Court Rules Temporary Ban Of Facebook Commenter By Gov't Official Violates The First Amendment

from the restrain-yourself-from-restraining-others dept

A federal judge has ruled public officials can't ban the public from interacting with official social media accounts, something that obviously has implications for the recently-filed suit by Twitter users blocked by the president's account.

Brian Davison filed a pro se lawsuit against Phyllis Randall, the Chair of the Loudon County Board of Supervisors, after she banned him from her Facebook page and deleted his critical comments. The decision wasn't an easy one for the court, as Venkat Balasubramani points out. The court had to take into account several determining factors before arriving at its First Amendment violation conclusion.

The court’s findings of fact regarding the defendant’s social media activities include:

  • She had a campaign page (“Friends of Phyllis Randall”), and the day before she was sworn into office, defendant asked her constituents to visit her official page;
  • She created the Facebook page outside the County’s channels, and her page will not revert to the county after she leaves office;
  • She’s listed as a “government official” in the about section;
  • She routinely uses the page for official proclamations and encourages constituents to contact her through the page (so official records are kept);
  • She addresses her constituents through her posts and also submits posts “on behalf of the Loudon County Board of Supervisors”;
  • She engages with constituents in the comments section.

The court also had to determine whether Randall was acting in her official capacity when moderating comments on the Facebook page. The court found Randall was acting under color of law, which suggested banning of commenters (on a page where she directly asked for comments on issues) violated Davison's First Amendment rights.

Not every moderation move is a First Amendment violation -- even on official government rep pages and even when done under color of law. But the reasons behind Randall's banning of Davison's participation moved it into unconstitutional territory.

Specifically, the court says it’s clear plaintiff was banned because defendant was offended, and (citing Tam) this is a clear violation of the First Amendment. Apparently, Defendant testified she banned Davison because she decided “decided at that moment that if [Plaintiff] were a type of person that would make comments about people’s family members, then maybe [Defendant] didn’t want [Plaintiff] to be commenting on [her] site.”

Randall said the violation shouldn't matter because it was brief: just a 12-hour ban. But the court reminds Randall that Constitutional violations are still violations, no matter how long they last. And the context of the banning harms the sort of speech the First Amendment is expressly designed to protect: criticism of government entities. From the decision [PDF]:

If the Supreme Court’s First Amendment jurisprudence makes anything clear, it is that speech may not be disfavored by the government simply because it offends. Here, as discussed above, Defendant acted in her governmental capacity. Defendant’s offense at Plaintiff’s views was therefore an illegitimate basis for her actions – particularly given that Plaintiff earned Defendant’s ire by criticizing the County government. Indeed, the suppression of critical commentary regarding elected officials is the quintessential form of viewpoint discrimination against which the First Amendment guards.

This is the new reality for public officials. The internet is an amazing platform for two-way communication with constituents. But it's not something that can be treated as less "real" than press conferences or other real-world activities. Unconstitutional suppression of criticism is just as real when it's performed via Facebook moderation. Anyone assuming otherwise is likely going to find themselves in court.


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  • icon
    Reima Zadet (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 9:39am

    So will this decision be applied to Trump? Since he blocks Twitter users, would that be a first amendment violation also?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 9:58am

      Re:

      Forgive my ignorance on how Twitter works, but it's my understanding that blocking someone's Twitter account only prevents you from seeing their tweets; it doesn't delete their tweets or prevent other users from interacting with them. Essentially it's the same as leaving someone's comment on your Facebook page and just ignoring and not responding to it. I don't think that rises to the level of censorship.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:02am

        Re: Re:

        You can't see the tweets (even if someone RT's them into your timeline) and you are unable to respond to that person if you manage to see a tweet.

        It cuts them off from what has been shown as a direct line to the leader of the country, one of the few places one can actually see what was said without his staff of spin doctors trying to claim his ban isn't a ban even as he tweets out calling it a ban in the middle of the presser.

        It block people with differing views from expressing them to the leader in question... the leader of the "Free World" who has decided he don't need to listen to people who make him feel bad.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          OldMugwump (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 3:29pm

          Re: Re: Re: It cuts them off from what has been shown as a direct line

          That's all true, but I'm not sure how it's different from Trump simply ignoring them.

          You can mail the guy a letter, but he doesn't have to open it - he has the right to toss it in the trash when he sees who it's from.

          I don't see a Twitter block as any different.

          A Facebook ban, which prevents other people (who might want to see the post) from seeing things, is different.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That Anonymous Coward (profile), 1 Aug 2017 @ 10:37am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: It cuts them off from what has been shown as a direct line

            If I can't reply to a tweet from his account, other people watching the thread will not see my post. I am unable to engage in the relevant thread, its like a FB ban that way.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 9:43am

    Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

    And it's bad news for Mikey's censorship regime! -- That's blocking home IP address of mild-mannered dissenters, and/or never letting out of "Moderation".

    --- snip ---
    Local politician can't ban constituents from Facebook page - judge

    [Judge] Cacheris ruled that the consequences of Randall's actions [a mere eight (or 12) hour block reversed next morning] were "fairly minor," however, he said that she committed "a cardinal sin under the First Amendment."

    "The court holds only that under the specific circumstances presented here, [the] defendant violated the First Amendment by engaging in viewpoint discrimination and banning plaintiff from a digital forum for criticizing her colleagues in the county government," Cacheris wrote.
    ...
    "We hope the courts look to this opinion as a road map in holding that it is unconstitutional for President Trump to block his critics on Twitter," Alex Abdo, senior staff attorney at the Institute, told the Wall Street Journal.
    --- snip ---

    https://www.rt.com/usa/397772-davison-facebook-cacheris-randall-free-speech-ruling/?utm_source=rs s&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

    Now, I KNOW you kids are screaming incoherently both "different for private site!" and "OMG, Russia Today!" (originally in WSJ, now out from paywall), but the clear American principle of FREE SPEECH applies even more to a BUSINESS! Techdirt is a FORUM that invites the public to comment; it CANNOT arbitrarily suppress persons and viewpoints.

    Takes time, but "teh internets" will become "regulated" though actually FREER for decent persons (not you shouty little kids, to be entirely clear).

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    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 9:44am

      Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

      Okay, FIFTH attempt succeeded. Am I to be happy because not successfully blocked?

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      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 9:48am

        Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

        Who knew that Techdirt is a government entity and that Mike is a public official?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 9:53am

          Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

          >>> "Who knew that Techdirt is a government entity and that Mike is a public official?"

          Your TRIVIAL gainsaying is anticipated. See where I wrote: Now, I KNOW you kids are screaming incoherently both "different for private site!" and "OMG, Russia Today!"

          Do you not see CLEARLY SAME PRINCIPLE? Yes, no, waffle, or just ad hom?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:08am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

            Hey scooter, try reading the first admendment before you go off making an ass out of yourself next time. I mean yeah you don't know or care about the difference between a governmental entity and a private one, but it would be fun to watch you try to wrap your head around all those big long words.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:12am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

              I can't decide whether you choose gainsaying or ad hom, seem about equal mix.

              But in any case, you don't want to see the principle.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Bergman (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 4:09pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

                That's the thing. He does see the principle. But you happen to be wrong about how rights interact with laws. If people were truly required, as you apparently believe, to listen to and agree with every opinion that anyone expresses, then aren't you violating his rights by calling his comment ad hom or gainsaying?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Wendy Cockcroft, 1 Aug 2017 @ 4:58am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

                  There's a difference between a right to free speech and the right to be heard. There is no constitutional right to be heard.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Toom1275 (profile), 1 Aug 2017 @ 7:15am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

                    Nobody has the right to force another private person or platform to be host to one's own speech, as that would violate that person/platform's own free speech rights.

                    Techdirt's being exceedingly gracious by not censoring non-spambot trolls like Scoot Hamilton, even though they're well within their rights to.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:12am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

            It is not the same principle at all.

            Private citizens are under no obligation to listen to your uninformed rambling.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:15am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

              >>> It is not the same principle at all.

              >>> Private citizens are under no obligation to listen to your uninformed rambling.

              That's not what I wrote. TECHDIRT IS A BUSINESS. It's not to choose among viewpoints.

              And, except for the recursing fact that you shouty little kids always run off reasonable people, there would be people reading here who might interest in my notions.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:23am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

                And scooter, you still fail to understand that they are a business and not the government. And again, try to make it through at least the first admendment. I know they are big scary words but you should at least give it a go.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:28am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

                Yeah, businesses are run by private citizens. This is not hard except to the willfully blind.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Killercool (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:34am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

                Business/= government.

                Businesses are (actually) quite free to tell you to buzz off, which Techdirt doesn't even do. They just put a little black bar over your offensive material. It's not even permanent! Anyone can click it to see your ass on display.

                You live in a strange and most likely confusing world, when you can't comprehend that private businesses are not bound by constraints only intended for public officials and the offices they represent.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 2:18pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

                "And, except for the recursing fact that you shouty little kids always run off reasonable people, there would be people reading here who might interest in my notions."

                You actually think you are a reasonable person? Oh, that's right, you're still here...

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:43am

          Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

          Is Mike going to run?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 9:52am

      Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

      There is nothing arbitrary, the community finds you to be a screeching dickweasel and votes accordingly.

      Your posts aren't deleted or sent away, they end up hidden because it adds nothing but your enormous butthurt that the community finds your contributions to shitty. If people are inclined to question the wisdom of the crowd a single click restores the post... and most people immediately hide it again.

      Think of yourself as a street preacher on the corner, you're allowed to speak but we don't have to stop and listen to your ranting.

      As I am want to do...
      BYE FELECIA!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 9:55am

        Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

        >>> There is nothing arbitrary, the community finds you to be a screeching dickweasel and votes accordingly.

        I see YOU chose ad hom since can't argue.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That Anonymous Coward (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:04am

          Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

          I saw what happened to the people who tried logic and reason with you & I do not have the time or crayons to explain it to you.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:19am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

            >>> I saw what happened to the people who tried logic and reason with you & I do not have the time or crayons to explain it to you.

            many of those who opposed me HAVE left the site because got tangled in their own rage over little bits of text.

            You clowns rail about censorship and can't now admit that I'm right on this principle. Only remaining question is whether Techdirt is handed over to Ayyadurai before equal access for all, without being "hidden" by the clique -- plus Techdirt administrator -- is applied here.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:25am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

              How's that John Steele appeal going bro?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                That Anonymous Coward (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:02am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

                You mean that John Steele who is bent over for the AUSA's waiting to hang his business partner in court for a cushy cell close to his daughter?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:28am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

              lol

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              That Anonymous Coward (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:01am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

              I'm sorry momma didn't love you.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Toom1275 (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 12:48pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

              The number of times you've been right hwre can be counted on one hand that's had all its fingers and thumb cut off.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 2:22pm

          Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

          ">>> There is nothing arbitrary, the community finds you to be a screeching dickweasel and votes accordingly.

          I see YOU chose ad hom since can't argue."

          There is absolutely nothing coherent in your verbal diarrhea to "argue."

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2017 @ 4:05am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

            Some people persist in having no clue what "ad hom" (seriously, ad hom?) is or what it is for, but they seem to think it is some magical phrase that makes them look smart and awards them points.

            It's similar scenario to people who lie about established facts, or who can say the most amazingly vile things while maintaining a "civil tone", but they get all bent out of shape and feel you lose an argument because you said "fuck".

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Toom1275 (profile), 1 Aug 2017 @ 7:20am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

              Like that nutjob in the comments last month who was obsessing about people making "shitty" puns.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:02am

      Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

      When you walk on water...do your toes get cold?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:23am

        Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

        >>> When you walk on water...do your toes get cold?

        You remind me that I left out stupid and off-topic for choices, so thanks.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 2:27pm

          Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

          ">>> When you walk on water...do your toes get cold?

          You remind me that I left out stupid and off-topic for choices, so thanks."

          Oh, like you arguing that an opinion blog is akin to an official government representative in how they are required to adhere to the 1st ammendment. You slimy, thread derailing, egotistical piece of purposeful obsfucation...You cum yet?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:08am

      Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

      And here for all to see is someone who thinks free speech should be limited to speech that they agree with, and that it means that they can hijack anybody else's forum if the disagree so as to ensure that only the views that they agree with are heard.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:22am

        Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

        >>> And here for all to see is someone who thinks free speech should be limited to speech that they agree with, and that it means that they can hijack anybody else's forum if the disagree so as to ensure that only the views that they agree with are heard.

        Huh? Could you state that another way?

        IT'S A PUBLIC FORUM! Once Techdirt made it public, IT gave up exclusive rights, NOT ME.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:29am

          Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

          Literally false.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:29am

          Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

          Which rights did they give up? Do tell, point to a statute if you can. And whichever one you think fits. Tell us why they haven't been prosecuted or sued for violating it. Come on scooter, I know some of those words have many syllables, but I believe in you (to continue making an ass out of yourself and to find a new way to be wrong).

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:54am

          Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

          This isn't a public forum. Here is a link for you to research that. Public/Nonpublic Forums Distinction Techdirt isn't public property and the staff are not government employees.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 2:39pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

            >>> This isn't a public forum. Here is a link for you to research that. Public/Nonpublic Forums Distinction Techdirt isn't public property and the staff are not government employees.

            ??? Gosh, I have been SO wrong for years! I guess no place like malls, bars, sport stadums, is technically a PUBLIC place by your weenie-ing legalism, nonetheless, there's a FORMS CONTRACT in evidence that makes commenting "public" in some degree...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 3:12pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

              Yes you are wrong. Malls, bars, and stadiums are all private property. Now scooter, you just need to learn the difference between a business and the government.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 3:46pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

              Not even sure what you are talking about on the second part. At least link your source. "FORMS CONTRACT" What is that? Some much generic stuff shows up when you search for that. Still, not even sure what your point is. Even those places would be not considered public unless a government agent/entity rented those locations. And just for kicks and giggles, it would have to be a public employee, not the owners or employees of the establishments.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 2:15pm

      Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

      "--- snip ---"

      You are a supreme douche!!!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 4:07pm

      Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

      "Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle!"

      So, remind me. Which government agency runs the Techdirt blog, and what official government positions does its staff occupy?

      Hmm, I can't think of any. Techdirt seems to be privately owned and operated.

      Since the Constitution only protects you from actions by government officials or discrimination against you for a specific (and short) list of reasons -- and Techdirt doesn't violate any of them when other commenters down-vote your posts -- it would seem you have no valid point whatsoever.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 4:17pm

        Re: Re: Techdirt has LONG been violating this principle! First FOUR attempts to get in at 9:38 Pacific Time...

        Actually, if this person believes in that principal so much. Then that person would have to keep all free speech that everyone staples to his house or posts in the lawn.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 9:58am

    Those with power seem to forget that being offended isn't a crime. If your job is to represent everyone, you have to take the good with the bad.

    A much saner person might have tried to get to the bottom of his complaint, or if they felt he was unhinged ignored him. The fact is rights were violated, even if only for a few hours (most likely before someone who understands the basics of the laws of the land pointed out you fucked up) they were violated.

    While we have allowed "free speech zones" & tried to pass laws to make it a crime to make elected officials feel bad, hurting someones feelings isn't a crime. The job includes praise & unhappy comments.

    Had this been her personal personal page, she would have every right to tell him to use the offical channels & if he persisted ban him. You made this page your semi-offical page & issues work related statements, I'm sorry if the digital town square you picked allowed people to call you out, but its the job.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:33am

    Yet if this is considered a 1st amendment issue, and the president therefore can't block people from seeing and interacting with his personal twitter account, it would stand to reason that twitter, also, can't moderate people's interactions with it (as has been shown to happen)

    Otherwise, it would allow twitter to create the false impression that everyone is against everything he tweets, lifting up negative comments while pushing down/disconnecting positive comments, and he would have no recourse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:35am

      Re:

      That's...not how that works, at all.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Killercool (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:41am

      Re:

      I don't know about that. Security guards are able to remove hecklers, even from public events, city council meetings, etc.

      This is completely off the top of my head, but I seem to remember that Twitter was only blocking purely abusive posting. If I'm not remembering wrong, then I see that blocking as much the same as kicking out hecklers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Bergman (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 4:13pm

        Re: Re:

        Actually they can't legally make content-based removals of people. Doing so anyway is a criminal act. Remember, if the mere fact of something being illegal made it impossible to do, nobody would have ever invented cops, courts, judges or prisons.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Arthur Moore (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:21pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I don't know about that. Security guards are able to remove hecklers, even from public events, city council meetings, etc.

          Actually they can't legally make content-based removals of people. Doing so anyway is a criminal act

          Yet this does happen. Even in congress, cheering observers are significantly less likely to be thrown out than those shouting vulgarities. That's not a bad thing, but it's a known and accepted part of the first amendment.

          I wonder if the defendant would have had better luck by phrasing her ban as an action to ensure the space is available to all audiences. That by temporarily curtailing his speech she was allowing others to speak that would otherwise be intimidated.

          In general, the answer to these things is clear community guidelines, and have the moderators follow them. While allowing some flexibility is important,* it's also important for moderators to be as impartial and consistent as possible. Regardless of the topic and speaker.

          * Zero tolerance policies end badly.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:34am

    Related and interesting:

    "But in the United States, where freedom of speech enjoys protections found nowhere else in the world, Google and Facebook have not been forced to introduce censorship tools. They are not at the whim of paranoid despots or unthinking bureaucrats. Instead, Silicon Valley has volunteered to censor, and it has enlisted the help of politically partisan organizations to do so."

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-27/silicon-valley-censorship

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Killercool (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 10:50am

      Re: Related and interesting:

      Yes, those private businesses, as they are free to do (not being government entities and all), have decided that it is in their best business interests to censor things that they don't like.

      Seeing as how they aren't the government, you are free to use a competing service, one that doesn't censor the things you don't want them to censor. Why, you can even make your own! People might even appreciate your uncensored searches/content/opinions that you become bigger than the incumbents!

      I, for one, dislike censorship of any kind, but appreciate the fact that, just as I have a right to choose which business I interact with, those businesses have a right to regulate their own content. After all, the First Amendment only applies to government bodies and government officials who are acting in that capacity.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:10am

        Re: Re: Related and interesting:

        >>> Yes, those private businesses, as they are free to do (not being government entities and all), have decided that it is in their best business interests to censor things that they don't like.

        No, you're simply wrong. Businesses are PERMITTED by the public to SERVE our interests. I grant you that's now being diluted in practice, but this judge has the American principle right.

        Else, people having dark skins could be refused service in lunch counters, or kept from entering public schools. Eisenhower properly sent in the National Guard to ensure that a black child was allowed into school. That's America, you clearly don't know the country.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:36am

          Re: Re: Re: Related and interesting:

          You appear confused.


          Government is not allowed to create a law ....

          Unlike the government, business is allowed to discriminate within limits - no shirt, no service, etc. The limits are defined in law and include things like race, religion, sex, etc.

          Who knows what?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:06am

      Re: Related and interesting:

      Yeah, because there aren't a host of idiots with power willing to bury them in pointless litigation costing them millions to defend their rights.

      After the cases that have come before, its just easier to cave than to waste money defending cases that shouldn't have been brought. Look at all of the patent trolls who get others to settle because the litigation will destroy them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:15am

        Re: Re: Related and interesting:

        >>> Yeah, because there aren't a host of idiots with power willing to bury them in pointless litigation costing them millions to defend their rights.

        >>> After the cases that have come before, its just easier to cave than to waste money defending cases that shouldn't have been brought. Look at all of the patent trolls who get others to settle because the litigation will destroy them.

        I'm pretty sure that you either didn't read or don't understand, or are drunk.

        The Zerohedge item is about Silicon valley censoring on own inititative.

        I guess you're okay with Google and Facebook controlling speech, so long as you can get in an irrelevant dig on "patent trolls". SHEESH. You're going for the tactic of just putting up whatever pops in to show that my comments are opposed. That'd only work if made some tiny degree of sense.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:40am

          Re: Re: Re: Related and interesting:

          Controlling speech? ... how do they do that?

          Are you referring to their little experiments upon the unsuspecting public? Those were borderline douchebag territory, but I do not know the legal standing.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:04am

    Censored, I mean "hidden" by "the [Techdirt] community" is yet another lie! -- Is that automatic by some number of clicks? How many? -- Or does an administrator okay it?

    You censors, I mean clowns, pretend authority on site policy, but cannot and do not answer that. -- Unless you're actually administrators astro-turfing the site, as I often suspect. -- In any case, it MUST be administrator approved, no automatic system could counter someone using TOR to hide posts, else.

    As the topic principle shows, a site needs a good common-law reason to block someone from commenting. My comments have always been well within common law.

    Yet this comment, by Timothy Geigner, aka "Dark Helmet", now a paid writer for Techdirt, was NOT blocked -- in fact, when I raised objection, was laughed off by "the Techdirt community":

    "There are white people, and then there are ignorant motherfuckers like you...."

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110621/16071614792/misconceptions-free-abound-why-do-brai ns-stop-zero.shtml#c1869

    So much for your "standard".

    In any case, NO community has a right to arbitrarily block or even hide comments. You need a good reason.

    From WAY back, when there used to be reasonable people here:

    For that a business simply isn't a "person" with First Amendment rights:

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100923/03082411131/couple-kicked-out-of-hotel-after-manag er-accuses-them-of-writing-a-bad-review.shtml#c537

    "I think you guys are confused over the First Amendment. While it's true that business owners have the right to refuse service to someone, they need a legit reason to do so. They just cannot refuse to do business with someone because they don't like the way they look, act."

    A perhaps unique instance of support for simple fairness:

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130410/13030222669/what-we-should-learn-comic-creators- censoring-themselves-apple.shtml#c295

    "Do people just automatically report out_of_the_blue's posts?? This comment is perfectly fine and worth restating. Apple is like Disneyland, and childish fantasy world, complete with all the problems and injustices of that sort of controlled environment. Why did people flag this comment?" -- (Not a single answer, let alone more support.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:08am

      Re: Censored, I mean "hidden" by "the [Techdirt] community" is yet another lie! -- Is that automatic by some number of clicks? How many? -- Or does an administrator okay it?

      "In any case, NO community has a right to arbitrarily block or even hide comments."

      Literally false, again.

      "You need a good reason."

      There is a good reason.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:17am

        Re: Re: Censored, I mean "hidden" by "the [Techdirt] community" is yet another lie! -- Is that automatic by some number of clicks? How many? -- Or does an administrator okay it?

        By the way, I'll note that this is the longest run I've ever had of using same browser session here: they are usually poisoned (blocked) somehow after two or three posts.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:18am

          Re: Re: Re: Censored, I mean "hidden" by "the [Techdirt] community" is yet another lie! -- Is that automatic by some number of clicks? How many? -- Or does an administrator okay it?

          Tinfoil does tend to get in the way of things.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 2:25pm

        Re: Re: Censored, I mean "hidden" by "the [Techdirt] community" is yet another lie! -- Is that automatic by some number of clicks? How many? -- Or does an administrator okay it?

        >>> There is a good reason.

        Yes, it's that Techdirt can't stand dissent, just shows the site is piratey intolerant kids.

        Now, YOU STATE IT. Come on, don't just claim there is, STATE IT. And show examples.

        And then try to get an official response from Techdirt, because you're just an AC! Perhaps administrator astro-turfing, though. -- I've shown two zombies who popped up after a six year five month gap, so I can nearly PROVE that not all comments here are actual persons.

        -- AND THAT SESSION WAS BLOCKED AFTER SEVERAL COMMENTS. That's clearly administrator action.

        But I know to save the text! Will get in sometime, making on-topic evidence against Techdirt!

        Here's more: I state as fact that my home IP address has been blocked. I must use TOR to get in at all.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:58pm

          Re: Re: Re: Censored, I mean "hidden" by "the [Techdirt] community" is yet another lie! -- Is that automatic by some number of clicks? How many? -- Or does an administrator okay it?

          Oh dear, you're really still stuck on your hilarious nothing evidence.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2017 @ 7:49am

          Re: Re: Re: Censored, I mean "hidden" by "the [Techdirt] community" is yet another lie! -- Is that automatic by some number of clicks? How many? -- Or does an administrator okay it?

          Oh Hamilton we've been through this all before. Those are just the voices in your head.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:22am

      Re: Censored, I mean "hidden" by "the [Techdirt] community" is yet another lie! -- Is that automatic by some number of clicks? How many? -- Or does an administrator okay it?

      I think you guys are confused over the First Amendment. While it's true that business owners have the right to refuse service to someone, they need a legit reason to do so.

      Instead of posting as "Anonymous Coward", perhaps you should adopt the name "Legit Reason."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Thad, 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:52am

        Re: Re: Censored, I mean "hidden" by "the [Techdirt] community" is yet another lie! -- Tell my wife I love her very much -- she knows -- Ground Control to Major Tom, Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong -- Can you hear me, Major Tom?

        Pretty sure there was a thread once where everybody who flagged him told him they had flagged him, so he could count. (Well, so we could count. I'm not convinced that he can.)

        For the record, I am no longer flagging him; I'm now blocking all his posts preemptively, sight unseen. It's sure saved me a lot of clicks.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Thad, 31 Jul 2017 @ 5:59pm

          Re: Re: Re: Censored, I mean "hidden" by "the [Techdirt] community" is yet another lie! -- Tell my wife I love her very much -- she knows -- Ground Control to Major Tom, Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong -- Can you hear me, Major Tom?

          Ah, found it.

          Looks like it's five.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:40am

      Re: Censored, I mean "hidden" by "the [Techdirt] community" is yet another lie! -- Is that automatic by some number of clicks? How many? -- Or does an administrator okay it?

      Scooter, I know readings not your forte. But you forgot to cite a statute like you were told to. I'm afraid I'm going to have to vote you off the island until you learn to listen.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 2:27pm

        Re: Re: Censored, I mean "hidden" by "the [Techdirt] community" is yet another lie! -- Is that automatic by some number of clicks? How many? -- Or does an administrator okay it?

        >>> Scooter, I know readings not your forte. But you forgot to cite a statute like you were told to. I'm afraid I'm going to have to vote you off the island until you learn to listen.

        Statute? Ah, I don't need no stinking statute!

        Do you know what the US Constitution is? It's the founding document, and WAY above statute. Just read the piece above and the links I gave.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Matthew Cline (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 9:48pm

          Re: Re: Re: Censored, I mean "hidden" by "the [Techdirt] community" is yet another lie! -- Is that automatic by some number of clicks? How many? -- Or does an administrator okay it?

          Statute? Ah, I don't need no stinking statute!

          Do you know what the US Constitution is?

          I searched through the Constitution and amendments and couldn't find anything about public forums. So far as I'm aware, the idea of public forums as the apply to the Constitution arise from case law. Could you cite any case law which says that Techdirt is legally counts as a forum?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Matthew Cline (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 9:55pm

          Re: Re: Re: Censored, I mean "hidden" by "the [Techdirt] community" is yet another lie! -- Is that automatic by some number of clicks? How many? -- Or does an administrator okay it?

          To be more precise: I see nothing in the constitution that would make "public space" apply to something like Techdirt. Case law might have something that makes it apply, but you have yet to present evidence of any such case law.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Thad, 1 Aug 2017 @ 11:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Censored, I mean "hidden" by "the [Techdirt] community" is yet another lie! -- Tell my wife I love her very much -- she knows -- Ground Control to Major Tom, Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong -- Can you hear me, Major Tom?

            Oh God, now you've done it. He's going to start talking about common law.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Matthew Cline (profile), 1 Aug 2017 @ 2:56pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Censored, I mean "hidden" by "the [Techdirt] community" is yet another lie! -- Tell my wife I love her very much -- she knows -- Ground Control to Major Tom, Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong -- Can you hear me, Major Tom?

              I'd also be happy with a common law can be citation. I just want some specifics.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                The Wanderer (profile), 2 Aug 2017 @ 4:20am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Censored, I mean "hidden" by "the [Techdirt] community" is yet another lie! -- Tell my wife I love her very much -- she knows -- Ground Control to Major Tom, Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong -- Can you hear me, Major To

                The problem is that from the way he uses the term "common law", he appears to think it means something like "what the common understanding is about what the law should be", and (at least to a degree) to extrapolate from himself to determine what the common understanding is.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:55am

      Re: Censored, I mean "hidden" by "the [Techdirt] community" is yet another lie! -- Is that automatic by some number of clicks? How many? -- Or does an administrator okay it?

      Do you also insist that newspapers and TV stations publish or read out your letters as well?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:09am

    This lawsuit is ridiculous. Just like any other website administrator, I have the ability to edit, modify, delete, move or merge any topics or messages posted on my website or message forums. Since my site is privately owned by myself, as the owner, I can suspend, restrict or ban any member who is registered on my site (I don't allow anonymous or guest posting). While members on my site are allowed to post anything under the guise of free speech, I do not allow certain types of behavior.

    Filing a lawsuit saying your constitutional rights are being violated on a website is ridiculous. I hate to say it but constitutional rights on a website that is privately owned simply do not exist.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:19am

      Re:

      Umm, I don't think you read the article at all.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      FamilyManFirst (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:43am

      You are conflating the rights of a website administrator with the rights of the user of a website. Had Facebook banned this user (say, due to violating their Terms by using certain language) there would have been no Constitutional violation.

      However, since a user of the website, specifically a public official, blocked the user (on a page used for official business, etc.), said public official violated the 1st Amendment rights of the blocked user. The rights of the website administrator (Facebook, in this case) didn't come into play.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Thad, 31 Jul 2017 @ 11:58am

        Re:

        It bears adding that the judge also specifically acknowledged that deleting off-topic posts (eg spam or brigading) would still be permissible.

        Ars:

        Meanwhile, Judge Cacheris noted that Randall still had the right to moderate Facebook comments and that it's not always unconstitutional to block commenters.

        "Finally, government officials have at least a reasonably strong interest in moderating discussion on their Facebook pages in an expeditious manner. By permitting a commenter to repeatedly post inappropriate content pending a review process, a government official could easily fail to preserve their online forum for its intended purpose," the judge wrote.

        What's more, the judge said that allowing online speakers to hijack or filibuster online conversations would "impinge on the First Amendment rights" of other forum participants.

        "Given the prevalence of online 'trolls,' this is no mere hypothetical risk," the judge said.

        Judge Cacheris had recently tossed a similar lawsuit from Davison, a software consultant. In that suit, Davison claimed his First Amendment rights were breached because a prosecutor had removed his comments from the prosecutor's official Facebook page. The judge noted that the deletion of the comments was acceptable because they were "clearly off-topic" comments.

        So, y'know, that's one more reason that the dipshit who keeps ranting about his comments being "censored" is wrong. Add it to the pile.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 2:32pm

          Re: Re:

          >>> It bears adding that the judge also specifically acknowledged that deleting off-topic posts (eg spam or brigading) would still be permissible.

          I've said all along that the standard is common-law -- and believe I'm on-topic here -- but which means that those who call persons "dipshit" would be moderated.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 2:34pm

        Re:

        >>> You are conflating the rights of a website administrator with the rights of the user of a website.

        Well, I'm not. But Techdirt does not have any right to censor or hide viewpoints.

        By the way, with 23 comments over 4 years, you look like a near zombie, resurrected to add cred. Just sayin'.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Discuss It (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 2:21pm

    Lets turn this around

    Randall said the violation shouldn't matter because it was brief: just a 12-hour ban.

    So, If I told Randall "Just the tip, and only for a minute", would it still be rape if she says no? I mean, it's just for a minute...

    Violations, even if only for a short time, are violations.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 2:43pm

    My, the response is a great exhibition of why I'm right! You'll just user your power to stifle any opinion to contrary!

    On this "free speech" site.

    By the way, a power to remove or block comments is not a right to do so, any more than a lunch counter or other biz can arbitrarily deny you service. It's just not practical for me to enforce my right. But that appears to be coming down the pike, kids!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 2:54pm

      Re: My, the response is a great exhibition of why I'm right! You'll just user your power to stifle any opinion to contrary!

      goatsie, is that you?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 3:34pm

      Re: My, the response is a great exhibition of why I'm right! You'll just user your power to stifle any opinion to contrary!

      I'm sure you've seen this a hundred times or two. But just in case it sinks in this time. https://xkcd.com/1357/

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2017 @ 5:09pm

      Re: My, the response is a great exhibition of why I'm right! You'll just user your power to stifle any opinion to contrary!

      Actually scooter, they totally can arbitrarily deny you service. They can't deny you service for being a protected class, true. But they can sure as shit just tell you fuck off, because you're a wanker.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Discuss It (profile), 31 Jul 2017 @ 7:20pm

      Re: My, the response is a great exhibition of why I'm right! You'll just user your power to stifle any opinion to contrary!

      a power to remove or block comments is not a right to do so

      You seem to be confused. TechDirt isn't the government. The 1st amendment protects the people against government action.

      What TechDirt is is private property. They have as much right to show you the exit as I would if you came into my living room and left a "deposit".

      The solution to your comments being removed is to stop making comments that do not have a defensible point to make in an insulting way. Once you do that, even if folks disagree with your point of view, you'll stop having your comments removed.

      It really is a very simple thing to understand. Even my 5 year old great niece seems to grasp the concept.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2017 @ 12:03am

      Re: My, the response is a great exhibition of why I'm right! You'll just user your power to stifle any opinion to contrary!

      You are wrong, again, and again, and again. Businesses can deny you for any arbitrary reason they want, except discrimination against protected classes.

      For example, a store is perfectly within its rights to kick you out because you're a rambling spammer who doesn't stop yelling about how they brought in a shopper who hasn't been in the store since last year just for you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 1 Aug 2017 @ 5:10am

        Re: Re: My, the response is a great exhibition of why I'm right! You'll just user your power to stifle any opinion to contrary!

        What this individual can't or won't accept is that:

        a) Mike's e-roof, his rules
        b) no right to be heard
        c) it's not Mike or any of the team who "censor" his posts; readers like myself click the red report button so we can read the genuinely interesting posts rather than the whiny piggyback posts we're not interested in
        d) piggybacking by posting comments just to get attention for one's views is bad form and loses you credibility; if you have a strongly held opinion that many people disagree with start your own blog. I did.
        e) comments don't get hidden when they're interesting to the community. This individual posts comments that he alone is interested in. We're not.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Thad, 1 Aug 2017 @ 11:36am

          Re: Re: Re: My, the response is a great exhibition of why my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, and they're like, it's better than yours, damn right, it's better than yours

          I'd say that his central delusion is that he refuses to accept that people just don't like him.

          It's always gotta be some grand conspiracy by the Techdirt moderators, like they sit at their keyboards all day simultaneously monitoring every comments thread to see when he posts so that they can thwart him. He considers this to be more plausible than the notion that other commenters think he's an ass and flag his posts. No matter how many people tell him, directly that they think he's an ass and they're flagging his posts.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Toom1275 (profile), 1 Aug 2017 @ 12:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: My, the response is a great exhibition of why my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, and they're like, it's better than yours, damn right, it's better than yours

            That censorious asshat Brett Kimberlin who was mentioned last week has similar delusions. He sues a dozen victims under the claim that they're engaged in some grand conspiracy to defame him, merely because the multiple independent bloggers happen to report on the same event. Or like the censorious asshat Ayyadurai claiming that everyoue who points out he's lying his ass off are part of some tech-company conspiracy.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2017 @ 4:07am

    Interesting ruling. I wonder how it might apply to "contempt of cop".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Aug 2017 @ 5:39am

    This will have a downside.

    People will use it to go "blocking people on Social media violates the 1st Amendment, therefore we must get rid of all ability to block/mute people online"

    Don't give me "it's different for government officials" crap line, you ALL know that it's true.

    Makes me wonder about Blockbots now, are they illegal as well?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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