Georgia Sees Florida & Texas Social Media Laws Go Down In 1st Amendment Flames And Decides… 'Hey, We Should Do That Too'

from the oh-knock-it-off dept

Having seen both Florida and Texas have their “you can’t moderate!” social media laws tossed out as unconstitutional (wasting a ton of taxpayer money in the process) you might think that other state legislatures would maybe pump the brakes on trying the same thing. No such luck. There are efforts underway in a bunch of states to pass similarly unconstitutional laws, including Utah, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio (not to mention states like New York pushing in the opposite extreme of requiring moderation). The latest to enter the fray is Georgia with its Common Carrier Non-Discrimination Act, with an astounding 24 ignorant co-sponsors who apparently hate the 1st Amendment.

The law is dead on arrival for a wide variety of reasons, but as you might have guessed from the name seeks to just randomly declare social media (and only social media) as “common carriers” and saying they can’t “discriminate” (and by “discriminate” they mean, “take down content from Nazis.”) The “declarations” on this bill are nonsense disconnected from reality.

Each person in this state has a fundamental interest in the free exchange of ideas and information, including, but not limited to, the freedom of others to share and receive ideas and information, regardless of their religious, political, or social beliefs or affiliations;

Yes, free speech means that you can say whatever you want, but it does not allow you to commandeer other’s property to do so. Because if it does, I’m demanding that the Georgia General Assembly read each day’s Techdirt posts into the official record every day. Otherwise, according to these silly, silly legislators, I’m being censored for my views.

As the Supreme Court of the United States has recognized, large social media platforms are the ‘modern public squares’

Neat attempt to elide the context of that statement, which was about the state banning people from social media, and not at all about the state forcing social media not to take down spam, trolls, and abuse.

In offering their services to all and providing a basic service to our economic, political, and social lives, social media platforms function as common carriers, are affected with a public interest, and are central public forums for public debate;

Social media platforms with the largest number of users are common carriers by virtue of their market dominance;

Except they don’t. Common carrier is not just a magic phrase you get to say as you wave a magic wand. It requires that the service actually be a common carrier — which means providing commodity-like, interchangeable services to transport goods or data from place a to place b. That’s not what social media does.

Anyway, the key clause in the bill is the part that says that social media sites, now declared to be common carriers, are not allowed to take down any content based on their beliefs or political affiliation, among other things.

(a) A common carrier shall not censor or discriminate against a user, a user’s expression, or a user’s ability to receive the expression of another person based on:

(1) The viewpoint of the user or another person;
(2) The viewpoint represented in the user’s expression or another person’s expression;
(3) A user’s geographic location in this state or any part of this state; or
(4) The actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, religion, religious beliefs, political beliefs, political affiliation, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of a user or another person or of a class of users or a class of other persons.

So, under this standard, you cannot ban anyone for being a Nazi (“political affiliation”) or for calling for jihad (“religious beliefs”). So that’s just great.

Perhaps someone should point out that under this law, no social media website could “ban critical race theory.” It would also make it impossible for Trump’s new social network, TRUTH Social, to live up to its promise to make its site “family friendly.”

Anyway, as if to demonstrate how this bill is exceedingly performative, and not serious at all, it looks like someone (probably a telco lobbyist) pointed out that under this bill, if it applied to broadband providers would create net neutrality. But for nonsense reasons, Republican politicians have decided that net neutrality is evil — even though broadband providers actually do fit the traditional classifications as a common carrier, so the bill explicitly says it does not apply to broadband ISPs:

‘Social media platform’ means an internet website or application that is open to the public, allows a user to create an account, and enables users to communicate with other users for the primary purpose of posting information, comments, messages, or images.

Such term does not include an:

(A) Internet service provider or provider of broadband services;

So, the things that are not common carriers are declared common carriers, and the things that are common carriers are declared not common carriers.

People of Georgia: stop electing ignorant buffoons.

At least it doesn’t have a theme park exemption, I guess.

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Comments on “Georgia Sees Florida & Texas Social Media Laws Go Down In 1st Amendment Flames And Decides… 'Hey, We Should Do That Too'”

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This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Reminder: The First Amendment protects your rights to speak freely and associate with whomever you want. It doesn’t give you the right to make others listen. It doesn’t give you the right to make others give you access to an audience. And it doesn’t give you the right to make a personal soapbox out of private property you don’t own. Nobody is entitled to a platform or an audience at the expense of someone else.

A privately owned open-to-the-public service such as Twitter has no legal, moral, or ethical obligation to carry anyone’s speech. That remains a fact no matter what Georgia’s elected dumbasses (or the usual “moderation is censorship, actually” crowd around here) have to say about it. But if they want to go on the record as saying Twitter should be forced to host Klan propaganda…well, I hope someone points out how this law is saying exactly that.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: 'Finally, they can't show my uncle out the door anymore!'

But if they want to go on the record as saying Twitter should be forced to host Klan propaganda…well, I hope someone points out how this law is saying exactly that.

The problem is that the people they’re pandering to would likely see ‘forced to host overtly racist content’ as a feature, not a bug.

That said it would still be worthwhile to force that admission, it’d be hilarious to see georgia politicians fall into the same trap that texas republicans walked right into by saying the quiet part out loud.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Car analogy (now don't start that again!)

Given the explicit exemption of ISP’s it’s rather like making privately owned roads that everyone uses exempt from laws regarding who they can and can not prohibit from using the road while placing the individual stores the road connects to under those same laws, despite the fact that if you can’t use the road you can’t access any of the stores.

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Koby (profile) says:

Non Interference

Yes, free speech means that you can say whatever you want, but it does not allow you to commandeer other’s property to do so. Because if it does, I’m demanding that the Georgia General Assembly read each day’s Techdirt posts into the official record every day.

I remember numerous articles on Techdirt written back in the day regarding copyright, explaining that electronic signalling doesn’t take away from others. Someone posting a message to social media does not take away from others’ ability to communicate, no matter how much you disagree with the message.

Taking time from the statehouse to read into the record probably takes away from the availability of the forum, and would be an act of commandeering. Not so with social media. And moreover, it seems that the majority of calls to ban certain speech are non-recipients of the message. That’s why if you were to read Techdirt aloud on the sidewalk outside the capitol, noone would be bothered at all.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

Someone posting a message to social media does not take away from others’ ability to communicate, no matter how much you disagree with the message.

Corollary: Taking away someone’s ability to communicate on a given social interaction network doesn’t take away their ability to communicate in general.

But hey, if you want to defend forcing Twitter to carry the speech of Nazis, white supremacists, and Nickelback stans, that’s your choice. At least have the testicular fortitude to stand behind it this time.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Non Interference

When you and your mates gang up with the abusive comments to individuals, you can indeed drive them off of a platform. Besides which, the ability to publish what you want to say anywhere allows you to partakes in public discussion, and not ignoring you is a right that other people have. Forcing your way into all conversations abuses the right of people to ignore you, and or throw you out for being an abusive arsehole.

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Koby (profile) says:

Re: Re: Non Interference

not ignoring you is a right that other people have. Forcing your way into all conversations abuses the right of people to ignore you

That’s certainly happened to folks on all sides of the political spectrum. Yet it’s not a rule violation, and certainly has never been enforced against left wing advocates from what I’ve seen. Which is fine. But that’s one of the features of an open platform — you may encounter opinions that differ from your own. Yet, it seems that only one side gets hot and bothered by that.

In any case, user curation could potentially solve several objections to the existing system. I think its development should be prioritized.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Social interaction networks already have tools for user curation⁠—notably, the Block and Mute functions. What you’re saying, whether you realize it or not, is that end users should be forced to endure harassment and spam and malicious interactions for the sake of curation. SIN operators can prevent a hefty amount of that outcome by way of moderation, as well they should.

Yes or no, Koby: Do you believe the government should make a given social interaction network force its users to suffer through malicious interactions for the sake of hosting speech said SIN wouldn’t otherwise host?

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Dead dog, mangled body, literal pile of shit...

As for site vs user moderation it’s probably a good idea to remember the articles in the past talking about how moderators for the major social media platforms end up with bloody PTSD from all the horrible stuff they have to wade through, so anyone trying to argue that it’s no big problem for the site to offload that to the users is in effect arguing for a lot of people who aren’t getting paid for the ‘job’ having to wade through absolute horrors if they want to keep using the platform.

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Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Non Interference

has never been enforced against left wing advocates from what I’ve seen

Lol. Dude. Just because you live in your own chamber of stupidity, don’t think that things don’t happen outside of that world.

Fact is that it happens way more to marginalized individuals and groups — it’s just that they don’t have a large enough megaphone to play victim like the poseurs you follow do.

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Bloof (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Non Interference

He should ask LGBTQ+ creators on youtube and other platforms about how their output is treated. Demonetised by the platform holders without warning, subjected to abuse by right wing users and content creators without any consequences unless they go to the press about it. These platforms care more about the perception of being seen as biased against the right than they di the actual actions of the right, but still they whine.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Non Interference

"Yet it’s not a rule violation, and certainly has never been enforced against left wing advocates from what I’ve seen."

<looks at the entire US history until the modern day>.

You are trying to – seriously – tell the people here that the left wing off or online aren’t being biased against?

Koby, you have officially now become the shitposter standing in the US south of the 50’s and crying loudly that the black folks are all being given free reign in the press while the poor old boys of the KKK are maligned and persecuted. It’s that bad.

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cattress (profile) says:

Re: Non Interference

If so many of those people calling to ban such speech are indeed "non- recipients", then why don’t those speakers go take their conversation elsewhere, where no one in polite society will overhear it and complain? Because they want their hateful rhetoric or blatant lies and disinformation to get amplified so that polite society hears it and is horrified. You feed on "owning the libs", you have a phrase for it!
You keep pretending that people with a simple difference in viewpoint or opinion, are merely engaging in spirited debate, and they are getting booted just for disagreeing. You know full well that is bullshit and you are being deliberately obtuse. The people getting banned dehumanize others, particularly marginalized people, by spewing hateful garbage. It’s idiots who have rejected factual truth about the election, which has spin so far out of control that our democracy has been undermined. It’s the kooks who continue to make up conspiracy theories and spread disinformation about the pandemic, and it’s resulting in people making decisions that result in death because they are misinformed. Fuck off with your little innocent act, you aren’t fooling anyone.

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

The residents of these states should really should demand these idiots repay their salary for the time they spent on this.

They wasted time, money, resources & ignored ACTUAL problems to score points with a base they are keeping divorced from reality.

For all of these politicians claiming you don’t need the vaccine or masks… why can’t the base ask if its not a real problem why are all of the politicians fully vaccinated?
Do they not have faith in what they are telling their faithful?
They can’t even explain the 1st Amendment without lying about what it says.
We make immigrants answer questions about our nation & its laws, perhaps we should hold politicians to a higher standard.
How can they represent our interests when they can’t even read the text of the 1st Amendment & understand it.

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Bruce C. says:

Re: New ISPs

Watching republicans twisting themselves into knots trying to prove that social media platforms are common carriers while simultaneously twisting themselves into knots trying to prove ISPs aren’t common carriers would be hilarious if it wasn’t so painful for everyone else too.

Even if they win this fight, they lose. Their own social media platforms would then be subject to the neutrality requirements.

Anonymous Coward says:

(4) The actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, religion, religious beliefs, political beliefs, political affiliation, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of a user or another person or of a class of users or a class of other persons.

A class of other persons. Hrm… Can be the empty set, right? So Twitter is not allowed to discriminate against me because I am a Black Lectroid from the 8th dimension, who believes that all monkeyboys should laugh while they still can…

More seriously, Facebook would not be allowed to take down actual, bona fide, sedition, treason and "credible threats"?

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m starting to think these people don’t understand what free speech means. It means you can say whatever you want without fear of GOVERNMENT interference. It doesn’t mean you can be a shitty person on a private platform and certainly doesn’t mean you are free of criticism nor does it mean people have to listen to you.

I’m so looking forward to my tax dollars being inevitably spent defending this stupid law in court.

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David says:

Drafting unconstitutional laws is not actually nonsense

While the laws are in orbit, they affect people, they effect the hedging of companies, they affect public opinions, they affect judicial and prosecutorial elections. Depending on how long they stay in orbit and how high, they have significant consequences.

Take a look at the Texas abortion laws where Texas pays private citizens for suing people over purported abortions and gives them qualified immunity. Clearly that part is unconstitutional and will ultimately have to be put down when reaching a full consideration of the Supreme Court, assuming the court is not as shameless as to let this go. But by refusing to look at it in any expedited schedule, the reactionarily poisoned court can give such laws a flight duration of years before they have to put them down on the merits, and in that duration they rule the lands.

Unconstitutional laws are not dead on arrival, they are just limited in their lifetime. And the more you manage to poison the judiciary, the longer their lifetime can be. In connection with venue shopping, they can effect a lot of damage while they stay on the books. And even the threat of putting them on the books causes companies to take precautions.

K`Tetch (profile) says:

Here in GA we do stupid like no other.

For instance, my rep here in GA is pushing a bill that would bad any kind of vaccine mandate unless it’s got 3 years of studies behind the vaccine.

Because when you need a mandate for a pandemic, you have to wait 3 years first….

She also made her priority rural broadband here. She’s done NOTHING oh, except write a bill (for the GA house) about imposing term limits on members of congress. You can’t make this shit up.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

For instance, my rep here in GA is pushing a bill that would bad any kind of vaccine mandate unless it’s got 3 years of studies behind the vaccine.

Some people see hundreds of thousands dead and think ‘This is horrible, these numbers could have been so much lower if sanity had prevailed and people had acted responsibly’.

Other people see hundreds of thousands dead and think ‘This is horrible, we should have been well over a million corpses by now, I’d better do something to ensure that for the next time!’

As monstrous and blindingly stupid as it is to make ‘arguing against health and safety measures’ a political stunt what really gets me is that someone would do something so abhorrent because they expect it to be effective in making them look better.

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Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

In the Warhammer 40,000 the Golden Throne requires 1000 human sacrifices a day; this is supposed to seem inhumanly monstrous. Today we’re sacrificing over 1000 humans a day to keep the gears of capitalism churning and no one bats an eye.

–r/antiwork

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Or, another analogy I’ve used many times myself.

On 9/11 the death of approx. 3000 people was considered such a huge and shocking event that it changed world history. During the pandemic, 3000 lives per day* are lost, and some people say that it’s just the cost of doing business and you shouldn’t inconvenience their daily lives as a result.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Another 'we HATE the first amendment' bill I see

As the Supreme Court of the United States has recognized, large social media platforms are the ‘modern public squares’

Hmm, does anyone know if the supreme court has semi-recently said anything else about social media platforms and their role as the ‘modern day public square’? I seem to recall Stephen might have a copy-paste that might be relevant there so I guess it’s my turn to gather the Dragon Balls for a summoning…

Always nice when more politicians make public statements telling the world how much they absolutely loathe the first amendment, free market, personal responsibility and property rights, all the more so when they give away the game by exempting ISP’s from their ‘you must carry everything‘ bill even though if your ISP cuts you off you lose access to all online platforms rather than just the one should a social media platform give you the boot.

Just a minor hint politicians throwing these bills out and the people they’re pandering to, if everyone keeps showing you the door the problem might not be on their end, and your continual insistence that it is is just making you look all the worse and foolish.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: YOUR WISH HAS BEEN GRANTED.

Social media services are not public fora. A Supreme Court ruling from 2019, for which Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote the majority opinion, doesn’t directly address social media but still provides the logic necessary to counter any “yes they are public fora” argument:

Under the Court’s cases, a private entity may qualify as a state actor when it exercises “powers traditionally exclusively reserved to the State.” … It is not enough that the federal, state, or local government exercised the function in the past, or still does. And it is not enough that the function serves the public good or the public interest in some way. Rather, to qualify as a traditional, exclusive public function within the meaning of our state-action precedents, the government must have traditionally and exclusively performed the function.

The Court has stressed that “very few” functions fall into that category. … Under the Court’s cases, those functions include, for example, running elections and operating a company town. … The Court has ruled that a variety of functions do not fall into that category, including, for example: running sports associations and leagues, administering insurance payments, operating nursing homes, providing special education, representing indigent criminal defendants, resolving private disputes, and supplying electricity. …

When the government provides a forum for speech (known as a public forum), the government may be constrained by the First Amendment, meaning that the government ordinarily may not exclude speech or speakers from the forum on the basis of viewpoint, or sometimes even on the basis of content[.]

By contrast, when a private entity provides a forum for speech, the private entity is not ordinarily constrained by the First Amendment because the private entity is not a state actor. The private entity may thus exercise editorial discretion over the speech and speakers in the forum. This Court so ruled in its 1976 decision in Hudgens v. NLRB. There, the Court held that a shopping center owner is not a state actor subject to First Amendment requirements such as the public forum doctrine[.]

The Hudgens decision reflects a commonsense principle: Providing some kind of forum for speech is not an activity that only governmental entities have traditionally performed. Therefore, a private entity who provides a forum for speech is not transformed by that fact alone into a state actor. After all, private property owners and private lessees often open their property for speech. Grocery stores put up community bulletin boards. Comedy clubs host open mic nights. As Judge Jacobs persuasively explained, it “is not at all a near-exclusive function of the state to provide the forums for public expression, politics, information, or entertainment[”.]

In short, merely hosting speech by others is not a traditional, exclusive public function and does not alone transform private entities into state actors subject to First Amendment constraints.

If the rule were otherwise, all private property owners and private lessees who open their property for speech would be subject to First Amendment constraints and would lose the ability to exercise what they deem to be appropriate editorial discretion within that open forum. Private property owners and private lessees would face the unappetizing choice of allowing all comers or closing the platform altogether. “The Constitution by no means requires such an attenuated doctrine of dedication of private property to public use.” … Benjamin Franklin did not have to operate his newspaper as “a stagecoach, with seats for everyone.” … That principle still holds true. As the Court said in Hudgens, to hold that private property owners providing a forum for speech are constrained by the First Amendment would be “to create a court-made law wholly disregarding the constitutional basis on which private ownership of property rests in this country.” … The Constitution does not disable private property owners and private lessees from exercising editorial discretion over speech and speakers on their property. …

A private entity … who opens its property for speech by others is not transformed by that fact alone into a state actor.

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Wyrm (profile) says:

When I use a word...

They are clearly trying their best to write the most stupid law out there.
Now, here comes a law that applies to all Common Carriers… except for all actual Common Carriers… and with the addition of some non Common Carriers.
It’s clear that politicians don’t like words, so they redefine them as they like.
I supposed the Humpty-Dumpty quote is due…

“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

And these politicians definitely think of themselves as the masters, not the public servants they are supposed to be.

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Chozen says:

Common Carrier Interchangeable Services

If common carrier requires "which means providing commodity-like, interchangeable services to transport goods or data from place a to place b" then how are phone companies considered common carriers under The Communications Act of 1934?

Mike as always will say anything he has to, to protect his Big Tech overlords. Mikes definition may have been true 2 centuries ago. But it hasn’t been true for a long time. As usual Mike is lying to his ever dwindling audience.

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Chozen says:

Re: Re: Common Carrier Interchangeable Services

It too the merry band of Mike’s misfits 2 days to come up with that response?

lol

1934 analog voice signal is not considered "data". Trying to claim that 1934 analog voice over wire is "data" is trying to pound a square peg into a round hole after you realized that Mike messed up yet again.

Mike’s fundamental problem is he fails to understand a simple concept " THE LAW!!!" This is not surprising when Mike argues that its perfectly fine for the tech overloads he works for to write ambitious contracts. Mike is by definition a scofflaw. He doesn’t believe in the rule of law as it relates to him and his chosen field.

A common carrier is what ever the hell the law says it is.

Prior to 1934 common carrier only related to transportation of goods and people.

In 1934 congress redefined it because that is a power congress has.

"(10) COMMON CARRIER.–The term ”common carrier” or ”carrier” means any person engaged as a common carrier for hire, in interstate or foreign communication by wire or radio or in interstate or foreign radio transmission of energy, except where reference is made to common carriers not subject to this Act; but a person engaged in radio broadcasting shall not, insofar as such person is so engaged, be deemed a common carrier."

If the US congress wishes to change the definition of common carrier to include social media, they can. What the current definition is or what Mike thinks the current definition is means absolutely nothing. Common Carrier is nothing more than a legal definition established by law which can be just as easily changed by law.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Common Carrier Interchangeable Services

"It too the merry band of Mike’s misfits 2 days to come up with that response?"

Lol. It you posted on a 3 day old thread with nonsense, and you think it’s a win because the only person to bother clicking the link on the email informing him that it was here took a day and a half to see it?

"If the US congress wishes to change the definition of common carrier to include social media, they can. What the current definition is or what Mike thinks the current definition is means absolutely nothing."

So, your argument is that what the rules actually are now don’t matter, the real issue to address is the possible future you made up in your head?

Why do you guys always base your arguments on a fictional reality?

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Chozen says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Common Carrier Interchangeable Services

Actually I posted days ago. It stood "in review" for days as Mike’s Misfits thought up a response.

"So, your argument is that what the rules actually are now don’t matter, the real issue to address is the possible future you made up in your head?"

What we are talking about here are proposals at the state and federal level to add social media to "common carrier" definition. Mike says ‘you cant do that, that isn’t what a common carrier is" what mike fails to mention is that his definition of "common carrier" is the 19th century version. "Common Carrier" is nothing more than a legal framework. Legal frameworks are changed by law or judicial precedent as technology changes.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Common Carrier Interchangeable Services

"Actually I posted days ago. It stood "in review" for days as Mike’s Misfits thought up a response."

OK… so why assume that didn’t happen to the person you responded to? You’ve chosen to log in so you can’t be the same idiot that posts 25 messages in a row then complains about the spam filter working, so surely you’re aware that a) other people get affected by the filter in the same way and b) people don’t check their email all the time.

"What we are talking about here are proposals at the state and federal level to add social media to "common carrier" definition"

Which is an idiotic and ridiculous proposal that seems to be based on a complete misunderstanding of what the term was ever meant to mean, let alone does mean.

By all means, argue as if your preferred definition must absolutely be true in the future, I just fear that you won’t like the unintended consequences you’ve asked for.

In the mean time, I prefer my articles to be talking about "this is what the law currently means" rather than "if my fantasy bill gets in this is how things will work".

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Chozen says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Common Carrier Interchangeable Services

"Which is an idiotic and ridiculous proposal that seems to be based on a complete misunderstanding of what the term was ever meant to mean, let alone does mean."

Whats idiotic is using a 1934 definition to regulate technology in 2022. But Mike isn’t even using the 1934 definition. He is using his own hodgepodge. I posted the current definition from the 1934 Communications Act which is the current operative definition of "common carrier". It says nothing about "data".

"In the mean time, I prefer my articles to be talking about "this is what the law currently means" rather than "if my fantasy bill gets in this is how things will work"

This is a thread about proposals by state governments to update their local regulatory laws to include social media as a common carrier, just as the law was updated in 1934 to include telecom. Your reasoning is completely circular.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Common Carrier Interchangeable Servi

"Whats idiotic is using a 1934 definition to regulate technology in 2022. "

Laws need to be updated, but only where relevant. Which, despite your obsession over 1934, has already happened since that law was written.

I can’t think of any description of a common carrier that exists in the real world currently and would be applicable to social media, especially if you’re trying to define it so narrowly that it only affects them and cannot affect other types of website.

"Your reasoning is completely circular."

No, your insistence that we ignore all current law and pretend that these proposals are already law is the faulty logic here. I’m simply asking that we start with the basics – what problems are being addressed here, why is changing the fundamental definition of common carrier the best way to achieve this, and what do you do about the collateral damage and unintended consequences that are inevitable with the current proposal? Going "let’s ignore how things actually work in real life right now and pretend that the bill has already passed" is not a way to answer these issues.

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Chozen says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Common Carrier Interchangeable Services

As I have said before it seems that Mike’s model is to fight tooth and nail to prevent any common regulatory law from being updated to include modern social media. And also to prevent any contract law from every being applied to big tech. ToS are legal contracts but they do not have to follow basic contract law. They can be written as ambigious as possible because "bad faith" actors.

Now we got GoFundMe facing real criminal investigations because they listen to people like Mike. They thought their ToS trumped the existing law on charitable giving. This of course isn’t true no contract can contradict existing law. The reason they think their ToS supersede the law is because they have peopled like Mike advising them it does.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Common Carrier Interchangeable Servi

"As I have said before it seems that Mike’s model is to fight tooth and nail to prevent any common regulatory law from being updated to include modern social media"

Except, that’s false. He might fight to prevent it from being updated in ways that completely overturn how those concepts work in the real world. If you’re trying to force the same common carrier status on to a social media site as exists on an ISP or telephone network, you’re either misunderstanding what a common carrier is on a fundamental level, or you really haven’t thought through the differences and why they’re relevant.

Which, of course, is why you want us to focus on your idealised fantasy version of what you think the term means instead of what it actually represents.

"Now we got GoFundMe facing real criminal investigations because they listen to people like Mike."

Do we? I don’t know which investigations you’re referring to, but I suspect you’re referring to the recent spate of people who have attempts to fundraise for legal funds despite that being against their T&Cs. But, where in the law is it stated that a private corporation has to help you do this?

Far better for these thin-skinned fools is to use a different service that does not have this clause in the T&Cs (as many grifters recently have done successfully).

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Chozen says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Common Carrier Interchangeable S

"Except, that’s false. He might fight to prevent it from being updated in ways that completely overturn how those concepts work in the real world. If you’re trying to force the same common carrier status on to a social media site as exists on an ISP or telephone network, you’re either misunderstanding what a common carrier is on a fundamental level, or you really haven’t thought through the differences and why they’re relevant."

Problem with your thinking is that updating common carrier to include Social Media is far less of a jump than when it was updated to include Telecom in 1934. Common Carrier is a legal frame work. Folding social media into that legal framework in no way lessees common carrier law anymore than adding telecom in 1934 lessened its meaning for shipping. Your argument is a complete non-sequitur.

"Do we? I don’t know which investigations you’re referring to, but I suspect you’re referring to the recent spate of people who have attempts to fundraise for legal funds despite that being against their T&Cs. But, where in the law is it stated that a private corporation has to help you do this?"

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Louisiana, West Virginia. GoFundMe believed that because their ToS said so that they had a right to hold a charitable contribution in trust and then direct that money to another party. They have since backed off but as far as state AGs are concerned its too late for that.

The Mike Masnick’s of the tech world are the reason GoFundMe was stupid enough to have something so blatantly illegal written into their ToS.

As I said before Mike’s job is to do what ever he can to preserve the regulatory wild wild west that is Big Tech.

John85851 (profile) says:

Theme park analogy

Let’s say I go to Walt Disney World, which is on private land, owned by a company, but open the public.
Can I rave about how great Universal Studios is? Okay, probably, since that’s tame.
But can I rant about how Disney is a soul sucking intuition that stomps on the public domain and is creatively bankrupt? No- I’d rightfully get tossed out for spoiling other people’s experiences.

But whenever I read about how politicians want to "block censorship", I’d like to ask them to publicly post the comments they want "un-censored". Will these politicians really stand behind the hateful and racist comments they post?

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