Policymakers Need To Realize How Any Internet Regulation Will Impact Speech

from the censorship-comes-in-many-forms dept

The internet is about speech. That’s basically all the internet is. It’s a system for communicating, and that communication is speech. What’s becoming increasingly frustrating to me is how in all of these attempts to regulate the internet around the globe, policymakers (and many others) seem to ignore that, and act as if they can treat internet issues like other non-speech industries. We see it over and over again. Privacy law for the internet? Has huge speech implications. Antitrust for the internet? Yup, speech implications.

That’s not to argue that all such regulations can’t be done in ways that don’t violate free speech rights, but to note that those who completely ignore the free speech implications of their regulations are going to create real problems for free speech.

The latest area where this is showing up is that the UN has been working on a “Cybercrime Treaty.” And, you can argue that having a more global framework for responding to internet-based crime sounds like a good thing, especially as such criminal behavior has been rapidly growing. However, the process is already raising lots of concerns about the potential impact on human rights. And, most specifically, there are massive concerns about how a Cybercrime Treaty might include speech related crimes.

So it is concerning that some UN Member States are proposing vague provisions to combat hate speech to a committee of government representatives (the Ad Hoc Committee) convened by the UN to negotiate a proposed UN Cybercrime treaty. These proposals could make it a cybercrime to humiliate a person or group, or insult a religion using a computer, even if such speech would be legal under international human rights law.

Including offenses based on harmful speech in the treaty, rather than focusing on core cybercrimes, will likely result in overbroad, easily abused laws that will sweep up lawful speech and pose an enormous menace to the free expression rights of people around the world. The UN committee should not make that mistake.

As we’ve been noting for years, “hate speech laws” are almost always abused by governments to silence dissent, rather than protect the marginalized. Indeed, one look at the countries pushing for the Cybercrime Treaty to include hate speech crimes should give you a sense of the intent of the backers:

For example, Jordan proposes using the treaty to criminalize “hate speech or actions related to the insulting of religions or States using information networks or websites,” while Egypt calls for prohibiting the “spreading of strife, sedition, hatred or racism.” Russia, jointly with Belarus, Burundi, China, Nicaragua, and Tajikistan, also proposed to outlaw a wide range of vaguely defined speech intending to criminalize protected speech: “the distribution of materials that call for illegal acts motivated by political, ideological, social, racial, ethnic, or religious hatred or enmity, advocacy and justification of such actions, or to provide access to such materials, by means of ICT (information and communications technology),” as well as “humiliation by means of ICT (information and communications technology) of a person or group of people on account of their race, ethnicity, language, origin or religious affiliation.”

It’s like a who’s who of countries known for oppressing dissent at every opportunity.

Once again, it’s reasonable to argue that there should be some more regulations for the internet, but if you don’t recognize how those will be abused to stifle speech, you’re a part of the problem.

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Comments on “Policymakers Need To Realize How Any Internet Regulation Will Impact Speech”

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135 Comments
Naughty Autie says:

Policymakers Need To Realize How Any Internet Regulation Will Impact Speech

TBH, there’s already regulation of speech online: you can’t encourage illegal acts, such as sending CSAM, and moderators generally make sure that doesn’t happen as well as regulating speech that falls outside any other rules. So what policymakers actually don’t realise is that Internet regulation already exists.

Raziel says:

Russia, jointly with Belarus, Burundi, China, Nicaragua, and Tajikistan, also proposed to outlaw a wide range of vaguely defined speech intending to criminalize protected speech: “the distribution of materials that call for illegal acts motivated by political, ideological, social, racial, ethnic, or religious hatred or enmity, advocacy and justification of such actions, or to provide access to such materials, by means of ICT (information and communications technology),” as well as “humiliation by means of ICT (information and communications technology) of a person or group of people on account of their race, ethnicity, language, origin or religious affiliation.

Personally, I would love it if Russia was to put that legislation in place, and then Putin found himself in a gulag for hating on members of the LGBT+ community. 😆

nerdrage (profile) says:

it's not about speech...

“The internet is about speech,” really? Not for a long time.

The internet is about influence, usually with the goal of making money by subscriptions or advertising. A smaller portion is about influence for political goals.

That influence is delivered through “speech,” which takes a wide variety of forms – fake news on Facebook, intrusive ads, ranting posts – but it all boils down to influence.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

“The internet is about speech,” really?

Yes, really.

You talk of influence, but before the Internet became about influence and clout-chasing and all that social media bullshit, it was about speech. Sure, some people published their speech with the intent to influence conversations and such. But a good chunk of them published speech with the intent to share their speech and let the chips fall where they may.

GameFAQs is a good example: White the site has forums where people can discuss their opinions, the primary draw of the site has been (and always will be) the eponymous FAQs. Those documents make up an entire library’s worth of knowledge about thousands of videogames spanning the entirety of gaming history. No one got paid to make FAQs (so far as I know), people tended to avoid sharing opinions in FAQs, and the whole point of the site was to catalog and share those FAQs in one easily searchable place.

Other fandom-centric spaces operated the same way. Example: The now-dead Anime Web Turnpike (“AniPike”) was little more than a link directory, but it arguably helped grow the Western anime fandom. People could gather information on their favorite anime that they couldn’t get any other way. They could grab scans of official art and be inspired to draw their own fanart. The AniPike didn’t feature opinion pieces or anything like that⁠—it was meant to be a way to share links to expressions of fandom and information that would help encourage more expression.

You talk of an Internet that has been poisoned by social media metrics and corporatized bullshit⁠—Web 2.ohfuckwhatnow, you might call it. Maybe I’m looking through rose-colored glasses at the Internet before Twitter and Facebook were even a thing, but the Internet wasn’t always about clout-chasing and influencing. In many ways, we’ve forgotten that because of social media⁠—because of people trying to get retweeted by a celebrity or dunking on people in the QRTs or whatever.

We don’t need to share our speech for the sake of seeking influence or clout. Maybe it’s enough to share our speech because we’re wired to share our ideas with others regardless of motive. If we influence others, cool⁠—but intentionally trying to chase that influence can lead us to forget that the expression itself is, was, and always will be more important than the influence.

The Internet is still about speech. This blog alone proves it.

Upstream (profile) says:

Speech "regulation"

TBH, there’s already regulation of speech online: . . .

This is probably the best example of how some of the Internet giants like FB, Twitter, Google, Amazon, et al have essentially side-loaded themselves as quasi-governmental entities. Their speech regulations are often far more limiting and far more effective than the regulations that many governments have in place or are proposing.

Yes, they are private entities and may regulate their sites as they please, but we should be wary of this trend of private entities essentially usurping the authority of civil government. I don’t think we want a return to the days when railroads were king.

Raziel says:

Re:

Their speech regulations are often far more limiting and far more effective than the regulations that many governments have in place or are proposing.

Yes, and? It would be a problem if they had the power to ban speech everywhere, but they don’t. You should worry more about the government, state or federal, banning speech, because they can stop you speaking your mind on whatever subject anywhere. Troll.

Upstream (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It would be a problem if they had the power to ban speech everywhere

The point I was trying to make is that we should be concerned about them getting in a position where they effectively can ban speech everywhere, or where they can otherwise function as an extralegal “branch,” or form, of government. The problems associated with private companies functioning as an outlaw surveillance arm of government are recurrent topics at Techdirt, Allowing private companies get in a position where they can function as outlaw censorship branches of government (or alt-government entities) would likewise be very problematic.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The point I was trying to make is that we should be concerned about them getting in a position where they effectively can ban speech everywhere

When Twitter can control what people say outside of Twitter, you let me know, and I’ll be glad to share your concerns. Until then: Twitter admins aren’t censoring people when said admins ban someone from Twitter.

And more to the point: If Twitter were to shut down tomorrow with no warning, what the hell could⁠—or should⁠—the government do to force Twitter into going back up?

Upstream (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It would be a problem if they had the power to ban speech everywhere

The point I was trying to make is that we should be concerned about them getting in a position where they effectively can ban speech everywhere, or where they can otherwise function as an extralegal “branch,” or form, of government. The problems associated with private companies functioning as an outlaw surveillance arm of government are recurrent topics at Techdirt. Allowing private companies get in a position where they can function as outlaw censorship branches of government (or alt-government censorship entities) would likewise be very problematic.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Their speech regulations are often far more limiting and far more effective than the regulations that many governments have in place or are proposing.

And yet many, many orders of magnitude more liberating than those their predecessors did (and still do) adhere to. Including the same predecessors who were, interestingly enough, actually around when “railroads were king.” Isn’t it fascinating how only the ones who allow the most speech are accused of suppressing speech, while the ones who suppress nearly all speech are looked back on as the good old days?

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Hyman Rosen (profile) says:

"silence dissent, rather than protect the marginalized"

Freedom of speech allows people to speak. It is not “for” the powerful or the powerless. It is for everyone. The private platforms that are the main sites where people now gather to speak silence dissent all the time. But the people here at TechDirt like this silencing because it is the silencing of speech with which they disagree, so they are happy to support such censorship on the ground that it is legal, without considering that such silencing is immoral and against the principles of free speech and freedom in general.

Over and over again, we see speech platforms, web service providers, and payment processors discriminate against their users and customers based on the viewpoints those users espouse. This is wrong. That we have not yet found a framework for dealing properly with corporate freedom versus public freedom does not make it less wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I repeat the questions I asked you in another thread:-

Are sites allowed to remove spam, as under your interpretation of free speech, is a 1st amendment violation?

Do you consider compelled speech a 1st amendment violation, and if so, why do you keep on demanding forced speech for yourself.

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Hyman Rosen (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Sites are allowed to remove anything they want. As I keep saying, but you refuse to hear because you are enjoying the censorship regime, I an urging that the large speech platforms refrain from viewpoint-based censorship, even though the law allows them to do it. I am not in any way insisting that they must do anything, only that they should.

Were I to pick a global moderation scheme, it would be to remove spam, impersonation, repetitive noise, and fighting-words harassment. I would also provide the ability for groups on the service to self-moderate in any way they like, and to have system-wide moderation modules that could be opted into individually.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

In these two short paragraphs you demonstrate quite the ignorance of how content moderation actually works. I’m not surprised, but just noting.

I an urging that the large speech platforms refrain from viewpoint-based censorship, even though the law allows them to do it. I am not in any way insisting that they must do anything, only that they should.

This IS how almost all of the large social media platforms operated. And then idiot shitweasels used that openness to attack, harass, abuse others. And so the platforms cracked down on that, and the idiot shitweasels made up this phrase “viewpoint-based” to pretend that they were political martyrs rather than abusive, harassing trolls.

Were I to pick a global moderation scheme, it would be to remove spam, impersonation, repetitive noise, and fighting-words harassment

This basically is what every platform does. Your problem is that you’re one of the crew who is abusive and harassing, so you pretend that you and your friends are facing “viewpoint censorship” when really the platforms (including ours) are telling you to STOP BEING AN ASSHOLE to our other users.

I would also provide the ability for groups on the service to self-moderate in any way they like, and to have system-wide moderation modules that could be opted into individually.

I also advocate for this in general, but unlike you, I recognize that this is not a solution to trolls and harassing idiots. It’s one tool, but you still need some way to deal with the really bad actors.

I know, I know, you don’t consider yourself a bad actor. You’re just searching for truth. It’s just that your truth involves harassing and abusing people whose viewpoints YOU don’t like until they’re silent and no longer willing to engage. But in your book that’s not silencing speech.

Because you’re an asshole.

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Hyman Rosen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

You are correct that I believe that robustly disputing someone else’s wrong ideas is not the same as silencing them. No one is entitled to present their ideas as incontrovertible fact.

You may choose to define such robust disagreement as “being an asshole” (or “spreading hatred”), but that’s simply your way of silencing opposition to your views (which views are in fact in the minority in America: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/06/28/how-and-why-we-surveyed-americans-about-their-views-on-gender-identity/).

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

You are correct that I believe that robustly disputing someone else’s wrong ideas is not the same as silencing them.

You are misrepresenting what I said. Obviously, because there is no defense to the reality. Of course “robustly disputing someone else’s wrong ideas is not the same as silencing them.” I have no problem with robustly disputing wrong ideas. Hell, it’s my specialty.

What I said was that asshole who are DELIBERATELY bullying people into submission, to the point that they are scared for their lives, or unwilling to speak up for threats of violence, are not being “censored” for “viewpoint” discrimination, but FOR BEING AN ASSHOLE and disrupting a community.

And I stand by that, no matter how much you wish to twist the fact that you are a bigoted asshole obsessed with the genitalia of others into a disagreement about “viewpoints.” You are free to be as sick, perverted, and twisted as you wish to be. And you are free to say whatever stupid, nonsensical pabulum you wish.

But when it’s designed to deliberately disrupt, suppress, and silence people by encouraging violence, suppression, and silencing, then I have a fucking problem.

Why? Because I actually believe in free speech, and I don’t like it when pathetic children like yourself try to silence marginalized voices. And even worse, when you pretend you actually support free speech while seeking to marginalize at risk people even more, because you don’t like their genitals, well, fuck man, you’re just sick.

So, don’t come on my site and pretend you’re some noble defender of free speech. You’re not. You’ve spent months here trying to push for further putting marginalized people who just want to live their lives, at risk. And someone’s gotta call out that shit.

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Hyman Rosen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

You are a fair-weather free speech advocate, right up to the point where that freedom successfully threatens your cherished beliefs. Which means that you are no advocate for freedom at all, in fact the opposite.

Marginalized people do not have a greater claim on truth than mainstream people. They can be just as wrong in their ideas as anyone else. “Wanting to live one’s life” does not require anyone else to affirm that their ideas are true.

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Master Yoda says:

Re: Re: Re:5

You are a fair-weather free speech advocate, right up to the point where that freedom successfully threatens your cherished beliefs. Which means that you are no advocate for freedom at all, in fact the opposite.

Strong in this one the projection is. Hrrrm, yes.

Mainstream people do not have a greater claim on truth than marginalized people just because they’re a bigger group. They can be just as wrong in their ideas as anyone else. “Feeling uncomfortable with difference” does not require anyone else to fundamentally change who they are.

Fixed that for you. Welcome you are.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5

“Wanting to live one’s life” does not require anyone else to affirm that their ideas are true.

While a crusading campaign against such beliefs, like you carry out, is nothing more that bullying. There is a difference between ‘not affirm’ and going on the offensive, and you are a long way over that line.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

“Wanting to live one’s life” does not require anyone else to affirm that their ideas are true.

But it does require assholes like you to stop trying to control trans people’s lives by making them afraid of living in the public sphere. You can accept the existence and identities of trans people without actually giving up your hate for trans people. Why should they have to give up their existence/identity to assuage your personal comfort, you hateful son of a bitch?

Hyman Rosen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6

The only things they have to give up are trying to force their way into spaces for which their bodies disqualify them, and trying to force everyone, from grade schoolers on up, to affirm their beliefs about themselves.

As I have said many times, gender ideology is no different than religion. People can believe anything they like, but they will not be permitted to compel anyone else to affirm their beliefs. No amount of your cursing at me is going to change that in the slightest.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

The only things they have to give up are trying to force their way into spaces for which their bodies disqualify them, and trying to force everyone, from grade schoolers on up, to affirm their beliefs about themselves.

Let me rephrase that to get to the heart of your beliefs:

The only thing trans people have to give up is their entire sense of identity so cis people can feel comfortable and never have to think about trans people being a thing ever again.

You’re the one who’s so hateful towards trans people that you’re dismissing the assault of a trans person who did exactly what you and your transphobic allies said they should do. You’re the one who’s so obsessed with trans people’s genitals that you’re one step away from recommending mandatory “conversion ‘therapy’ ” for trans people. You’re the one who has such a problem with the existence of trans people that you refuse to give them, even in a comments section on the Internet, any respect for their humanity.

And you wonder why Mike started holding your comments back.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7

The only things they have to give up are trying to force their way into spaces for which their bodies disqualify them…

Why the hatred against intersex people, dude?

…and trying to force everyone, from grade schoolers on up, to affirm their beliefs about themselves.

Intersex is a physical and/or chromosomal reality, actually, not merely a “belief”. But you know that, hence your discrimination against intersex people.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

You are a fair-weather free speech advocate, right up to the point where that freedom successfully threatens your cherished beliefs.

Bullshit, Hyman. I have been a consistent and unwavering free speech maximalist. I’ve done more fighting for free speech than you could ever do in 10 lifetimes. But that INCLUDES the right of association and for private companies to say “not here on my property.”

I am all for you to be able to say whatever sick fuck thing you want to say. But I disagree with your demented moral compass that says that any private operation ought to help you spread your harassment, abuse, and perversion.

Find your own corner to say what you want. Don’t demand that others platform you when they don’t wish to support you.

That’s what free speech is about. I’ll defend against any attempt by the government to silence you. And I will defend your right to create your own spaces online where you can say whatever you want — just as I’ve long defended the rights of things like 4chan to exist, along with other alternative social media.

The problem is that you keep insisting that Twitter has some moral duty to platform bigots and assholes who are harassing others. And that’s ridiculous. As I noted, your position is effectively saying that you’re fine with silencing people if you think they should have different genitalia, and that you can shame them into silence.

Twitter has a different viewpoint. It says that if you want to use their platform to speak, you should show a modicum of respect to others. You don’t wish to respect others. You wish to shame, harass, and abuse others because of your weird obsession with what’s in their pants.

Each are decisions. I find yours to be twisted and creepy. I find Twitter’s position of respecting the viewpoints of others to be much more reasonable.

And each of you are allowed to have your positions, but you keep insisting that Twitter must bend to your sick position. And that’s the height of narcissistic ego: that your sick moral view of the world is the only right one.

Marginalized people do not have a greater claim on truth than mainstream people.

I never claimed they did. Why are you making shit up? Oh, I know, because you cannot defend your indefensible position on any actual merits.

“Wanting to live one’s life” does not require anyone else to affirm that their ideas are true.

No one is demanding that you “affirm that their ideas are true.” They’re just asking you to stop harassing them. That’s it. Stop harassing. Stop denying their existence. You don’t have to agree with them. You don’t have to affirm shit. Just stop obsessing over what’s in their pants and putting them and their lives at risk.

Why is that so difficult for you? I don’t care what genitalia other people have. Let them do what they want. Let them live their life. You don’t have to affirm shit. Just stop attacking them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4

…when you pretend you actually support free speech while seeking to marginalize at risk people even more, because you don’t like their genitals…

TBH, it’s not that Hyman doesn’t like people’s genitals, it’s simply that he doesn’t like women with penises having the right to call themselves women and to dress in accordance with their gender identity.

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Hyman Rosen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

More precisely, I believe that men should not be able to force other people to call them women, and they should not be able to silence people who disagree with their beliefs about themselves. They should be able to call themselves anything they like and dress any way they like.

My problem has always and only been with forcing other people to affirm and not dispute things they don’t believe, including forcing admittance into spaces for which the people already there do not believe they are qualified to enter.

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Raziel says:

Re: Re: Re:6

My problem has always and only been with forcing other people to affirm and not dispute things they don’t believe, including forcing admittance into spaces for which the people already there do not believe they are qualified to enter.

Actually, that’s what fraudsters do, not trans people.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6

I’m glad some of your transphobic bullshit got through for once. That gives me a chance to bring up something that should make your bullshit much harder to defend.

Noah Ruiz, a transgender male who lives in Ohio, was recently visiting a campground in Camden that he’d been going to since he was 12. Back then, the campground’s owner told his family that he should use the bathroom that matches his genitals⁠—i.e., the women’s restroom. He’d never had any problems with doing that…until this past July 3rd, when the decision to use the bathroom that aligns with his biological sex⁠—something you and your TERF allies have said trans people should do⁠—led to Ruiz being assaulted.

Your transphobia isn’t about some imagined sense of victimization⁠—about someone controlling you by “forcing” you into “silence” about trans people. It’s about controlling them by forcing them out of public life. If a trans person can’t go out in public without worrying about whether they’ll be assaulted for using a public restroom/toilet (regardless of which one they use), they’re not going to go out in public all that much. They’ll stay isolated and out of the public sphere and likely silence themselves⁠—and that’s all you and your “friends” want: their silence under your control.

You should know, by the by, that your “friends” won’t stop at trans people. Once they’ve gotten their way on that front by sufficiently ostracizing (or outlawing) the existence of trans people, they’ll come for queer people next. All the attacks on trans people are an attempt to wedge the trans community away from the broader queer community⁠—to separate the LGB from the T so the T will be much easier to pick off. But the transphobes will circle back for the LGB; of that, you can be certain. After all, look at the United States: With Roe having fallen and Clarence Thomas having implied that the court might knock down Obergefell, do you really think Lawrence v. Texas and other laws/court precedents that protect queer people will be far behind?

(Incidentally, if you’ve ever wanted to know why even queer cops aren’t typically welcomed at Pride events: They’re the ones who’ll be arresting queer people if those laws/precedents fall.)

You want to whine about being “forced” to acknowledge and accept someone else’s existence as if that means you can’t hate them any more. You can still hate trans people even if you accept their existence and identity. (Similarly: I accept Donald Trump’s existence and I still hate the man so much that I plan to throw a pizza party when he dies.) What you and your transphobe allies want is to control whether trans people can even exist in the public sphere⁠—whether everyone else gets to acknowledge and accept them.

If you’re still wondering why people like me think an asshole like you is a fascist, that’s your problem. You can’t make me solve it for you.

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Hyman Rosen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

When I once brought up a case of a transwoman prisoner raping a woman prisoner, you or one of the other commenters here dismissed a single case as irrelevant.

People who assault others should be arrested. People who live outside of social norms are sometimes going to encounter difficult situations, because sometimes other people are awful.

I don’t wonder why people like you think I’m fascist. I know why. People like you have adopted an ideology that is false, and because it is false, it requires constant shoring up by attacks on its opponents, in the way true beliefs do not. Religions have always needed to burn heretics.

You have my beliefs exactly reversed. I neither hate transgender people nor refuse to accept that they exist. But what they believe about themselves is false, at odds with physical reality, and they cannot be permitted to compel others to accept those beliefs as true.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8

When I once brought up a case of a transwoman prisoner raping a woman prisoner, you or one of the other commenters here dismissed a single case as irrelevant.

Was that the person claiming that gay and trans people are perfect, all violence stems from straight people, and all Christians are pedophiles? Not exactly representative of the TD community generally.

I neither hate transgender people nor refuse to accept that they exist. But what they believe about themselves is false

Denying that they are what they say they are is the same thing as denying that they exist.

they cannot be permitted to compel others to accept those beliefs as true.

Nobody around here is asking for that.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8

You have my beliefs exactly reversed. I neither hate transgender people nor refuse to accept that they exist. But what they believe about themselves is false, at odds with physical reality, and they cannot be permitted to compel others to accept those beliefs as true.

See, that’s why I call you a fascist. You’re all but saying that you’ll actively work towards a society in which trans people won’t be “permitted” to even so much as ask for others to respect trans people’s identities.

You can say “I don’t hate trans people” all you want. But holding on to your beliefs about how you treat trans people⁠—and how you think society should treat them⁠—requires that you hate trans people on some level. Your shitty beliefs wouldn’t exist without that hate.

Hyman Rosen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9

Gender ideologues demand that people be allowed into single-sex spaces for which their bodies disqualify them. They demand that their notions about gender be universally taught as true. They demand that schools hide children’s notions about their gender from their parents. That is not asking for respect, it is forcibly trampling over other people’s rights and beliefs.

Having respect for other’s beliefs means accepting that other people hold beliefs different than one’s own, and that they have a right to do so, and to act on those beliefs. It has never meant accepting that those beliefs are true, nor being required to one’s self act as if those beliefs are true. Jews, Hindus, Muslims, and vegetarians can choose not to eat bacon cheeseburgers. They can believe it is wrong and sinful to eat bacon cheeseburgers. But they cannot compel the cafeteria to stop serving bacon cheeseburgers nor people to stop eating them.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10

Gender ideologues demand that people be allowed into single-sex spaces for which their bodies disqualify them. They demand that their notions about gender be universally taught as true. They demand that schools hide children’s notions about their gender from their parents.

Literally none of this is true. There are certain propaganda media sources that CLAIM it as true, and you appear to be under their sway as a gullible individual. But it’s not true.

It does not surprise me that you are a gullible fool, but you should try to maybe not be such a fool.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:11

Literally none of this is true.

To give Hyman a microscopic bit of fairness, what he’s saying does have some kernels of truth buried in all the bullshit. You only have to remember that “gender ideologues” refers to trans people (and their allies, more often than not). To wit:

Gender ideologues demand that people be allowed into single-sex spaces for which their bodies disqualify them.

Translation: “Trans people want to know which public restrooms they can use without fear of being beaten (or worse).”

They demand that their notions about gender be universally taught as true.

Translation: “Trans people want people to learn about the existence of trans people so their existence will be normalized and the hate that trans people experience might lessen in the future.”

They demand that schools hide children’s notions about their gender from their parents.

Translation: “Trans people would far prefer a queer kid⁠—be they trans or gay or whatever⁠—not be outed to their parents if their parents don’t already know, since forced outing can lead to negative consequences (including possibly the death of that child).”

See? Hyman’s “worries” are less about “gender ideologues forcing wokeness on people” and more about trans people asking⁠—merely asking!⁠—for some basic-ass personal consideration. Hyman cares only about hating them, which means he’ll ignore trans people’s requests for basic-level respect and recognition of their human dignity. If a trans person dies because they were beaten for using a public restroom (which one they use is ultimately irrelevant), Hyman will never connect the exterminationist rhetoric of himself and his TERF allies to the actions of that trans person’s killer(s). Bigots often lack the capacity for self-reflection in a way that makes them wonder if they’re the bad guys for wanting an entire class of people to fuck off forever only because they exist.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:13

They’re not “demanding” any of the things he’s claiming they’re demanding

In Hyman’s mind, trans people asking for these things⁠—often with no expectation of getting them!⁠—is the same situation as “woke gender ideologues” (whatever the fuck that means) demanding those things be codified into law and written into the Bible “or else”. Dude is insanely obsessed with the literally 1% of the population he hates asking for basic human dignity from the other 99%. Like, what does he expect trans people to do about using a public restroom when using the gender-correlating restroom is apparently worthy of being punished under the law and using the sex-correlating restroom could end with a trans person being beaten (or worse)? (Not that he cares if trans people are beaten [or worse], but still.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:14

…“woke gender ideologues” (whatever the fuck that means)…

I think a “woke gender ideologue” might be anybody who asks for a basic level of respect for anybody whose gender presentation isn’t as “gender critics” like Hyman expect it to be, and therefore “deserves” the same high amount of hatred and disrespect as they inflict on trans people.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10

Gender ideologues demand that people be allowed into single-sex spaces for which their bodies disqualify them.

A trans person literally did exactly what you and your exterminationist allies keep saying they should do in that regard and got beaten up for it.

Yes or no: Should trans people have the right to use a public restroom without fearing for their safety? (If “no”: Why not?)

Having respect for other’s beliefs means accepting that other people hold beliefs different than one’s own, and that they have a right to do so, and to act on those beliefs. It has never meant accepting that those beliefs are true, nor being required to one’s self act as if those beliefs are true.

A well-known athlete whose given name was once Cassius Clay changed his name later in life because of his belief system. Yes or no: Do you call him Muhammad Ali? (If “yes”: For what reason can’t you do the same thing for a trans person who asks you to stop using their deadname?)

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

I’m not surprised you’d answer that way. But since you’re all for demanding platforms to host that kind of speech:

Would Twitter letting trolls and assholes run Jewish users run off the platform (by way of flooding the mentions of those users with pro-Holocaust speech) be more or less morally heinous that Twitter choosing to ban that kind of speech? Remember that under the logic of your arguments on this matter to date, speech celebrating the Holocaust is an expression of a legitimate viewpoint, Twitter shouldn’t “censor” (read: punish) any user in any way for expressing that viewpoint, and any consequences that might arise from the expression of said viewpoint (e.g., Jewish Twitter users abandoning the service) is an equivalent exchange for assholes getting to have their “freedom”.

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Hyman Rosen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

Part of free speech is that no one gets a victim’s veto. People are allowed to disagree with what you believe, be it your religion, your lifestyle, your looks, your life choices, of anything else. They may do so robustly. The solution for people who do not want to see this is subgroup moderation, where like-minded people can gather to see only the speech they want.

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Hyman Rosen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6

It is; the difference is where it’s carried out. The large platforms have set themselves up as sites for everyone to speak, and (at least in Facebook) provide for smaller groups of people to dedicate spaces for particular discussions.

Because the large platforms have become the place where everyone gathers to speak, those sites have a moral (but not legal) duty not to impose viewpoint-based censorship on their users. Those users themselves, however, can avail themselves of the tools to moderate based on anything they want. That way, people’s freedom of speech is preserved overall on the platform, since anyone can start a group, splinter off from a different one, and so on, and simultaneously people can maintain interest groups dedicated to one-sided opinions if they so choose.

Size and ubiquity really do matter.

Here’s an example. Facebook has a Kosher Costco group and a Kosher Trader Joe’s group. The former allows discussion of which kosher certification marks are “acceptable”, while the later does not. (If you think arguments over gender identity get bitter, you haven’t seen discussions about whether to eat cheese certified with the Tablet-K mark.) Those groups should certainly be able to moderate as they like, but it would be ridiculous for Facebook itself to adopt a kosher certification policy.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

The large platforms have set themselves up as sites for everyone to speak

Plenty of smaller services also set themselves up the same way. What makes their right to moderate speech any more “morally righteous”?

Because the large platforms have become the place where everyone gathers to speak, those sites have a moral (but not legal) duty not to impose viewpoint-based censorship on their users.

No, they don’t. What you want is for those platforms to moderate nothing except illegal speech⁠—even if that means other users get chased off by a flood of spam, porn, bigotry, and other heinous speech. We have sites like that: They’re called 4chan and…whatever the fuck 8kun is calling itself these days.

If you still think that’s a good thing, I have a challenge for you: Go to 4chan’s /b/ board and stay there for one uninterrupted hour. You don’t have to view individual threads; you need only browse the front page of that board and refresh it for updates once you’re done reading the page in its current state. Here are the other ground rules:

  • You must read the text of every post.
  • You must keep all images visible at all times and view as many of them as possible at full size.
  • You must view every video file that you come across.
  • You must not use any adblockers, userscripts, or browser extensions to hide offensive content.
  • The only exception to these rules can, will, and should be made for any CSAM you may run across as you browse.

If you can last the full hour without feeling disgusted with yourself or humanity⁠—without wondering why anyone would want to host that speech, would want to post that speech, would want to experience that speech⁠—only then will you have earned the right to argue in favor of your argument, which would essentially turn the entire Internet into 4chan. If you can’t last the full hour…well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

people’s freedom of speech is preserved overall on the platform

If Twitter were to shut down tomorrow, what could⁠—or even should⁠—the U.S. government do to “preserve the freedom of speech” of Twitter’s userbase?

Size and ubiquity really do matter.

Only because you and your fascist allies want to force your speech onto the kinds of platforms where said speech isn’t welcome. I don’t see you making nearly the same kind of stink about Truth Social or individual Mastodon instances pulling “viewpoint-based censorship” (read: moderating speech they don’t want to host) as you do about Twitter and Facebook doing that.

Hyman Rosen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8

The existence of /b/ means that there are people interested in its content. They shouldn’t be stopped from enjoying themselves. I browsed it for a few minutes, and found it basically random and silly, a bunch of childish acting out.

To “prevent the whole internet from becoming /b/”, do what 4chan itself does; provide subgroups with their own moderation strategies related to their topics. Provide optional moderation to whatever standards users ask for, with optional being the key, so that people can choose what to see, and with defaults set to what most people want.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9

I browsed it for a few minutes

Coward.

To “prevent the whole internet from becoming /b/”, do what 4chan itself does; provide subgroups with their own moderation strategies related to their topics.

For what reason should Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media service do that other than you wanting them to do that?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9

I was from 4chan, you fuckinng NeoNazi.

We don’t want your fucking ilk there. And yet, your kind ignored that message and used the place like your own house.

A house you fucking stole from its users.

We don’t want you or your ilk. We’d rather you go to 8chan or any of the places Jim Watkins made to scam your fascist ilk, because that’s what you deserve.

I’d partly blame it on the lack of effective moderation, because too much trust was placed on the users to ferret out this kind of sick filth. We just never knew NeoNazis needed more than what the community could do, ie, actual moderation, and if need be, worse.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5

Your problem is when you disagree ith someone, you will robustly tell them and everybody else about your disagreement at every opportunity. You do that to the extent that you are obsessed with telling people they are wrong, and then complain that they do not want you around.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

the purpose of free speech is so that people who do not want opponents around do not, in fact, get to silence them

By that logic, people who don’t want transphobes around on their property can’t give them the boot because “free speech”. Fascist as fuck, dude.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

Part of free speech is that no one gets a victim’s veto.

And yet, you’ve heavily implied that you believe aggrieved assholes should have such a veto by way of their cries of “victimization” override Twitter’s right to moderate speech. The rank stench of fascist hypocrisy is starting to become much clearer in your posts, dude.

The solution for people who do not want to see this is subgroup moderation, where like-minded people can gather to see only the speech they want.

And yet, you’ve heavily implied that any “subgroup” on a “generic speech platform” can’t do that because the platform has to allow speech such as pro-Holocaust propaganda. You’ve all but said that Twitter shouldn’t be able to moderate speech in a way that protects everyone⁠—but especially Jewish users⁠—from having to see that speech. (And yes, that speech would be in the mentions of as many users as possible. Assholes gon’ asshole.)

And since plenty of smaller social media services set themselves up as “generic speech platforms”, even if they have an intended userbase in mind, your calls for such platforms to avoid moderation based on “viewpoint” would preclude those platforms from banning speech their admins (and users) don’t want to see on those platforms. You want to override their wishes, their desires, their rights for the sake of forcing them to host speech.

Oh, and don’t give me that “BuT i DoN’t WaNt To FoRcE sPeEcH” counterargument. I’ve been over the reasons why your argument’s logic will eventually settle on using the law to force that speech onto those platforms. If you think hosting heinous speech that the average platform otherwise wouldn’t host is something those platforms “should” be doing, you’re not going to make that happen by asking nicely⁠—you’re going to make it happen with threats of legal action. That’s your fascist endgame and you need to accept both that fact and your own fascist tendencies before you can have any sort of good-faith discussion with anyone here.

Hyman Rosen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6

You like the viewpoint-based censorship that the platforms are providing for you, so you keep insisting that I want to force the platforms to stop doing that, despite the fact that I do not want that.

A platform which designates itself as a generic place for all people to speak should not be censoring people based on viewpoint, but to be useful, it should provide a way for subgroups to limit their contents too whatever the organizers want. Because the platform is not bound by the 1st Amendment, it can do overall moderation in any way it likes, so it can avoid the excesses of /b/ if it so chooses, but that is not the same as excluding particular viewpoints.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

The private platforms that are the main sites where people now gather to speak silence dissent all the time.

So what? Those platforms aren’t obligated by any law⁠—secular, religious, moral, or ethical⁠—to carry everyone’s speech. All of them can tell you to go pound sand if you break their rules and all you can do is whine about it.

the people here at TechDirt like this silencing because it is the silencing of speech with which they disagree

That speech isn’t “silenced” if Twitter refuses to host it. Look at Jordan Peterson: He’s essentially been banned from Twitter, but he still has outlets for sharing his transphobic bullshit.

such silencing is immoral

Which actions-and-consequences combination would be more immoral: Twitter deciding not to host certain kinds of speech and maybe banning some assholes who break the rules, or Twitter deciding to host all legal speech and watching marginalized Twitter users (e.g., trans users) abandon the platform because of the incessant harassment made possible by that decision?

Your problem is that you think the rules are too limiting⁠—that “freedom” should be more important than rules. But with the right rules, our freedom is more expanded than without them. Consider the following, quoted from The Weekly Sift (bolding emphasis replaces the original italic emphasis):

Traffic rules, for example, are what makes the road system usable. Even if all the same slabs of concrete stayed in place, it would take forever to drive from New England to Florida, as I do every December, if there were no traffic rules. In theory, getting rid of the rules means I could drive 100 mph and get there much faster. But there’s no way I would do that in reality, for fear that some other guy was using my lane to go 100 mph in the opposite direction.

Without the rules, the whole plan of driving to Florida would be unworkable. I would lose that option, and hence be less free. Because freedom isn’t maximized by having no rules; it’s maximized by having the right rules.

Twitter’s rules about what speech is and isn’t permissible exist to maximize the freedom of a majority of users⁠—to let themselves express themselves without (too much) fear of harassment and such. Get rid of those rules and the only people who’d have that freedom are the loudest assholes: They’d be chasing everyone off and leaving Twitter in the throes of the “Worst People” Problem.

we see speech platforms, web service providers, and payment processors discriminate against their users and customers based on the viewpoints those users espouse

Of those three, the absolute worst of the bunch⁠—and a legitimate route of censorship, might I add⁠—is the payment processor bit. (Content creators who deal with adult content can tell you that much.) Service providers at the infrastructure level (e.g., CloudFlare) choosing not to host some kinds of speech is questionable; it depends on how high up on the food chain that service is and whether its decision prevents a speaker from finding a new home for their speech. (This also raises concerns about compelled speech: Should CloudFlare be forced to host racist sites like Stormfront if the company’s higher-ups don’t want to host it?)

But “speech platforms” have no such moral quandries: Any interactive web service, regardless of size, can say “this speech isn’t welcome here” and tell anyone who disagrees to fuck off. By arguing otherwise, you’re arguing that everything from white supremacist forums to queer-centered Mastodon instances to host speech they otherwise wouldn’t host.

Don’t give me a “BuT tWiTtEr Is BiG” argument, either. Size is irrelevant here. Twitter isn’t obliged to give you access to a potential audience of one, never mind one million. Neither is Facebook, 4chan, Discord, or any other IWS.

That we have not yet found a framework for dealing properly with corporate freedom versus public freedom does not make it less wrong.

Sincere question: For what reason should you have the freedom to use Twitter if Twitter’s admins don’t want you using it? Please note that “because it’s big”, “because I think that’s how it should be”, and any answer like those will be dismissed as bullshit. Please also note that an answer calling Twitter a “public forum” and crafting an argument built on that claim will be ignored⁠—the law in the U.S. says that Twitter is still a privately owned service regardless of its size and its open-to-the-public status.

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Hyman Rosen (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Because I think that’s how it should be” is actually the only legitimate answer. That’s anyone’s only legitimate answer. People think about issues, weigh priorities, come to conclusions, and then say what those are.

And yet again, as always, you are so blinded by your love of viewpoint-based censorship when you don’t like those views that you seem incapable of understanding that I am not saying that I should be able to use Twitter if Twitter doesn’t want me there. I m saying that, as a widely used (and yes, large) generic speech platform, Twitter should not want to ban users based on their viewpoints, and instead should respect the freedom of speech of their users. It is entirely their choice whether to be immoral censors or moral enablers of speech.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Because I think that’s how it should be” is actually the only legitimate answer.

Except it’s not an answer⁠—it’s you putting your wishes and desires above both the law and the wishes and desires of Twitter’s admins. It’s you thinking your way is right without any logical explanation as to why your way should override their way other than an appeal to emotion via your whining about “moral wrongness”.

I am not saying that I should be able to use Twitter if Twitter doesn’t want me there

Except the logical endgame of your “Twitter should host all speech” argument is “I should be able to use Twitter even if they don’t want to host my speech”. You may think otherwise, but following your argument through its basic-ass logic can only lead to that conclusion.

as a widely used (and yes, large) generic speech platform, Twitter should not want to ban users based on their viewpoints

Spam is protected speech. Spam expresses a viewpoint. Should Twitter also not want to delete spam?

[Twitter] should respect the freedom of speech of their users

Freedom of speech doesn’t include the right to use someone else’s property as a platform⁠—or the right to make someone else give you an audience. Twitter isn’t bound by the First Amendment; its moderation of speech is legally protected. Whatever you think of the viewpoints it “censors”, Twitter isn’t obligated to host any of them. Neither is any other interactive web service⁠—after all, the same law that lets Twitter moderate speech also lets Truth Social do the same.

It is entirely their choice whether to be immoral censors or moral enablers of speech.

Yes or no: Would letting a small number of users chase off a larger number of users by posting all kinds of spam, queerphobic propaganda, and racist memes⁠—among other “viewpoint-oriented” kinds of content currently banned by the ToS⁠—make Twitter a “moral enabler of speech”?

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Hyman Rosen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Not spam, not fighting words, but otherwise, allowing such speech would make Twitter a moral enabler of speech.

Platforms should provide means for groups to self-moderate as they wish, and people who cannot stand to see unfettered speech, or simply want to associate only with those that believe their ideas are true can do so.

Under the guise of seeking comity, what you actually want is to place a heavy thumb on the scale in favor of your side in the culture wars, declaring that only your side may state its ideas and beliefs despite the fact that tens or hundreds of millions of people believe the opposite.

Master Yoda says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Under the guise of seeking comity, what you actually want is to place a heavy thumb on the scale in favor of your side in the culture wars, declaring that only your side may state its ideas and beliefs despite the fact that tens or hundreds of millions of people believe the opposite.

Strong in this one the projection is. Hrrrm, yes.

Platforms should provide means for groups to self-moderate as they wish, and people who cannot stand to see unfettered speech, or simply want to associate only with those that believe their ideas are true can do so.

Leave Techdirt you must. Go to those platforms you should. Let the door hit you on your way out you must not.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

people who favor viewpoint-based censorship want to silence their opponents by forcing them off the platforms where everyone has gathered to speak and listen

You’re not being “silenced” by being “forced off” a platform. You’re being shown the door and asked to leave for being an asshole. You can still say all your shit elsewhere.

Free speech isn’t short for “consequence-free speech” and it doesn’t give you the right⁠—ethical, moral, or legal⁠—to use property you don’t own as a platform or make other people give you any kind of attention. When you understand that, you’ll understand free speech. Until then: I don’t have any cheese to go with your whine, so you’ll have to go somewhere else for that. Door’s to your left.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

When the consequences for speaking certain viewpoints are being silenced or being “shown the door”, that is censorship.

Being shown the door isn’t censorship⁠—because if it were, Twitter kicking someone off that platform for breaking the rules would mean that someone would lose their right to speak freely on any other platform. I once again refer you to the case of Donald Trump as a reminder of the fatal flaw in your argument.

Censorship is what it is.

And moderation isn’t censorship. If you want to change my mind on the matter, you need a far, far, far better argument than “nuh-uh to your uh-huh” and at least one of the same ten sentences you keep recycling word for word over and over and over. Repeating your inane bullshit ad nauseum doesn’t make your position any stronger⁠—if anything, your inability to adapt and improvise makes you a fascist drone who will only ever be able to convince people less intelligent than you of anything.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5

Your fucking ilk don’t even want to stay in their containmemt zone on 4chan, instead choosing to spread their evil ideology to other places.

Even fucking /b/, of all places, the lawless wasteland of the visible Internet, wants you fucking NeoNazis gone.

You never wanted a place to circlejerk in. You want to proselytize, recruit and attack people for not being NeoNazis. You want to strip the minorities of any human rights they had simply because they do not want to comply, and you’ll probably murder them for simply not being of the right skin color.

And after that, you’ll even purge your own kind, simply for not being white enough.

Your fucking ilk don’t want a place to be left alone, you want to fucking murder the lot of us.

You represent a bloodthirsty, cancerous ideology that desires to reinstate a sick, fascist ideology back into being.

You are a murderer of thought and people, and your actions are no different from the same people responsible for colonialism, the Confederated States of America, the Nazis and white supremaxists EVERYWHERE.

You are a security threat to not only America, but also to the rest of the world. Your politicians are shameless whores who have taken money from Russia, and would take money from China, and any authoritarian courtry who would doublecross you and send YOU to the gulag for being a traitor.

You and your ilk don’t DESERVE to be here, but just like 4chan, your ilk abuse the good graces the owners of the site allow you to have despite you and your NeoNazi ilk repeatedly showing how undeserved that good grace is.

And like a magliant cancer that won’t go away despite repeated treatment, you will stay on.

Fuck you, and fuck your ilk. I hope you fucking DIE.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Under the guise of seeking comity, what you actually want is to place a heavy thumb on the scale in favor of your side in the culture wars

No, I’m not. Twitter already bans hate speech from its platform (though it could stand to step up the enforcement thereof). What you’re asking for is to tip the scale in your direction by letting any and all legal speech be posted on Twitter. Your mindset would lead to the “Worst People” Problem because only the worst people would want to use a site that becomes⁠—or already is⁠—a wasteland of hate speech, spam, porn, and every other kind of grotesque bullshit that trolls can (and absolutely will) post.

If Twitter doesn’t want your hateful bullshit, it “shouldn’t” (and doesn’t) have to host it under any circumstances. You should find a platform that will host it and post there. Twitter isn’t a public forum or government property⁠—it isn’t, and shouldn’t ever be, bound by the First Amendment.

only your side may state its ideas and beliefs despite the fact that tens or hundreds of millions of people believe the opposite

Your “side” can “state its ideas and beliefs” all it wants. What they don’t have and shouldn’t ever get is the right to force their speech onto any platform that doesn’t want to host it⁠—no matter its size, popularity, or status as a “generic speech platform”. If I don’t have the right to force you into hosting my speech on a server you own/operate, for what reason should you have the right to force Twitter into hosting your speech on their servers?

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Hyman Rosen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

As always, you speak about force so that you can hide behind the legalism of the 1st Amendment to say that such force is not permitted.

Twitter should not be forced into protecting the free speech of its users. It should be urged to do so, or convinced to do so, or perhaps shamed into doing so, or perhaps competed against into doing so.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5

And Twitter does all of that, primarily as a survival tactic.

Twitter should not be forced into protecting the free speech of its users. It should be urged to do so, or convinced to do so, or perhaps shamed into doing so, or perhaps competed against into doing so.

They let you speak. And since the majority of their users do not like NeoNazi bullshit, Twitter accedes to their demands. I see no issue since Twitter does EXACTLY as you wish. Turns out even the US Senate uses Twitter to spread law changes, inform people about important things related to the government, among other things, and STILL behave, for the most part.

The only thing you could blame Twitter for, wrt to 1A violations, is to link to credible sources, sometimes at the behest of less than nice governments. And that’s on a per-country basis, unless you want Twitter to pull out of those countries.

You were never into protecting 1A. You are into destroying it, and human rights for everyone who isn’t your specific definition of “white”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Except it’s not an answer⁠—it’s you putting your wishes and desires above both the law and the wishes and desires of Twitter’s admins.

And the wishes and desires of the majority of Twitter’s users, don’t forget. Moderation policies are always formed either in response to the community or in anticipation of its needs.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4

Most people are only too happy to silence their opponents.

Actually, those that espouse your views aren’t most people.

The moral duty of a generic speech platform is to resist calls for viewpoint-based censorship, including from users of the service.

Okay, get back to me when you can’t diss trans people anywhere and we’ll talk about censorship then. Until that point, it ain’t happening.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6

Censorship is the silencing of speech based on the viewpoint of the speech. It is irrelevant whether one can speak elsewhere.

Except it is relevant. You can’t really say you’ve been “silenced” if you can say elsewhere what got you kicked off someone else’s property in the first place, after all.

Nobody has a right to use Twitter. Until you can counter that statement with something other than “BuT tHeY sHoUlD hAvE tHaT rIgHt”, you’ll always be laughed down.

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Hyman Rosen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

Twitter’s legal right to censor does not obviate its moral duty to preserve the free speech of its users.

In the days of Jim Crow, Black people did not have a right to use the same facilities as white people. Those laws did not give the owners of those facilities the moral right to discriminate, just the legal right.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8

Twitter’s legal right to censor does not obviate its moral duty to preserve the free speech of its users.

Twitter has no such moral duty. You haven’t proven it does.

In the days of Jim Crow, Black people did not have a right to use the same facilities as white people. Those laws did not give the owners of those facilities the moral right to discriminate, just the legal right.

And if losing access to Twitter was a civil right instead of a social privilege, you might have a point. But it’s not. So you don’t. But hey, keep playing the victim card by comparing assholes like you getting kicked off Twitter to actual discrimination⁠—it won’t get you much here besides laughs, but still.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6

Censorship is the silencing of speech based on the viewpoint of the speech.

Silenced speech can’t be heard anywhere by definition, so you’ve just proved my point for me.

It is irrelevant whether one can speak elsewhere.

No it’s not. See my response above.

Censorship is the act of the censor, independent of the means of the speaker.

If the speaker cannot speak anywhere despite being wealthy, that is censorship. If the speaker can freely shout from the rooftops despite poverty, it’s not. What about that is so hard for you to understand?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

The moral duty of a generic speech platform is to resist calls for viewpoint-based censorship

No privately owned platform has a “moral duty” to host anyone’s speech but that of its owner(s). Those platforms have a moral right to decide what speech they will and won’t host. A platform choosing to host transphobic speech is not more “moral” than a platform choosing not to host that speech. If you’re going to make an argument to the contrary, you’ll need to explain why Mastodon instances and right-wing shitpits like Truth Social shouldn’t be bound by the same “moral duty” as Twitter and Facebook⁠—and you’ll need to do it without referencing their respective userbase sizes or popularity. After all, you’re talking about “generic speech platforms”, and plenty of smaller social media services set themselves up as exactly that.

Affirm or disavow: Should a law instruct oulipo.social to lift its “fifth glyph” prohibition? Don’t worry if you can’t grasp my inquiry; look for a glyph that is missing from this paragraph and you’ll soon work out what I’m saying.

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Hyman Rosen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

If a platform sets itself up to be a generic speech platform, it has a moral duty not to censor its users based on their viewpoints. Not everyone who has a moral duty chooses to accept that duty, and as there is no legal requirement for them to do so, they are free not to.

There should never be a law forcing a private entity to host speech it does not want, unless we somehow figure out how to balance the speech interests of that entity against the speech interests of their users. That seems unlikely. Social pressure will have to serve.

As always, you speak in terms of law because you like the censorship provided by the large platforms, so you hide behind the fact that the 1st Amendment is currently seen as prohibiting such laws. People of your political persuasion did not seem troubled by the Fairness Doctrine or the restrictions on political speech prior to Citizens United, demonstrating the self-serving nature of those views.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6

If a platform sets itself up to be a generic speech platform

This is an arbitrary classification made up by you.

The “whole internet” is the platform that is set up to be a generic speech platform. And I agree that no one should be booted from the internet for their viewpoints.

But Twitter LITERALLY set up its platforms to encourage “conversational health.” That’s been Twitter’s mission for years, and it has decided that conversation health means fewer assholes (though it still allows more than any other platform).

So, your whole idea based on “generic speech platform” is a made up fantasy characterization that only exists in your head. Twitter does not say that’s what it is. So why are you demanding it be something other than what it is.

If a platform set itself up and said “we have a moral duty not to censor” then you could call them out for hypocrisy if they do — but the only ones who have made those claims are Parler (which then gleefully banned people for being “leftists”) and Truth Social (which doesn’t allow anyone to criticize either Trump or Nunes). Those are the hypocrites.

Twitter explained its rules. It never promised not to ban people (in fact, it said the opposite). And you’re just whining over it not being the platform you pretend it is in your head.

That’s called a delusion.

Hyman Rosen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

A moral duty is not something that people choose to impose on themselves. It is a society-wide value that people living in that society are expected to abide by.

Car, mattress, and furniture salespeople don’t get to choose not to accept the moral duty of being honest with their customers. When they are sleazy anyway, no one says that it’s OK because they never chose to be honest.

The 1st Amendment exemplifies that. It imposes the moral duty of free speech on governments, whether they choose to accept it or not. Just because Twitter is not bound by the 1st Amendment, it is not exempted from the society-wide value of free speech, and if it chooses not to honor it, deserves criticism.

Naughty Autie says:

Re:

The private platforms that are the main sites where people now gather to speak silence dissent all the time.

Links or it didn’t happen.

But the people here at TechDirt like this silencing because it is the silencing of speech with which they disagree, so they are happy to support such censorship on the ground that it is legal, without considering that such silencing is immoral and against the principles of free speech and freedom in general.

Your posts get hidden because you freely discriminate against specific groups, not simply because we disagree with you. As my grandma used to say to me, “If you can’t say something nice, it’s better to keep your mouth shut.”

Wyrm (profile) says:

Policymakers Need To Realize How Any Internet Regulation Will Impact Speech

You seem to assume they care about free speech.
Other than their own, that is.

Some of the countries listed in the article as pushing for more regulation definitely don’t care. Starting with the big 2: Russia and China.

Russia, jointly with Belarus, Burundi, China, Nicaragua, and Tajikistan, also proposed to outlaw a wide range of vaguely defined speech (?) intending to criminalize protected speech…

Pretty sure “protected speech” is none of their concern.

Robin says:

Censorship is Garbage

I wanted to add my two cents in here because I think this subject is a very serious one at that because it will affect millions out there, especially when it comes to onlining and the reason I say this is because many out there are being affected by these Garbage/ Unjust rules I.e. the Censorship crap 💩I know I for one do not believe at all in any type of censorship at all online because to me those algorithm programs have NO business at all being encorporated into sites at all because users online should be allowed to say or speak there minds freely without having to deal with the repercussions of the so call censorship 👮 or being banned over stupid things either !

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