely simplistic and naïve understanding how things work which is reflected in your flawed argument.

Just so you will understand what I’m talking about, I give you the tale of I want to stick my long-necked Giraffe up your fluffy white bunny which is the story how Toontown tried to create a safe space for kids with no swearing, no sex, no innuendo, and nothing that would allow one child (or adult pretending to be a child) to upset another.

Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“ Your suggestion is incredible naïve and comes from someone who doesn’t really understand that there’s people on the internet who have nothing better to do than to figure out how to creatively break rules, and they are usually trolls or pure assholes. Anyway, I can narrow that list down to one item: What displeases the site owner, subject to change without notice. … And you definitely don’t understand how things work on the internet when it comes to those looking for ways to break rules (aka assholes and trolls). You have an extremely simplistic and naïve understanding how things work which is reflected in your flawed argument.“

I fully understand the premise you put forth. Again I grew and matured with early dialup. With BBS including hosting one of my own.
Quest->Compuserve and Q-link->AOL.
I was a beta tester in AOL’s early days and became a Host, then Guide.
So I also have the flip side understanding of moderation. I currently have such a position at 4 sites, down from 13 different sites a few years ago.
Burnout catches up as we age.

Be it a moderator on a BBS in the 80s or AOL in the 90s or the web today. I always, always, made it very specific to the poster via PM or email, if not both, as to my reasoning for locking a thread.
And I only ever ban a person outright for criminal activity or repeated spam. Spam tolerance being different Depending on the size.

I don’t understand why it’s so hard for so many pro-230s to accept that as a way to do things.

If you don’t want to host dog comments or politics or stamp collecting on your cat site you simply list the rule in the TOS/TAC that the “site’s discussions are limited to cats and only cats.”
9 words and you can take a hatchet to anything that doesn’t fall within the rule and nobody has cause to complain.
I’d quickly stand behind any site that finds itself troubled by a violator having such clear and concise rules in place.

Therein lays bare my issue with twitter. Right now the site hides behind 230 to censor at will with impunity. That is not and was not the intention of the law in its original creation. Which was to protect hosting from legal pursuits based on user generated content.
(Among a few other issues).

As for understanding the first amendment I read it as written. And nothing more. The government is prohibited from denying freedom of speech and expression. Period.

Anything beyond that is how courts have interpreted the law. Much of which I agree with. Some of which I don’t.
But I’m able to separate legal interpretations from the words as written.
The first amendment does not explicitly state you can not be subject to “forced association”. However a few courts have come to that conclusion over the years. Laws have been created at the state and federal level to deal with such issues as times change.

Same as civil advances narrowing property rights. Which I agree with generally. (Treat all people as equal).
Or commercial laws making companies responsible for user stupidity. Which I don’t agree with. (Seriously, don’t sleep with a running chain saw? Mark hot coffee as hot?)

230 errors in having an unexpected gap in logical usages. Such a gap has created a situation where sites can censor at will under the guise of “good faith” based on “other” because the writers didn’t foresee such a climate as we have today.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

" Again I grew and matured with early dialup. With BBS including hosting one of my own.
Quest->Compuserve and Q-link->AOL.
I was a beta tester in AOL’s early days and became a Host, then Guide."

So… what you’re saying is that you used the internet when it was tiny compared to how it is today with a much lower mainstream reach, and you think the lessons you learned there are applicable to platforms with billions of users.

I’m sorry, but your experience is as relevant as your 33.6k modem is today.

"If you don’t want to host dog comments or politics or stamp collecting on your cat site you simply list the rule in the TOS/TAC that the “site’s discussions are limited to cats and only cats.”"

Strange. Most of the people being kicked off from modern social media platforms, from Donald Trump downwards, are people who have openly violated the T&Cs of the sites they were kicked off from… so by your own standard you shouldn’t have a problem here.

"The first amendment does not explicitly state you can not be subject to “forced association”. However a few courts have come to that conclusion over the years."

So, you agree that the legal standard that applies now is that private property owners are able to kick out disruptive members of the public who violate their terms of use… yet you’re here arguing that the right needs to be removed. Very strange.

Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Right now the site hides behind 230 to censor at will with impunity.

Except for the part where no censorship exists, and there’s no part of Section 230 that has any influence on that.

That is not and was not the intention of the law in its original creation.

Your revisionist history runs contrary to its authors’ own statements.

I read it as written. And nothing more.

[Asserts facts contradicted by evidence]

The government is prohibited from denying freedom of speech and expression. Period.

Including your censorious demands here that sites be denied their rights to freely express their own speech.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

"Except for the part where no censorship exists, and there’s no part of Section 230 that has any influence on that."

For censorship to exist, it has to extend beyond the borders of a single piece of private property. Yet, no matter how large or influential you believe that a platform is, no such ability exists.

People like can pretend otherwise all they want, but no rights or speech are being removed by telling disruptive people to behave according to the rules of the house or GTFO.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"I don’t follow European politics enough to classify myself under their various groupings."

Here’s a hint: American politics skews heavily to the right, and there is no actual mainstream left on a global scale. Bernie Sanders would be a centrist conservative on most issues elsewhere.

"Discourse!"

Yes, which is why it’s a good thing for platforms to reserve the right to kick off racist trolls, homophobic abusers, and so on – they interrupt honest and open discourse for everyone else.

"Here is key. Enforcement of law!"

There is not law preventing people from controlling their own property, nor any law stating that a platform has to home people offensive and amaging to the rest of its subscriber base.

"Everyone has their own opinion of what is offensive."

Including the operators of a platform, and the community whom they serve. Hence why it’s a good idea not to force them to put up with people offensive to their customers.

"I think that clarifies exactly where I stand."

No, it clarifies that you’re arguing for section 230 to remain in place, but have somehow convinced yourself otherwise.

"Right now the law as is allows censorship at will with no supplied reasoning."

…by people who own the property which is being used at the time. This would be a different argument if we were talking about limits on the government, but here all you’re talking about is removing private property rights and allowing abuse to destroy established communities. That might not be what you think you’re arguing for, but it is what you’re saying.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

As with most anti-section 230 types, he’d have a better argument if he could supply actual examples of people who have been "censored" with no supplied reasoning. All I ever see are people who were given the exact reasoning, they just don’t like it.

In reality, there are some outliers where accounts are blocked without a clear reason, but they’re usually reinstated fairly quickly if there’s been a genuine mistake. Others are given reasons, but they don’t like the reason, or claim there’s some other ulterior motive apart from the ones given. It benefits right-wing grifters to pretend they were banned for political views rather than the actions stated, or to say that the reason given isn’t a real reason, but I am yet to see an example of someone banned purely for political views, or banned without any reason given.

As ever any examples are welcome, but I will only accept concrete examples, and I will investigate the claims. So far, they have scored zero.

Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

As with most anti-section 230 types, he’d have a better argument if he could supply actual examples of people who have been "censored" with no supplied reasoning.

All his "I can’t read things where I want to read them" claim proved is that he disingenuously operates off of a false definition of censorship.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

"I consider censorship by it’s older definition of barring or prohibiting access."

Nobody’s preventing you from access. They’re preventing you from accessing on their own private property but you can access it elsewhere. The argument doesn’t make sense unless you’re trying to force people to host things they do not wish to host, which is the removal of private property rights.

If I don’t let you use my lawnmower, that doesn’t mean you can’t mow your lawn. You just have to find another lawnmower. The answer to this not to force me to give you my mower against my will.

Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

By reason I refer to something other than “violated terms of service”.
A mandate to state what aspect of the terms of service were violated.
It’s not that hard to understand.

At least Twitter eventually gave a reason for Trump getting tossed.
Though I’ve yet to see them point to a specific aspect of the TOS he violated.

They never did give a reason for the NYP being tossed.

Why was Milo Yiannopoulos tossed? I’ve yet to see a reason. This one especially is troublesome since he is a gay rights activist.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

"By reason I refer to something other than “violated terms of service”.
A mandate to state what aspect of the terms of service were violated.
It’s not that hard to understand."

The vast majority of violations are crystal clear. The person blocked might not like them, but they are sually given.

"They never did give a reason for the NYP being tossed."

Sigh… yes they did.

Twitter blocked them because of a single article making unfounded claims about Hunter Biden’s laptop in the immediate run up to the election, which violated multiple ToS conditions. Their ability to post was removed until they removed the offending article, at which point their posting status was reinstated. it couldn’t be more clear – except to the Trump cult, who were desperate to pretend another conspiracy existed.

This couldn’t be more clear.

"They never did give a reason for the NYP being tossed."

I suggest you start reading things outside of the Murdoch echo chamber, then, because it was given to those of us outside of it.

"Why was Milo Yiannopoulos tossed?"

Seriously dude, 2 seconds in Google:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/may/02/facebook-ban-alex-jones-milo-yiannopoulos

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/20/milo-yiannopoulos-nero-permanently-banned-twitter

Very clear reasons are given, and it’s not because of your invented homophobia..

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

It’s quite telling that he uses Milo Yiannopoulos as an example. And he doesn’t understand that if a person is a bully and brags about it, it doesn’t matter what kind of activist that person is since they are still a terrible person who will get booted.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Milo has always been a troll who was propped up for a while by the right-wing as a token, partly to say "hey, we can’t be homophobic, we love this gay guy", partly to pretend that any valid criticism of his was itself homophobic rather than based in fact.

Given that his new schtick is to pretend he’s not gay any more and to promote "conversion therapy", they don’t even have that crutch.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"“(3) The Internet and other interactive computer services offer a forum for a true diversity of political discourse, unique opportunities for cultural development, and myriad avenues for intellectual activity”
Discourse!"

Discourse implies consent. If you and a group of friends sit at your table exchanging ideas then that is discourse. If a nazi comes along and starts talking about the global jewish conspiracy then that is intrusion.

You seem to have a very persistently odd view about consent.

"I don’t follow European politics enough to classify myself under their various groupings. "

That much is clear. We’ve had documented history for over 2500 years about free speech and what it needs to exist. What you keep pushing is stuff even old roman lawmakers knew from trial and error provided horrible results.

Human nature hasn’t changed appreciably since, nor really the key levers of society. Sure, let every voice speak. But only if people are free to not listen, especially so in their own property.

This is why the ancient greeks built their first agora and the romans set up their forum. The speakers corner in Hyde Park.

No one is owed an audience, and no one is owed guest right in another person’s house. It truly is that simple.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"You mis-class me. I know exactly what I wan. The internet of the past. Wild and untamed. "

Either the rosy-tinted glasses of nostalgia have you in severe repression or you aren’t old enough to remember the "internet of the past".

Today we still have all the options we had in the past; Use a VPN and you’ll still be able to freely access everything we had back then without worry. Whether it concerns goat porn or snuff movies. And thanks to working script blockers we don’t even have to put up with the damn purple monkey or a thousand pop-unders either.

What we have today which did not exist in that dim past of antiquity is functional moderation on major sites. You don’t need to sift through a thousand posts from scammers, trolls, religious recruiters or white supremacists on your damn home cooking webpage.

The internet of today with 230 in place works much like the real world. Walk into a seedy bar and expect a more…liberal…view on political correctness. Walk into the local Klans favorite watering hole and feel free to sling the N-word around at will.

Do the same in the urban bistro, the library or the local MacDonald’s – you’ll be shown the door and asked to leave.

What you ask for is repulsive. That the urban bar needs to not ask the loudmouth racist to leave, no matter what the other patrons and the owner think. That the owner of the physical property you stand on could ask you to leave and with a smug grin you could tell him to fsck off – and remain, protected by law.

Section 230 as written is minimalist in it’s approach and you literally can not reformulate it to say anything other than what it currently says without abolishing 1A online in part or in whole.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"Today we still have all the options we had in the past"

This is worth stressing. If you were happy with USENET back in the day, you still have USENET. If you favoured IRC, that’s still there. You can even find BBSes in places and some sites popular in the early 90s still exist with pretty much the same web design.

You just won’t have the same audience as your Twitter feed – mainly because that audience didn’t exist back then. Different audiences require different moderation – it doesn’t matter how much you love your local cable access show, you’re not going to be able to demand it gets carried at primetime on a major network. Same applies online.

Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Re: porn “Lol, no, it’s not.“

Ohkay; what planet are you on.
Porn is regulated in nearly every single village in the US.
In most jurisdictions you need to be 21 to buy, own, or view. Some drop that age to 18 for some or all aspects of the three.
And a few localities drop it to 17.

The general concern in sales and rental is the “obscenity” issue. As far as I’m aware only two locals have illuminated obscenity classification. Oregon as a state and two districts in Wisconsin.
It’s up in the air in both Gary and Indianapolis. Due to conflicting rulings.

“Federally and nationally mean the same thing”
Not quite. Federally is the federal government where nationally includes state, provincial, and local laws.
‘ "They never did give a reason for the NYP being tossed."
Sigh… yes they did.’
Mind informing me with a link to twitter’s statement?
NYP ran an article in the run up to the election of national interest; that a computer repair shop owner reported they had one of H Biden’s laptops which was abandoned at his store and said laptop contained emails raising potential illicit activities.
Skip the CNN vs Fox bill. The laptop is real. The emails are in question but no party of either side has shown a reason to doubt them.
What TOS section did they violate?

‘"Why was Milo Yiannopoulos tossed?"
Seriously dude, 2 seconds in Google:”’
Neither of those post a reply from twitter stating a specific violation.
Even the left’s beloved WaPo, the news organisation with the most retractions in 2019 and 2020, states twitter refused to clarify the expulsion:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/07/21/what-it-takes-to-get-banned-from-twitter/#:~:text=Twitter%20bans%20conservative%20writer%20Milo%20Yiannopoulos%20for%20good%2C,hands%20them%20out%20for%20abuse%20and%20harassment%20violations.

You (plural) talk about private property vs public but private property has public restrictions.

Can I mow my lawn naked? It’s my property. Why can’t I?
Think about that final thought for a moment.
Leave your politics at the front gate.
It makes it easier to understand where I’m coming from.
If private property is sacred then why can I not utilise it as I deem fit?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"NYP ran an article in the run up to the election of national interest"

They ran a highly fictionalised version of a series of events that doesn’t pass any kind of logical smell tests. It very clearly violated several ToS conditions including doxxing and handling of hacked materials. Furthermore, the original article was not affected in any way, and in fact received a lot of free press as a result of the ban. The only thing that happened is that Twitter decided that their platform could not be used to promote something that violated their ToS.

This is not a problem.

"Neither of those post a reply from twitter stating a specific violation."

How much information do you need? I mean, the situation is very clear to most intelligent people, but what’s the standard you want to apply to people being able to control who accesses their property?

"Even the left’s beloved WaPo"

You should really start dealing with real people, not the strawmen that Murdoch invented for you. Hint: if someone tells you that everyone on the "left" loves a particular thing, they’re setting up a strawman.

Also, people are allowed to have their own opinions. They don’t become fact just because you agree with them instead of the ones from other sources.

"You (plural) talk about private property vs public but private property has public restrictions."

Yes, it does. But, there is no such restriction that says I have to host people on my property against my will. I can’t shoot you on my property or ban you from the house across the street, but I can sure as hell show you the door if I wish.

"Can I mow my lawn naked? It’s my property. Why can’t I?"

You can if you’re not visible to the rest of the community while doing so. If you’re doing it in full view of the public street, you have to take into consideration everyone else around you.

Is this why you’re getting confused? You’re being told you have to consider someone other than yourself?

"It makes it easier to understand where I’m coming from."

I know exactly where you’re coming from, and it doesn’t fly in reality.

"If private property is sacred then why can I not utilise it as I deem fit?"

Because unless the law is changed to say that I don’t have any control over who uses my property and how, I have the final say.

Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Re: porn “Lol, no, it’s not.“

Ohkay; what planet are you on.
Porn is regulated in nearly every single village in the US.
In most jurisdictions you need to be 21 to buy, own, or view. Some drop that age to 18 for some or all aspects of the three.
And a few localities drop it to 17.

The general concern in sales and rental is the “obscenity” issue. As far as I’m aware only two locals have illuminated obscenity classification. Oregon as a state and two districts in Wisconsin.
It’s up in the air in both Gary and Indianapolis. Due to conflicting rulings.

“Federally and nationally mean the same thing”
Not quite. Federally is the federal government where nationally includes state, provincial, and local laws.
‘ "They never did give a reason for the NYP being tossed."
Sigh… yes they did.’
Mind informing me with a link to twitter’s statement?
NYP ran an article in the run up to the election of national interest; that a computer repair shop owner reported they had one of H Biden’s laptops which was abandoned at his store and said laptop contained emails raising potential illicit activities.
Skip the CNN vs Fox bill. The laptop is real. The emails are in question but no party of either side has shown a reason to doubt them.
What TOS section did they violate?

‘"Why was Milo Yiannopoulos tossed?"
Seriously dude, 2 seconds in Google:”’
Neither of those post a reply from twitter stating a specific violation.
Even the left’s beloved WaPo, the news organisation with the most retractions in 2019 and 2020, states twitter refused to clarify the expulsion:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/07/21/what-it-takes-to-get-banned-from-twitter/#:~:text=Twitter%20bans%20conservative%20writer%20Milo%20Yiannopoulos%20for%20good%2C,hands%20them%20out%20for%20abuse%20and%20harassment%20violations.

You (plural) talk about private property vs public but private property has public restrictions.

Can I mow my lawn naked? It’s my property. Why can’t I?
Think about that final thought for a moment.
Leave your politics at the front gate.
It makes it easier to understand where I’m coming from.
If private property is sacred then why can I not utilise it as I deem fit?

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Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Re: porn “Lol, no, it’s not.“

Ohkay; what planet are you on.
Porn is regulated in nearly every single village in the US.
In most jurisdictions you need to be 21 to buy, own, or view. Some drop that age to 18 for some or all aspects of the three.
And a few localities drop it to 17.

The general concern in sales and rental is the “obscenity” issue. As far as I’m aware only two locals have illuminated obscenity classification. Oregon as a state and two districts in Wisconsin.
It’s up in the air in both Gary and Indianapolis. Due to conflicting rulings.

“Federally and nationally mean the same thing”
Not quite. Federally is the federal government where nationally includes state, provincial, and local laws.
‘ "They never did give a reason for the NYP being tossed."
Sigh… yes they did.’
Mind informing me with a link to twitter’s statement?
NYP ran an article in the run up to the election of national interest; that a computer repair shop owner reported they had one of H Biden’s laptops which was abandoned at his store and said laptop contained emails raising potential illicit activities.
Skip the CNN vs Fox bill. The laptop is real. The emails are in question but no party of either side has shown a reason to doubt them.
What TOS section did they violate?

‘"Why was Milo Yiannopoulos tossed?"
Seriously dude, 2 seconds in Google:”’
Neither of those post a reply from twitter stating a specific violation.
Even the left’s beloved WaPo, the news organisation with the most retractions in 2019 and 2020, states twitter refused to clarify the expulsion:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/07/21/what-it-takes-to-get-banned-from-twitter/#:~:text=Twitter%20bans%20conservative%20writer%20Milo%20Yiannopoulos%20for%20good%2C,hands%20them%20out%20for%20abuse%20and%20harassment%20violations.

You (plural) talk about private property vs public but private property has public restrictions.

Can I mow my lawn naked? It’s my property. Why can’t I?
Think about that final thought for a moment.
Leave your politics at the front gate.
It makes it easier to understand where I’m coming from.
If private property is sacred then why can I not utilise it as I deem fit?

Lostinlodos (profile) says:

“I can’t shoot you on my property”
Actually in many states you very much can. It’s a premise known as castle doctrine.

“You can if you’re not visible to the rest of the community“
There’s a disconnect here!
Can a private property owner do as thee wish on their own property or not?
Is not my property just as visible as twitter in the public context?
If so why can twitter make it’s own rules but I can not?
If not please explain the difference between two publicly visible private properties.

Let’s use private nudity for a moment.
If 230 applied to my front lawn:
It’s ohkay to to toss the nude white blonde but I can allow the nude Asian and black girls to parade naked because in my good faith I got rid of the less pretty plastic barbie?
Because this is what I see from twitter at the moment. Selective enforcement.
It really is less political than you and others make it out to be. I’m against barring expression of any type. My thoughts are easy to find ling predating Trump. I didn’t jump on anyone’s bandwagon.
I called out Fox for not discussing Saudi Evans following 911. And unlike Republicans and like 48-52% of the population I have very real questions about just how much Bush, and/or his cabinet, knew of the threat beforehand.

My history as lostinlodos and JamPro1 are permanently recorded on the internet. And I do Not, and never will, believe in the the non-existing right to be forgotten.
Mi am fully responsible for my posting at every moment of history.
My view, like the author’s, of 230 has changed over the years. In 2016 I would have called it illegal partisanship.
Today I take the more nuanced approach of calling out deficiencies.
Eg telling someone the violated TOS is drastically different than pointing directly to a clause violated.

Without saying they don’t exist I’ve given two examples just above of twitter not stating what specific clause users have violated. Neither of which you or another chose to link to.
You’re personal opinion of the veracity of the story from the NYP means nothing to me. As a long time tech in private small business industry I fully believe that a) items are discarded or forgotten, and b) all sorts of things are on such items. And C) they’re authentic enough for me to accept unless someone can disprove them.
Neither my opinion nor yours was at question.
Where did Twitter point out the actual violation?
Same for Milo.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"Actually in many states you very much can. It’s a premise known as castle doctrine."

You can’t just shoot a guest on a whim, there are conditions.

"Can a private property owner do as thee wish on their own property or not?"

Yes, with exceptions.

"Is not my property just as visible as twitter in the public context?"

Yes, but like any publicly available property, they reserve the right to admission. When you’re kicked out of a bar for being an asshole, the only thing that matters is that the bar owner thinks you’re an asshole – and even then he’ll usually put up with you until you refuse to listen to his warnings that you’re causing other customers to leave.

"If so why can twitter make it’s own rules but I can not?"

Both are subject to similar rules. You can’t parade around naked on your front lawn just because you’re still technically on the piece of grass you own. Twitter can’t put up a "no black guys" rule.

"It’s ohkay to to toss the nude white blonde but I can allow the nude Asian and black girls to parade naked because in my good faith I got rid of the less pretty plastic barbie?"

Unless your lawn is classed as a public accommodation, you’re free to discriminate based on race. However, you will still get consequences for the naked people parading in full view of the street no matter who they are..

"I’m against barring expression of any type"

Unless the form of expression is "we reserve the right to admission on our property" or "we want to stop trolling dickheads disrupting our business", in which case you’re totally opposed to it.

"Without saying they don’t exist I’ve given two examples just above of twitter not stating what specific clause users have violated."

No, you’ve given 2 examples of perfectly reasonable explanations that you don’t want to accept because they affect people you politically align with. It’s like arguing with idiots like birthers and people who think that Trump won the election – it doesn’t matter how much actual verifiable evidence you give them, they will claim it’s not good enough because they’re still desperate to believe the lie, and will happily believe vague fiction over the facts.

"You’re personal opinion of the veracity of the story from the NYP means nothing to me"

That’s fine. You don’t have to accept my opinion or that of Twitter. You just don’t get to demand that either of us put up with hosting the liars on our property.

"Where did Twitter point out the actual violation?"

In the public statements widely reported by the media that you have chosen to ignore.

Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Rethinking 230?

A good argument put forth by some users here. At least the ones who don’t make personal attacks or bizarre collectivising comments.

Enough to reconsider some things.
I obviously have trouble balancing private property rights with public access rights.

Still think the evicted should get a better reason than ‘because I said so’ ‘look at the tos’.
If that were put in place I’d probably be able to reconcile the two sides of it.

This long discussion chain shows that nobody is ever going to be completely content without damaging others in /some/ way.

I should take a moment here to thank techdirt for hosting this, occasionally hostile, discussion! It’s fare more informative than the cable news pinhole reporting, to talk to real people.

I’ll need to look into the case history more but it’s obvious there’s more out there than CNN and Fox report.
I’m just glad I don’t have to deal with finding a solution myself.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Rethinking 230?

"Still think the evicted should get a better reason than ‘because I said so’ ‘look at the tos’."

The ToS is all they need to tell you to GTFO their property if you violate it repeatedly and annoy other users who are worth more to them than you are.

Even so, you have been given specific reasons for the people you are complaining about being told they’re not welcome on certain sites. You’ve just chosen to ignore them because you’re bought into the Murdoch lie that it doesn’t count unless it’s written using single syllable words with diagrams in crayon, despite the fact that you apparently believe in the most ridiculously obvious lies with any evidence at all so long as they support your political views.

"it’s obvious there’s more out there than CNN and Fox report."

Yes. It’s a shame that you decided to reject them all in favour of the easy fictions. Knock yourself out with that, just don’t come trying to remove my rights or the rights of others because they don’t want to put up with you.

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