Alt-Right Twitter App Developers Sue Google After Gab.Ai App Is Kicked Out Of The Play Store

from the symbolic-acts-of-litigation dept

Google's decision to boot a controversial social media app from its Play store has resulted in a lawsuit. And it's a very strange lawsuit -- one that attempts to turn inconsistent moderation efforts into anti-trust allegations against Google.

Some background information is necessary. Some of this can be gleaned from the complaint [PDF], which was put together by Marc Randazza (of First Amendment fame), Ron Coleman (key to the Slants' Supreme Court trademark win), and Jordan Rushie (who has participated in/fought against copyright trolling efforts). Given the litigation credentials behind the filing, it's surprising there's not more to the complaint.

But first, the background:

Gab.ai is the plaintiff in this suit. Gab sprung to life as a Twitter alternative, built in response to a perceived crackdown on alt-right accounts. It's not as though the accusations are false. Twitter has frequently applied its moderation standards unequally, resulting in bans and shadowbans of alt-right accounts. As the lawsuit points out, Twitter removed alt-right figurehead Milo Yiannopoulos verified checkmark -- not because Milo wasn't who he said he was, but because it apparently didn't like him or his millions of followers. Six months later, Twitter banned him for good, citing his harassment of actress Leslie Jones.

So, much like Voat became a Reddit for people who thought Reddit censored too much speech, Gab became Twitter for those who felt Twitter censored too much speech. Gab became a mostly-free alternative Twitter, supported by subscribers, and heavily-populated by alt-right Twitter users.

Gab claims to embrace free speech. It engages in very little moderation of users' content, only culling certain content like child porn, posting of private information, threats, spam, and use of the platform to sell illegal goods. It does not police "hate speech" like Facebook, Twitter, and Google do. It's the last part that bothers Google. Or at least that's the stated reason for Google's ban of Gab from its app store.

But this wasn't Gab's first app store ban. Apple blocked it twice, first citing pornographic content as the reason. (Obviously, Twitter allows pornographic posts and yet remains available in the iOS app store...) Gab added porn-blocking by default but was rejected again by Apple, with the company pointing to its rules on hate speech.

Pretty much the same thing happened with Google. Google claimed Gab did not include a "sufficient level of moderation" and did not act to remove content "encouraging violence and hate against groups of people."

Gab's response to Google's ban pointed out it shouldn't need to police speech that isn't actually unlawful just to stay in Google's app store graces. Roughly a month after Google's decision, Gab has sued. What should probably have been left to public shaming of Google for belatedly distancing itself from Gab's social media construct has now become a plea for federal intercession.

The lawsuit runs down the history of Gab, as well as Twitter's shutdown of prominent alt-right/white supremacist accounts. The antitrust action appears to be limited to Google's partnership with Twitter. Google now has access to Twitter's "firehose" -- all public posts from all Twitter users in real time. This allows Google to return tweets in its search results.

Apparently, this partnership -- combined with Google's domination of Android app services -- is evidence of Google's anticompetitive behavior. The problem with the argument is Google's unwieldy application of its app store policies doesn't appear to be Google attempting to eliminate a competitor. Gab doesn't directly compete with Google+. If anything, it's a Twitter competitor. Google's only interest in Twitter is better search results. Kicking Gab out of the app store doesn't remove its web presence, nor does it prevent Gab users from downloading the app directly from Gab itself.

Much is made of the danger of sideloading apps. And it's true sideloading poses greater risks to Android users, especially if they're careless with their sources. While this behavior is somewhat discouraged by the Android system during phone setup, the option to sideload can be turned on and off as needed to allow the installation of apps not included in Google's Play store.

The lawsuit makes better points about removal from the Play store having deleterious financial effects on Gab, including the loss of ad placements in Google store and targeted ad campaigns utilizing Google's tools to find new app users.

Included in the filing are several reasons why Gab's removal is inconsistent with Google's own app policies. But that doesn't turn this into an anticompetitive act on Google's part. The end result may be indistinguishable but there are plenty of innocuous reasons for the app's removal that have nothing to do with Google killing Gab to protect its partnership with Twitter.

But that's pretty much what the filing hopes the judge will find. Google's history of anticompetitive behavior is detailed in the lawsuit, as well as its forays into patent enforcement. Twitter's inconsistent application of its policies to shut down alt-right accounts is also detailed, providing evidence of nothing, considering Twitter isn't party to this lawsuit.

Hidden in all of this are two paragraphs on Section 230 which misconstrue protections afforded to entities like Gab.

Even if it were possible for a social media platform to censor "defamatory and mean-spirited content" generated by 250,000 users, a level of content censorship by a social media platform that extended to "defamatory" and "mean-spirited" content place at risk that service's status as a protected Internet Service Provider, as opposed to a publisher or speaker, under 47 U.S. Code § 230, also known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act ("CDA").

Unlike an Internet Service Provider, a publisher or speaker is not granted the "safe harbor" benefits of Section 230, and may be held liable for defamation or other torts or other liability arising from content published on a platform it owns or manages.

This assertion greatly misconstrues how Section 230 protections work. This would be worth noting in any case, but especially so since it involves Marc Randazza, who has penned screeds pointing out the opposite: moderation efforts by ISPs do not undermine Section 230 protections.

I do delete comments from time to time. If I notice them and they are “excessively violent” or “harassing” or “otherwise objectionable,” I delete them. Why? First, its my blog, so my fucking rules. You have a right to express yourself, but not necessarily here. Second, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that I can delete one comment and leave 100 filthy, objectionable, harassing, defamatory, nasty, and brutish comments and still not be liable.

Section 230 has been a wonderful thing. It has allowed the Internet to grow, and allowed services like Facebook, Craigslist, Fling.com, Pissedconsumer.com, and any number of other fun websites to exist. It allows me to have a comments section on each post, without worrying about whether I’ll be liable for something posted there. It does foster free speech online. So hooray Section 230.

And the relevant part of Section 230, being brushed aside here to portray Gab's lack of moderation as somehow being essential to its 230 protections:

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of—

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

Indeed, it's this very part of CDA 230 that likely will help Google get this lawsuit tossed. Under widely established precedents concerning CDA 230, Google is free to moderate its platform -- in this case, the Android Play Store -- however it likes, without increasing its own liability. To misrepresent CDA 230 by saying that moderation takes away CDA 230 protections... and then ignoring that those same protections probably prevent this lawsuit is just strange.

This is a bizarre lawsuit, to say the least. It almost looks like a proxy salvo in the ongoing war between the "Alt-Right" and the "Establishment Left," which is no longer political parties in power but West Coast tech companies shutting down speech they don't like.

The problem is, Google can legally police speech however it wants. It pays the price in goodwill and public perception, but arbitrary enforcement of app store policies isn't the same thing as antitrust violations, even if the end result is the death of apps and platforms.

At the end of it, we're left with a lawsuit that serves mostly to cater to its base: pissed off Gab users. That's fine, if that's all you want from your legal representation. Google's booting of the Gab app isn't any more correct than this resulting lawsuit. It's a move that caters to its base: progressives who feel speech they don't like shouldn't be allowed anywhere.

Google's motivations for the shutdown are probably as simplistic as they are inexcusable: Google simply didn't want to be known as the place where people could go to get the Gab app. Apple's earlier rejection relegated it to the Android ghetto and Google is engaging in broken windows policing. It's ugly all over and it does nothing to reconcile diametrically-opposed thinking, but it's not anticompetitive. It's just stupid.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 11:12am

    What's going on with Randazza?

    I mean, I know the guy supports nearly-unlimited free speech, and I get his support of rather distasteful characters towards that end. I mean, given that he's adopted the use of the label "SJW" for people he disagrees with, maybe his time spent with those distasteful characters has rubbed off a bit, but that's neither here nor there.

    I'm more concerned about his seeminglydubious grasp of copyright in the Pepe case, his seemingly dubious grasp of fair use in his DMCA filing, and now his seemingly dubious grasp of Section 230...

    Marc used to be, from everything I've heard, an excellent lawyer, and he won a bunch of high-profile First Amendment cases (like the Rightshaven case). I wonder what happened.

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

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 21 Sep 2017 @ 7:31am

      Re: What's going on with Randazza?

      Marc's a decent chap for the most part but he is a lawyer for hire and he is fascinated by the limits of free speech. It is this fascination that takes him to unsavoury places at times, and this is one of them.

      Marc is actually right about copyright in the Pepe case; you don't OWN the cultural items you create because you can't own an idea. If fans run off and do something you're not happy with it that's unfortunate but copyright law won't save your creation from being repurposed, i.e. used as memes. The purpose of copyright is to limit the right to earn money from distributing copies to the rightsholder — that's all. In the case where someone is using it for a children's book copyright infringement is in play and Furie is in a good position to sue for that as far as I know.

      I don't like the alt-right. They are truly awful people. However, the more one tries to shut them up the louder and more insistent they become. The only way to defeat them is with ridicule; meme harder.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2017 @ 10:47am

        Re: Re: What's going on with Randazza?

        Marc is actually right about copyright in the Pepe case; you don't OWN the cultural items you create because you can't own an idea.

        Tell that to Axanar.

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

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 22 Sep 2017 @ 2:24am

          Re: Re: Re: What's going on with Randazza?

          Somebody did, they thought they'd be good to go but got sued. The insistence on the use of the word "Property" is the problem here; courts are increasingly forgetting the Constitutional purpose of copyright and are buying into the ownership angle. Don't be surprised to find that eventually copyright terms no longer have a limit because it's property. That's where we're headed.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 5:30am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: What's going on with Randazza?

            Oh, I agree that Axanar got an unfair shake here.

            But you said "copyright law won't save your creation from being repurposed." Not that preventing repurposing is against the spirit of the law (a point I agree with), but that the law itself, as interpreted by the courts, won't protect work from being repurposed.

            My point is that the Axanar case shows exactly that: that the law, as it is written, used, and interpreted today, does prevent such repurposing, and that, by presenting it as a slam dunk, Marc Randazza is either bluffing a better hand than he has (always possible), knows something about the case beyond the obvious (which is why I said it's seemingly dubious), or is overconfident in his chances of winning this case.

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            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 22 Sep 2017 @ 5:39am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What's going on with Randazza?

              My point is that the Axanar case shows exactly that: that the law, as it is written, used, and interpreted today, does prevent such repurposing

              Pardon my pedantry but it doesn't prevent jack. It does, however, mean you could be sued and that the plaintiff is likely to win. People do stuff all the time, it's the ones who are caught who end up in court. I'd be interested to learn how memes could be prevented; yes, I know about the times they've ended up in court but once a meme "escapes into the wild" you can't catch it and lock it back up again. The Streisand Effect takes over, particularly when courts are involved. Using the item without permission in a book is much easier to prosecute. I think that'll win.

              ...by presenting it as a slam dunk, Marc Randazza is either bluffing a better hand than he has (always possible), knows something about the case beyond the obvious (which is why I said it's seemingly dubious), or is overconfident in his chances of winning this case.

              He does both of those things, to be honest.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 6:18am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What's going on with Randazza?

                Pardon my pedantry but it doesn't prevent jack. It does, however, mean you could be sued and that the plaintiff is likely to win.

                And here, on this site, you're going to argue that lawsuits don't create a chilling effect on the same types of expression that people are sued for?

                This is certainly an odd venue in which to make that argument.

                I'll concede that nothing will completely stop memes, even specific memes, from spreading. However, in the Pepe case, the content was taken down without even a lawsuit (Randazza was basically saying "I'll hand you your ass if you try to get the money you're threatening to sue for"), which I'd say proves my point better than it proves yours.

                He does both of those things, to be honest.

                Both of those... three things?

                Are there two in particular you agree with, or was that meant to encompass all three?

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                • identicon
                  Wendy Cockcroft, 22 Sep 2017 @ 7:25am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What's going on with Randazza?

                  And here, on this site, you're going to argue that lawsuits don't create a chilling effect on the same types of expression that people are sued for? This is certainly an odd venue in which to make that argument.

                  I've not seen any examples of meme-making being chilled. As I've already said the one about the Pepe character being used in a book is likely to win — that's flat out infringement.

                  the content was taken down without even a lawsuit (Randazza was basically saying "I'll hand you your ass if you try to get the money you're threatening to sue for")

                  That won't stop the meme from spreading even though the content was removed from that site — for now. I'm using Funnyjunk as precedent here; the Oatmeal's creator wasn't happy about fans uploading his stuff there without even linking to his site but ultimately accepted that they're going to do it anyway. That's the trouble with sites based on uploaded content; the only way to proactively prevent them from uploading stuff you don't want there is to approve it prior to uploading. That's impractical. This does not mean it's okay, I'm just saying it happens. So... don't be surprised to see Pepe memes popping up on that site again. It'll happen sooner or later unless the site moderators are pre-approving posts.

                  Are there two in particular you agree with, or was that meant to encompass all three?

                  Ah... running out of break time. Yes, it was meant to encompass all three.

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      • identicon
        Thad, 21 Sep 2017 @ 11:19am

        Re: Re: What's going on with Randazza?

        If fans run off and do something you're not happy with it that's unfortunate but copyright law won't save your creation from being repurposed, i.e. used as memes. The purpose of copyright is to limit the right to earn money from distributing copies to the rightsholder — that's all.

        That's not entirely true. There are four prongs to a fair use analysis; profit is only one of them. The lines are blurry and it's difficult to guess where a court will come down.

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

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 22 Sep 2017 @ 2:26am

          Re: Re: Re: What's going on with Randazza?

          Ohai, Thad. You're right about what happens in practice, can't argue there. However, memes will happen whether courts come down on them like a ton o' bricks or not.

          Creations will be repurposed nonetheless, is what I'm saying here. Fan fiction, parody, memes... whether these are legal or not they still happen. Heck, I've discovered there is such a thing as real person fiction. The implications...!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2017 @ 11:52am

      Re: What's going on with Randazza?

      Techdirt is avoiding commenting on that for some reason. These guys are insane thinking that saying, kill all people who are different than me as a rallying cry for power is just simple free speech. Once that group gets in power (if ever) and starts executing their known plan, these jerks will just do an about face and act like nazi speech doesn't bring with it material consequences/actions.

      Free speech is much more complex than what the a-holes on this site make it out to be.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 11:13am

    "Alt-Right Twitter App"???

    From interviews I've viewed of the creator of the Gab.AI app, I wouldn't describe their app as "Alt-Right" - they're just again censorship/want to be a more open alternative to Twitter.

    Calling Gab.Ai an "Alt-Right Twitter App" would be like calling Twitter a "Far Left App".

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 11:19am

      Re: "Alt-Right Twitter App"???

      Sure, you'd have a point, if Twitter was created in response to "far left" activists being kicked off another social media site, and they chose a "far left" symbol as their logo.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 11:20am

        Re: Re: "Alt-Right Twitter App"???

        Mainstream ideologies don't get kicked off of mainstream platforms.

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

        • icon
          John Snape (profile), 20 Sep 2017 @ 11:58am

          Re: Re: Re: "Alt-Right Twitter App"???

          It might not be "mainstream" to the owners of Twitter, but it is in the general population. There are more Republicans registered than there are Democrats. And they control more state houses, as well as Congress and the presidency, than Democrats do. That seems pretty "mainstream" to me.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 1:49pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "Alt-Right Twitter App"???

            You don't obviously get what the "alt" part of alt right stands for.

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

            • icon
              John Snape (profile), 20 Sep 2017 @ 2:23pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Alt-Right Twitter App"???

              When pretty much everyone to the right of Marxism is considered alt-right nowadays, I do understand what the term means, at least in current parlance.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 2:27pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Alt-Right Twitter App"???

                Except they aren't and you don't.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 3:47pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Alt-Right Twitter App"???

                Your comment is kinda funny considering that some on the far right, call them what you like, say the GOP is too liberal.

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                • identicon
                  JEDIDIAH, 21 Sep 2017 @ 11:52am

                  Re: "Alt-Right Twitter App"???

                  You mean not really being committed to fiscal conservatism and minimalist government? What you are describing is being called an extremist for holding a political party up to it's own stated values.

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

            • identicon
              jimb, 20 Sep 2017 @ 8:31pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Alt-Right Twitter App"???

              It means they are to the right of center of right.

              It is only this election cycle and the divisiveness of the media that it is equated to hitleresque attitudes.

              You are likely an easy target being someone easily told what to think and how to think.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 10:09pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Alt-Right Twitter App"???

                You're projecting like a champ there jjimbo. Alt right is a self descriptor of white supremacists. Or In words you can understand, the hitlerites call themselves that. Also keep trying with the insults. Someday you won't get laughed out of the room.

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

                • identicon
                  JEDIDIAH, 21 Sep 2017 @ 11:53am

                  Luxury, genocide, and other diluted terms.

                  You are displaying precisely the sort of problematic distorted rhetoric the OP was complaining about. "Alt Right" is just a catch all media term for anyone they don't like.

                  This leads to gays and Jews being lumped in with Neo-Nazis.

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

                  • identicon
                    Thad, 21 Sep 2017 @ 12:20pm

                    Re: Luxury, genocide, and other diluted terms.

                    If they're gays and Jews who are advocating for ethnic cleansing, then they should absolutely be lumped in with neo-Nazis.

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              • identicon
                Thad, 21 Sep 2017 @ 11:29am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Alt-Right Twitter App"???

                It is only this election cycle and the divisiveness of the media that it is equated to hitleresque attitudes.

                Nonsense. The term "alt-right" was originated by Paul Gottfried in 2008 and has been promoted by Richard Spencer since at least 2010. Gottfried has been preaching the superiority of white Christian European culture for decades, and Spencer is a white supremacist who has called for "peaceful ethnic cleansing".

                It's only this election cycle that most people have heard the term "alt-right", but it's been associated with white nationalism for as long as it's existed.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 2:56pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "Alt-Right Twitter App"???

            > There are more Republicans registered than there are Democrats.

            Do you have a citation for this? The last numbers I can find are from 2014 and Democrats were slightly higher than Republicans in registration.

            As has been pointed out already, you're wrong about what is generally categorized as alt-right, but it seems like your claim about Republicans being greater in number isn't necessarily true either.

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      • identicon
        jimb, 20 Sep 2017 @ 8:27pm

        Re: Re: "Alt-Right Twitter App"???

        That distinction is unnecessary. How it is being used is what matters.

        It is sleazy to make this an alt-right vs left no matter how you look at it. The least the author could have done is claim that it is about protecting the children.

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

    • icon
      ShadowNinja (profile), 20 Sep 2017 @ 1:04pm

      Re: "Alt-Right Twitter App"???

      So, 'Conservapedia' isn't a 'Far-Right' alternate to Wikipedia by your logic then?

      (For those unaware, years ago some conservatives got mad at Wikipedia's supposed 'Liberal bias' and decided to start their own alternate wikipedia for conservatives, called Conservapedia. The site was WIDELY mocked across much of the Internet, both for the lack of content, and for just how ridiculously inaccurate many of the articles it had were, especially on articles about anything vaguely political.)

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 3:16pm

      Re:

      Are you referring to Andrew Torba? The guy who got kick out of Y combinator for harassment? The guy who sprinkles his post with alt right memes?

      https://www.buzzfeed.com/nitashatiku/trump-supporting-startup-ceo-kicked-out-of-y-combinator?u tm_term=.xeNLojVAGe#.wxYlg13nMr

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 11:48am

      Re: "Alt-Right Twitter App"???

      It's a place where people tended go when Twitter has banned them, regardless if anybody thinks they have worthwhile opinions to express or not.

      At the least it's filled with Twitter-banned self-proclaimed edgelords who love to see anyone rage or flee with terror at the words they type.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 11:41am

    open and shut case

    stupid people use twitter and gab, however, it appears certain that twitter does not enforce it's own rules uniformly and violates the app stores rules which also does not enforce it's own rules uniformly...

    As a juror, based on the information "currently available" I would be deciding in favor of gab. Hypocrisy rates pretty high on my list of things to nail folks to the wall over.

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    • identicon
      michael, 20 Sep 2017 @ 12:02pm

      Re: open and shut case

      You know Twitter isn't a party to these proceedings, right?

      And while I'm here, sideloading is ridiculously easy. Anyone who wants Gab can:

      Turn on sideloading -> install Gab -> turn off sideloading.

      It's Google store; who cares what they ban from it?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 12:50pm

        Re: Re: open and shut case

        "You know Twitter isn't a party to these proceedings, right?"

        On the surface no, but under anti-trust, potentially. The question comes down to, is Twitter in communication with Apple to favor its app over others like it? If yes, then they are party. If no, then the next question moves to why is apple not treating the other app fairly by comparison? Does apple execs have stock in Twitter which causes them to unfairly favor them? Those are questions that need answering in these cases.

        "And while I'm here, sideloading is ridiculously easy. Anyone who wants Gab can:

        Turn on sideloading -> install Gab -> turn off sideloading.

        It's Google store; who cares what they ban from it?"

        Yes, you are correct that people can easily overcome some of these limitations. But that would be like saying Walmart can turn away black customers because they can easily go over to Target to buy the same thing.

        Why has Apple decided to not enforced its own policy evenly? Is Twitter involved, in any way, with promoting this occurrence? Do executive have ulterior motives?

        Twitter may be innocent here, but they can certainly be suspect.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 12:53pm

          Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

          doh... meant to say Google in this case. need to keep which company is which here.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 1:56pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

            Perhaps it's time to retire your legal oponions until you can figure out who is being sued, and what they are being sued for.

            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, 20 Sep 2017 @ 1:59pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

              "legal oponions"

              should we say that same about you and your spelling?

              I recognized the mistake and made effort to correct it. Only a juvenile feels the need to troll others over simple mistakes.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 3:55pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

                Yeah - everyone else spells everything correctly around here, not a typo to be found .. sheeesh.

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

            • identicon
              JEDIDIAH, 21 Sep 2017 @ 11:58am

              Re: open and shut case

              Twitter is part of the general problem of corporate dominance. Their abuse of their position led to Google being in a position to abuse theirs.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 12:57pm

          Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

          Yes, you are correct that people can easily overcome some of these limitations. But that would be like saying Walmart can turn away black customers because they can easily go over to Target to buy the same thing.

          More like saying that Walmart can refuse to carry a certain item in their store. It's the product being targeted, not the customers.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 1:35pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

            This is not the same thing.

            An electronic item is not comparable in the same way as a physical object taking up space on a shelf here.

            And we are talking about the rules "Google" has set and the fact that "Google" is not evenly enforcing their own rules. This is the problem. It really does not matter how they pick and choose when they are picking and choosing in contravention of their own rules.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 1:48pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

              Report content issues or violations

              Here's how you can let us know when you come across inappropriate content, comments, and reviews on Google Play. We take your reports very seriously. Flag apps, games, or music as inappropriate

              We review flagged content for hate speech, spam, nudity, malicious behavior, and other violations of our Terms of Service

              Clear as day. Users can still side-load. Just like those the "PeeOTUS" blocked on twitter can still sign out to see his tweets.

              As I said - welcome to the new normal.

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 1:56pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

                there is no helping stupid.

                that is not the problem here, and you are too stupid to understand that!

                The problem is not specifically who gets rejected or not, but the reasons they got rejected. The problem is Googles consistency in enforcing the rules. Inconsistently enforcing your own rules potentially places you into legal hot water because you can now be made to appear that you are engaging in anti-trust behavior.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 5:32pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

              This is not the same thing.

              An electronic item is not comparable in the same way as a physical object taking up space on a shelf here.

              Please, explain how "not serving black customers" is more comparable to "not carrying a particular product in your electronic store" than "not carrying a particular product in your physical store" would be.

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            • identicon
              jimb, 20 Sep 2017 @ 8:42pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

              Sure it is. Think encryption technologies and you'll clearly see his point.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 1:00pm

          Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

          Yes, you are correct that people can easily overcome some of these limitations. But that would be like saying Walmart can turn away black customers because they can easily go over to Target to buy the same thing.

          Or like a same-sex couple being told they can get their cake or marriage license somewhere else.

          That's the problem when you mix your personal morals into business isn't it? Sooner or later you'll find yourself on the other end of it, whining and complaining...

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 1:06pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

            Alt-Right isn't a protected class. Feel free to petition it.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 1:18pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

              No class should be protected, that by its nature demands the law to be unfairly applied to everyone which directly means that equality before the law is no longer possible and Justice is sacrificed for political expediency. These things are certain to bite you on the ass in the future.

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              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Sep 2017 @ 2:42pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

                No class should be protected

                Slight correction: No class should need to be protected. In a perfect world, we would not need anti-discrimination ordinances. But this is not a perfect world.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2017 @ 6:00pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

                  If you do think protected classes are a good idea, political ideologies should be protected at least as much as religion, because politics is of such importance to a remotely free society.

                  However, IMO a better and fairer solution to protected classes in business and employment would be a requirement that any entity doing business (as defined for tax etc.) and which holds itself out to the public as engaging in some business (to exclude internal sub-companies which only do business with their controllers) may decline to do business with any member of the public only on demonstrable business grounds.

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            • identicon
              JEDIDIAH, 21 Sep 2017 @ 12:01pm

              Re: open and shut case

              You should not be allowed to create a system of Jim Crow based on any criteria. This includes politics. Actually, the prevention of such a thing based on political lines should be the FIRST thing you seek to avoid.

              The fact that you retreat to a legalism just demonstrates that you don't really value the underlying principle (namely liberty).

              Your reaction is why we need to have laws and governments (and associated abuses) in place to maintain order and protect rights.

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              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 3:27am

                Re: Re: open and shut case

                You should not be allowed to create a system of Jim Crow based on any criteria. This includes politics.

                What aspect of a political belief raises it to the same level as, say, a system of religion or the ethnicity of a person?

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                • icon
                  The Wanderer (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 6:45am

                  Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

                  Just to devil's-advocate a bit: what aspect of a system of religion (which is, generally speaking, a matter of choice) raises it to the same level as the ethnicity of a person (which, at least in all examples I can think of, cannot be changed)?

                  And what is it about a system of religion (again, a matter of choice and belief) that distinguishes it from any other belief system in this regard? In philosophical and principle terms, I mean, not anything based in "because the people who wrote the rules said it should be that way".

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                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:02am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

                    Religion involves faith and personal spirituality—a belief, or lack thereof, in something bigger than oneself. Whether someone believe in Jesus Christ, Mohammed, the Norse gods, a general sense of The Divine, or no supernatural force/deity at all, their religious beliefs stem from a personal search for their own spiritual truth. In an ideal world, a religious belief, regardless of whether it is theistic or atheistic, would neither govern the rule of law nor become prey to legal discrimination. Religion may not be an immutable trait, but it is as personal to a given individual as their ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The government should never be in the business of declaring a specific belief or an entire belief system as “invalid”.

                    Political beliefs, by contrast, function near-entirely within the secular. They require not faith or spirituality, but facts, data, and logic. And while religious beliefs often play a role in someone's political beliefs, that someone could still hold a political position that contradicts their religion. Anyone can abandon or change their political and ethical beliefs if those beliefs—or the person holding them—seem obsolete or faulty; look at the decade-long societal shift in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage as proof.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 1:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

            "Or like a same-sex couple being told they can get their cake or marriage license somewhere else."

            This is a different situation. If we want to compare apples to apples, it would be that some gays are allowed to get married but others are not. Which comes back to the same question, why does this gay couple get a license but not the other? In the case here, some social applications are allowed to remain even when they are breaking the rules while others are blocked for breaking those rules.

            "That's the problem when you mix your personal morals into business isn't it? Sooner or later you'll find yourself on the other end of it, whining and complaining..."

            You are correct, but this applies to EVERYONE. No one is an exception to this rule. You are every bit as hateful, full of piss and vinegar as a racist homophobic dirt bag. The only difference is that you are on the other side of the fence being every bit the bitch they are.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 1:21pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

              The only difference is that you are on the other side of the fence being every bit the bitch they are.

              The only difference is Google hasn't pulled the "but it offends my god" defense. Yet.

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      • identicon
        jimb, 20 Sep 2017 @ 8:40pm

        Re: Re: open and shut case

        It absolutely does matter. Claiming it doesn't is like saying marketing doesn't matter. If people do not know you exist then you won't get sales, or in this case downloads and installs. This seems that is precisely what Google is after here. The way to change it is to sue and get some of that marketing.

        I bet when the first car was used to rob some place the establishment wanted to ban cars because they could easily outrun horses.

        Or once encryption was used by terrorists the establishment tried to make it out as a tool or the alt-right terrorist. Or alt-left, depending on your point of view.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 10:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

          Stop trying to make alt left happen, it's not going to happen.

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          • identicon
            JEDIDIAH, 21 Sep 2017 @ 12:04pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

            It already has. It's called Antifa and Bernie Sanders.

            It's a great way to distinguish modern liberals from classical ones. You can disconnect the fascism and communism.

            It shouldn't be up to those of us pushed past the other side of the center to distinguish ourselves.

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            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 22 Sep 2017 @ 5:50am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

              This is what happens when political discourse goes too far to the right. Stop it.

              Read this: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1DwJBWyyJycnPHKFlyEE6XWCghMYtOliu1P_uaODOA0M/edit#gid=1100033 226

              That's where traditional left/right politics is.

              As for Antifa, they're a) not organised b) mostly anarchists and c) their violence is unacceptable because violence is unacceptable, whoever does it.

              Now kindly drop the whataboutism and stop pretending that far right political positions are maintstream. They're not.

              And stop pretending that mainstream left wing positions are extreme. They're not. Single payer wouldn't end the world; it'd solve your healthcare delivery problem.

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            • identicon
              observer, 24 Sep 2017 @ 11:57am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

              Sanders is a fairly middle-of-the-road social democrat who's nothing like the revolutionary either his supporters or detractors think he is.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 10:39pm

        Re: Re: open and shut case

        > Anyone who wants Gab can:

        > Turn on sideloading -> install Gab -> turn off sideloading

        You vastly overestimate the average smartphone user

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        • icon
          nerd bert (profile), 21 Sep 2017 @ 6:54am

          Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

          The average smartphone user doesn't change the ring tone, much less go in and mess with security settings. And when Google makes sideloading a two step procedure and tells them that it's dangerous to sideload, well...

          The only part of the complaint that really stands a chance is the fact that Google has effectively made the Play Store the only way to get apps for the vast majority of people. Forcing the sideloading of apps effectively bans them from 99+% of the market, and that's where Google's anticompetitive/monopolistic risk lies.

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          • identicon
            Thad, 21 Sep 2017 @ 11:15am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

            And when Google makes sideloading a two step procedure and tells them that it's dangerous to sideload, well...

            Well what?

            That's how installing a downloaded app works in Windows and macOS, isn't it?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 12:15pm

      Re: open and shut case

      Where does "making up laws because I don't like Twitter" rank on the list?

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 20 Sep 2017 @ 3:20pm

      Re: open and shut case

      As a juror, based on the information "currently available" I would be deciding in favor of gab. Hypocrisy rates pretty high on my list of things to nail folks to the wall over.

      In which case you are someone who should be struck from any jury pool you find yourself in. Hypocrisy is not against the law, and using the power granted to you by the legal system to punish someone for doing something you don't like but which isn't illegal would be a blatant abuse of power.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 11:44am

    Mark Randazza has lost his ever loving mind and now he's transformed into a patent troll-like lawyer? WTF?

    He's now lost any respect I had for him. This lawsuit is baseless. It's like trying to sue Apple because they refused to approve your app for the App Store.

    LOLS

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  • identicon
    Stosh, 20 Sep 2017 @ 11:48am

    This dastardly "Hate Speech" I keep hearing about...is it speech you hate or is it speech I hate and who gets to decide?!?

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  • icon
    radix (profile), 20 Sep 2017 @ 11:54am

    I can sort of see the logic

    Comcast runs its own DNS server. If you (like the majority of Americans) use Comcast as your ISP, you probably run your internet traffic through those lookup servers. Of course you have the option to change that for your own setup, but the vast majority of people don't even know that, let alone how to do it.

    So if Comcast were to get angry with Techdirt's coverage and block the domain from their DNS servers, a huge portion of the population would not be able to access the site. Due to the dominant market position, this would be seen unfavorably by most people, and perhaps the law. One could also (even somewhat convincingly) argue that Comcast has its own 1st Amendment right to block and display whatever it wants, but that sounds somewhat less credible from Net Neutrality supporters.

    It's not a perfect analogy, but it's pretty close. Google and Apple have both blocked something they disagree with, and as the dominant market access points, they bear a bit more burden to make sure they have a damned good reason for doing so.

    Standards being inconsistently applied is a pretty good definition of arbitrary discrimination. If this were done at the website level rather than the app level, I feel like your position would be different, here.

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    • icon
      Richard (profile), 20 Sep 2017 @ 12:20pm

      Re: I can sort of see the logic

      The problem with this argument is that, although what Google/Apple are doing may be "wrong", legally there really is nothing that can be done about it. The first amendment only restricts government bodies and anti-trust laws were not designed to restrict abuses of monopoly power outside the economic sphere. This is why the lawsuit is struggling to find a law to hang itself on.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 2:36pm

      Re: I can sort of see the logic

      If this were done at the website level rather than the app level, I feel like your position would be different, here.

      "App neutrality" is not a movement, at least not yet. Is it enough that Google allow people to load applications from outside the store? That's a defense Apple don't have.

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    • identicon
      Thad, 20 Sep 2017 @ 5:50pm

      Re: I can sort of see the logic

      It's not a perfect analogy, but it's pretty close.

      No, it really, really isn't.

      Android users can install apps from sources other than the Play Store.

      As is routinely noted here at Techdirt, most people in America can't just go use another ISP.

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    • identicon
      JEDIDIAH, 21 Sep 2017 @ 12:06pm

      Re: I can sort of see the logic

      Changing DNS settings on a PC or home router are pretty trivial and routine in a way side loading is not.

      I happen to use Google's servers [ducks].

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      • identicon
        Thad, 21 Sep 2017 @ 12:17pm

        Re: Re: I can sort of see the logic

        Changing DNS settings on a PC or home router are pretty trivial and routine in a way side loading is not.

        Wait what?

        If you think a typical end user can figure out how to change DNS settings, you haven't talked to many.

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  • icon
    McFortner (profile), 20 Sep 2017 @ 11:55am

    Cheezus

    "Alt-right" is the buzzword right now that SJWs use for anything they don't agree with, regardless if their claims against it is correct or not. "But they use logo that is also used by the alt-right, so they must be evil!" Um, Antifa uses flags in their logo, so flags must be Antifa symbols of Antifa, right? So Google won't show images of flags unless they are related to Antifa now. Right? Right?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 12:16pm

      Re: Cheezus

      Umm, you have no idea what you're babbling about.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Sep 2017 @ 12:47pm

      Re: Cheezus

      “Alt-right” is a “buzzword” adopted by the people who actually call themselves that. The Gab app was developed by—and ostensibly for—people who either embrace the label “alt-right” or just accept it as a label for their specific sociopolitical community. And while an implicit judgment of “alt-right” ideologies may run through the article, the author did not explicitly condemn—or condone—the speech of anyone in that community. If anything, the article shows more sympathy for the “alt-right”/Gab community and their arguments than an otherwise “left-leaning” blog ever would.

      Also, two addendums: One Antifa logo is a flag, but a flag is not necessarily an Antifa logo; and find a better argument than whining about people you hate.

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

      • identicon
        JEDIDIAH, 21 Sep 2017 @ 12:07pm

        Re: Re: Cheezus

        > “Alt-right” is a “buzzword” adopted by the people who actually call themselves that.

        ...and applied by liberal media to anyone they don't like regardless of whether or not those people actually identify with the alt-right themselves.

        Like anything, it's a completely diluted and meaningless term now because it's been abused so hard.

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

        • identicon
          Thad, 21 Sep 2017 @ 12:18pm

          Re: Re: Re: Cheezus

          liberal media

          Like anything, it's a completely diluted and meaningless term now because it's been abused so hard.

          Hmmmm...

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Sep 2017 @ 7:00pm

          Re: Re: Re: Cheezus

          Like anything, it's a completely diluted and meaningless term now because it's been abused so hard.

          I could say the same for “SJW”, but you probably have a thrilling, compelling, altogether impeccable argument for why I am wrong.

          Do take the time to share it. You know, if you have it.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 12:50pm

      Re: Cheezus

      ""Alt-right" is the buzzword right now that SJWs use for anything they don't agree with"

      Sorta like how they called themselves "teabaggers" ...
      until they found out what it means

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

      • identicon
        JEDIDIAH, 21 Sep 2017 @ 12:08pm

        Re: Re: Cheezus

        Tea Baggers is the perjorative that OTHERS call them.

        "The irony is strong in this one."

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

        • icon
          The Wanderer (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 6:59am

          Re: Re: Re: Cheezus

          It is my understanding that the term was first used of the movement by its members, and that the pejorative use of it arose only when the media began pointing out (or people began pointing out to the media) that that word had an existing meaning.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_Party_movement#.22Teabagger.22 has a brief commentary on the subject, but not much detail. I haven't found a better source in shallow searching thus far.

          I do remember TV coverage of someone wearing a wide-brimmed hat with tea bags hanging from the rim, espousing something like the positions of what would later come to be called the Tea Party; it is my understanding that this was done on purpose by the people involved in the original gatherings, to invoke the historical memory of the Boston Tea Party, and that it is this practice that gave is the movement its name.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 1:00pm

      Re: Cheezus

      "Alt-right" is the buzzword right now that SJWs use for anything they don't agree with, regardless if their claims against it is correct or not.

      It reminds me of a time, long ago, when a certain group of Internet commenters would use the buzzword "SJW" for anything they didn't agree with.

      Happily, that time has passed, as I'm sure that it will for "alt-right."

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

    • identicon
      Will B., 20 Sep 2017 @ 3:05pm

      Re: Cheezus

      The irony of your first sentence is *staggering.*

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

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 20 Sep 2017 @ 5:50pm

      Re: Cheezus

      ""Alt-right" is the buzzword right now that SJWs use for anything they don't agree with..."

      Bit like the term "SJW" right?

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

    • identicon
      Thad, 20 Sep 2017 @ 5:51pm

      Re: Cheezus

      "Alt-right" is the buzzword right now that SJWs use for anything they don't agree with, regardless if their claims against it is correct or not.

      "SJW", on the other hand, is a serious term used by serious people who are very very serious.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 12:38pm

    How ironic!

    How ironic that the alt-right, who would certainly argue that:

    • A baker need not put aside their morals to bake a cake for a same-sex couple
    • that Hobby Lobby should not have to put aside their morals and include birth control in their health care plans
    • or that some moron who was married several times can object to issuing a marriage license to same-sex couple

    would now whine like a bitch when they are denied a platform to spew their nonsense.

    Karma's a bitch, isn't it?

    I guess you'll have to do whatever the same-sex couple were supposed to do...go fuck yourself and find somewhere else to do business, right?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 1:04pm

      Re: How ironic!

      There is a lot of cognitive dissonance here.

      "A baker need not put aside their morals to bake a cake for a same-sex couple"

      I am okay with this and Google's decision, provided that the rules state that but they don't, that is the problem here. The rules do not state that certain applications are allowed to breach these rules. They are written in such a way as to denote that they apply to everything.

      If a bakery had an "all customers welcome sign" in their window then I would rule against a bakery that denied a cake to a gay couple as well. Most establishments have a sign saying they reserve the right to refuse service without much qualifier, so if they can refuse you service for not wearing a shirt, then they can refuse you service for being gay. Not saying it the right thing to do, but their legal right to do so per the 1st and freedom of practice of religion.

      "that Hobby Lobby should not have to put aside their morals and include birth control in their health care plans"

      This pretty much is the same as the first and much for the same reasons. I also do not agree with government mandated you must pay for anything so I would not agree with forcing an insurance company to even pay for your Tylenol. If you don't like that, then get a different provider.

      "or that some moron who was married several times can object to issuing a marriage license to same-sex couple"

      This one I do agree with you on. She had no business working for the government while simultaneously trying to enforce her beliefs on anyone. If the government says that gays can marry then she should have done her fucking job and issued the licenses provided they followed all the legal requirements.

      "Karma's a bitch, isn't it?"

      Did you say that to all of the people where this goes the other way? I am sure that if you receive a backlash on this you would not be screaming that karma is a bitch would you?

      "I guess you'll have to do whatever the same-sex couple were supposed to do...go fuck yourself and find somewhere else to do business, right?"

      More of that dissonance... it's okay for YOU to run off people you disagree with but it is NOT okay for people that disagree with you to run YOU off, now is it? funny, would karma be a bitch, or your bitch, if someone comes after you for that?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 1:17pm

        Re: Re: How ironic!

        More of that dissonance... it's okay for YOU to run off people you disagree with but it is NOT okay for people that disagree with you to run YOU off, now is it?

        Oh come on now, with all that whining.

        No one's running anyone off. Those who want Gab just have to side-load it. Just because the majority of users have no idea what that means isn't really germane to the conversation isn't it?

        It isn't as if the bakery was obligated to offer the same-sex couple instructions on where they could get a cake. Nor was the civil servant obligated to tell the same-sex couple how to actually get a marriage license, since she wasn't going to do her job.

        Corporations have feelings too. From the lowly baker, to the mouth breathing civil servant, to the mighty Google.

        So yeah, they can fuck off, Google "side-load" and hope for the best. Sorry if you think that's "dissonance" - you might want to look up the term. This is the new normal.

        Buckle up!

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 1:46pm

          Re: Re: Re: How ironic!

          "Oh come on now, with all that whining."

          We make a nice Whiny Symphonic then eh?

          "No one's running anyone off. Those who want Gab just have to side-load it. Just because the majority of users have no idea what that means isn't really germane to the conversation isn't it? "

          Again, that is not the point here. The point is that the rules set by the App Store are not being followed. I am okay with Google running them off provided that it is done in compliance with the rules they have set forth and that those rules are applied evenly across all other players.

          "It isn't as if the bakery was obligated to offer the same-sex couple instructions on where they could get a cake."

          True, they are not obligated to do anything, but the problem would be the same for the bakery, because in this case they would have been baking cakes for other same-sex couples but just not this one. So why do the others get a cake but not these?

          "Nor was the civil servant obligated to tell the same-sex couple how to actually get a marriage license, since she wasn't going to do her job."

          Actually, the civil servant is obligated to tell the same-sex couple how to get a marriage license to the best of her ability. If that clerk did not want to issue same-sex licenses then they needed to quit their job so someone else who would do it could have the job instead.

          "Corporations have feelings too. From the lowly baker, to the mouth breathing civil servant, to the mighty Google."

          Corporations does not have feelings, but the people that comprise it do. They do not lose rights just because they are a business. The constitution does not state that you have these basic rights unless you are running a business.

          "So yeah, they can fuck off, Google "side-load" and hope for the best. Sorry if you think that's "dissonance" - you might want to look up the term. This is the new normal."

          That part is not the dissonance, the part where you advance the notion that because it is possible to side load that the App Store should walk away free and clear.. that is the dissonance.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 1:55pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: How ironic!

            If that clerk did not want to issue same-sex licenses then they needed to quit their job so someone else who would do it could have the job instead.

            But we both know that's not how things shook out. Which is exactly why I have no sympathy for Gab or the tards who use it.

            Corporations does not have feelings, but the people that comprise it do. They do not lose rights just because they are a business.

            Right - Google is comprised of people as well.

            That part is not the dissonance, the part where you advance the notion that because it is possible to side load that the App Store should walk away free and clear..

            Perhaps that novel little tidbit will be tested in court with the PeeOTUS's twitter account. Until then, I see no difference.

            Sad day for the alt-right. You truly do reap what you sow, amirite?

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 2:07pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How ironic!

              "Perhaps that novel little tidbit will be tested in court with the PeeOTUS's twitter account. Until then, I see no difference."

              That is correct, Trumps twitter account is definitely getting away with more that what other normal accounts get away with. And I am in favor of legal sanctions against Twitter for that as well. They either enforce their rules evenly or they get into trouble.

              "Sad day for the alt-right. You truly do reap what you sow, amirite?"

              This is a universal truth. The piss and vinegar of the Alt-Right is not earning them a good rep the same way that the piss and vinegar of BLM is not earning them a good rep.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Sep 2017 @ 2:14pm

        Re: Re: How ironic!

        Most establishments have a sign saying they reserve the right to refuse service without much qualifier, so if they can refuse you service for not wearing a shirt, then they can refuse you service for being gay.

        They can only discriminate against queer people in cities, counties, and states where the law does not say it is illegal—which holds true in far more places within the US than even you might be comfortable with. And no federal law exists that outlaws anti-queer discrimination in public accomodations.

        If you don't like that, then get a different provider.

        What happens if the only other providers carry with them an astronomical price tag because an employer refuses to sign off on it?

        it's okay for YOU to run off people you disagree with but it is NOT okay for people that disagree with you to run YOU off, now is it?

        The people who “disagree” with people like me—queer people, that is—do so because I am queer; they want me either pushed out of society, in jail, or six feet under. I disagree with those people because I want them to treat me like a human being and respect my civil rights.

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

      • identicon
        JEDIDIAH, 21 Sep 2017 @ 12:13pm

        Re: Re: How ironic!

        Hobby Lobby and the Baker are two different situations. They are different because there's actual ecclesiastical authority to back up Hobby Lobby. Hobby Lobby could also argue that it was being forced to engage in the practice in question.

        The baker is just providing a good to some person. They aren't being forced to cook shell fish, put cheese on meat, or handle pork.

        They just don't like the customer. Their inclination to discriminate isn't even supported by doctrine.

        The civil servant is yet another morally different situation that shouldn't be lumped in with the others. Evaluating that situation requires different criteria from the others because it's morally distinct.

        These little details matter, regardless of which way you swing on any of these situations. Lumping them together is dishonest.

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

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 22 Sep 2017 @ 5:56am

          Re: Re: Re: How ironic!

          Hobby Lobby and the Baker are two different situations. They are different because there's actual ecclesiastical authority to back up Hobby Lobby. Hobby Lobby could also argue that it was being forced to engage in the practice in question.

          Erm, no.

          There's nothing in the Bible to stop us using artificial contraception. That some hard-right Evangelicals have got on board with Roman Catholic doctrines is the problem [disclosure: I'm Protestant].

          Again, Single Payer would solve the problem by getting your employers out of your healthcare. They shouldn't be involved with it in the first place.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 6:22am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: How ironic!

            There's nothing in the Bible to stop us using artificial contraception.

            There is the story of Onan.

            I'm not saying that I agree with their arguments, but to say that they're completely without Biblical support is inaccurate.

            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, 20 Sep 2017 @ 12:41pm

    Somehow the definition of "Alt-right" continues expanding to everything dislikeable. Alt-right vegetables (broccoli). Alt-right vehicles (anything too loud). Alt-right communication (political opinion disagreed with by someone, somewhere).

    A feedback loop has been created. The label is used by one person or publication. Then without critical thought picked up and carrier forward spreading the label.

    In the specific case of gab.ai I see nothing to suggest it's a twitter platform for only Nazi's and the Daily Stormer. May as well label the internet alt-right for also hosting a tiny minority and pull the plug.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Sep 2017 @ 12:51pm

      Re:

      Much like Voat was created as a reaction to moderation by Reddit staff, Gab was created specifically as a reaction to moderation by Twitter staff. In both cases, that moderation seemed to target members of the so-called “alt-right”, who fled to those spin-off services for “free speech” reasons.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 1:02pm

      Re:

      I read a lot ... online and on paper and I have not seen any mention of "Alt-right vegetables", "Alt-right vehicles" or "Alt-right communication". Perhaps you have a few real life examples that you would like to share, otherwise your claims are unsupported allegations which carry no weight here.

      You mention a feedback loop and then sort of describe what you mean but that is not feedback at all, it is simple repetition not unlike the telephone game which has no feedback at all - sorta the point of the game actually.

      It is sad you feel persecuted but that may be caused by you, not others.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 12:47pm

    As many have stated previously, a non government entity business venture, held publicly or privately, does not have any obligation to support any particular potential customer's requests. For example, (no shirt - no service).

    I find it interesting how some folk think that they are special and therefore demand their "contribution" be broadcast upon any platform they want it broadcast from regardless of the policy of said platform. Using inconsistencies in the implementation of said policy to wedge your whatever into the platform ... is weak sauce.

    What is even more interesting are those who claim "freedom of Speech" in their attempts to force their opinions upon non government business - because their "rights" - apparently their do not understand their constitutional rights

    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, 20 Sep 2017 @ 1:52pm

      Re:

      "I find it interesting how some folk think that they are special and therefore demand their "contribution" be broadcast upon any platform they want it broadcast from regardless of the policy of said platform. Using inconsistencies in the implementation of said policy to wedge your whatever into the platform ... is weak sauce."

      Stupid like you does not ever end does it? That is not the problem here. The problem is Google arbitrarily enforcing policy, which is illegal and can get them into legal hot water.

      You cannot make a rule that says, we will ban anyone promoting hate speech or allowing porn on their platform and then allow a platform to do just those exact things while telling another platform that they can't and then banning them. That is the problem here. Either the App store allows them both or it bans them both until they adhere to the requirements set forth in the terms of service.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 2:37pm

        Re: Re:

        No it isn't and yes they can. And I've offered just as much evidence that you have that this is the case.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Sep 2017 @ 2:38pm

        Re: Re:

        You cannot make a rule that says, we will ban anyone promoting hate speech or allowing porn on their platform and then allow a platform to do just those exact things while telling another platform that they can't and then banning them.

        Cite the law that says so.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 4:07pm

        Re: Re:

        Oh, hello ... it's the YerStupidGuy

        How many posters here are stupid so far? Is it only those with whom you disagree? Is it possible for someone that you do agree with .. to also be stupid?

        Inquiring minds want to know ... but that is not the problem here (as you astutely pointed out) - LOL

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

      • icon
        Mike Masnick (profile), 20 Sep 2017 @ 5:57pm

        Re: Re:

        The problem is Google arbitrarily enforcing policy, which is illegal and can get them into legal hot water.

        Pretty much all of the case law on CDA 230 says you're completely and totally wrong. CDA 230(c)(2) says that a company shall not be held liable for "any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected."

        The only way around that is to climb the very, very, very difficult mountain of arguing that Google's actions here are not "taken in good faith." And I'm unaware of a single CDA 230 case that has successfully argued that such actions were not taken in good faith, and I see almost no path to argue here that the actions were not taken in good faith, despite what's claimed in the lawsuit.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Sep 2017 @ 7:01pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          My guess: The argument hinges on how Twitter contains all kinds of “objectionable” material and remains on the App Store, while Gab contains similarly “objectionable” material but got the boot. The real argument, then, hinges on how Gab admins/mods/higher-ups moderated their service as opposed to how Twitter’s team moderates their service.

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

          • icon
            Mike Masnick (profile), 20 Sep 2017 @ 9:35pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            My guess: The argument hinges on how Twitter contains all kinds of “objectionable” material and remains on the App Store, while Gab contains similarly “objectionable” material but got the boot. The real argument, then, hinges on how Gab admins/mods/higher-ups moderated their service as opposed to how Twitter’s team moderates their service.

            That's meaningless for a CDA 230 analysis, honestly. CDA 230 is clear that the platforms get to decide. It says nothing about treating different users differently.

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

  • identicon
    jimb, 20 Sep 2017 @ 8:24pm

    I mostly agree with this site's analysis of all things tech dirt related. In this article the author does the despicable where he seems to claim this is an alt+right vs the left attack.

    That should be corrected.

    One factor that the article misses is that Google by now is likely a monopolist and is using that monopoly power to establish a monopoly in other markets.

    Aside from gab being right in objecting to excessive use of power to stifle speech I think they are not really doing this to win. They are doing it to bring attention to the fact that a monopolist is abusing it's power.

    It might behoove Mike to go over the history of section 230 protection erosion if the party seeking coverage is actively engaged in censorship. Do they loose 230 protection if they attempt to censor (unless it is for some illegal act).

    If we can't be assured that a monopolist will not abuse their position then the government could simply use them as a proxy to stifle free speech with proxied censorship.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 20 Sep 2017 @ 9:37pm

      Re:

      It might behoove Mike to go over the history of section 230 protection erosion if the party seeking coverage is actively engaged in censorship. Do they loose 230 protection if they attempt to censor (unless it is for some illegal act).

      No, CDA 230 literally says the exact opposite. The whole point of CDA 230 was to encourage sites to take down content they didn't like, and says that you get NO CIVIL LIABILITY (an absolute immunity) for the choices you make in moderating content on your platform.

      So, the fact that the party is using it to take down legal content does not do away with 230 protections. It's the point of 230 protections.

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

      • identicon
        jimb, 21 Sep 2017 @ 4:56pm

        Re: Re:

        Thanks for replying Mike. I was pointing out that there was a discussion in the past, maybe several, that covered this exact question. Is censorship going to hurt section 230 protection? I know you say no, but I believe attacking it that way was a tactic used more than once. Saying no just stops the discussion. Have the courts ruled specifically on this?

        I worry about the government pulling a McCarthyist tactic (a red scare) where anything alt-this or that can be censored at the government's behest. This makes private censorship very dangerous and section 230 would protect the private entity and cover up government proxy'd censorship.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous, 20 Sep 2017 @ 9:04pm

    > If we can't be assured that a monopolist will not abuse their position then the government could simply use them as a proxy to stifle free speech with proxied censorship.

    That is exactly what has been happening since August 2014. All of the online censorship has been driven from the top down by the billionaires running the corporates. The billionaires are taking orders from their governments, and the Western governments are taking orders from the Muslim governments. That's why there was such a shitstorm about Qatar. They were involved in this, but so were several others.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2017 @ 10:39pm

    And the Muslums are controlled by George Soros, who is a obviously a robot lizardman. And we all know that the robot lizardman are just a front by the grey alien cabel of pizza chain owners. Who are in turn are secretly run by Obamas Jewish Bigfoot Brotherhood Of Black Lives Matter Freemasons. It's all there if you just study it out.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2017 @ 4:53am

    this is one of the most disingenuous headlines I have ever read. So many inaccuracies in the headline alone totally invalidate the rest of the article.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 21 Sep 2017 @ 5:15am

      Re:

      I have to say, I was hesitant at first to accept your argument for why the headline and argument were so flawed, to the point that the entire article is invalid, yet your detailed and well presented case for this has certainly convinced me.

      Truly, your mastery of the written word is without peer, and your ability to present your case and back it up with supporting arguments and evidence is enough to bring those who you rightly chastise to their knees in defeat.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2017 @ 7:03am

      Re:

      Disingenuous was on my word of the day calendar too!

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


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