DOJ And State Attorneys General Threatening Social Media Companies Over Moderation Practices Is A First Amendment Issue

from the that's-not-how-any-of-this-works dept

Earlier this month, President Trump made it explicitly clear that he expects the Jeff Sessions' DOJ to use its power for political purposes, protecting his friends and going after his enemies:

And, while the DOJ hasn't done that concerning indictments of Trump's friends and cronies, it appears that Sessions may be moving towards it with another "enemy" in the mind of Trump. Over the last few weeks Trump has also made it clear that he (incorrectly) believes that the big internet companies are deliberately targeting conservatives, and has threatened to do something about it.

On Wednesday, just after Twitter and Facebook appeared before Congress, the DOJ released a statement saying that it was investigating whether or not actions by the big internet companies was "intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas." The full statement was short and to the point:

We listened to today's Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Foreign Influence Operations' Use of Social Media Platforms closely. The Attorney General has convened a meeting with a number of state attorneys general this month to discuss a growing concern that these companies may be hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms.

The competition question is one that the DOJ's antitrust division clearly has authority over, but alarms should be raised about the DOJ or state AGs arguing that these platforms are "stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms." Because while -- on its face -- that might sound like it's supporting free speech, it's actually an almost certain First Amendment violation by the DOJ and whatever state AGs are involved.

There are lots and lots of cases on the books about this, but government entities aren't supposed to be in the business of telling private businesses what content they can or cannot host. Cases such as Near v. Minnesota and Bantam Books v. Sullivan have long made it clear that governments can't be in the business of regulating the speech of private organizations -- though those are both about regulations to suppress speech.

But there are related cases on compelled speech. Most famously, perhaps, is West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette which said schools' can't make kids say the Pledge of Allegiance. In that case, the court ruled:

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.

Forcing platforms to carry speech would clearly go against that.

Miami Herald v. Tornillo actually seems even more directly on point. It was in response to a Florida state law demanding "equal space" for political candidates, but the court ruled, pretty definitively, that as private publications, the government could not compel them to host speech they did not want to host. The ruling even discussed the issue of a lack of competition -- which Sessions' statement alludes to -- and concludes that's not an excuse for compelling speech. In CBS v. the Democratic National Committee, the Supreme Court clearly noted:

The power of a privately owned newspaper to advance its own political, social, and economic views is bounded by only two factors: first, the acceptance of a sufficient number of readers -- and hence advertisers -- to assure financial success; and, second, the journalistic integrity of its editors and publishers.

In other words, if a private speech hosting platform is too one-sided, that is for the market to decide, not the government.

So, yeah, there are concerns raised here about freedom of expression... but it's by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and whichever State Attorneys General decide to participate in this clown show. Oh, and just to put a little more emphasis on why this is clearly a political move designed to suppress free speech rights? So far only Republican Attorneys General have been invited -- a point I'm sure any court would take note of.


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  • identicon
    Clarence the Clairvoyant, 10 Sep 2018 @ 9:42am

    If this GOP investigation is anything like their past investigation of russian election interference then I think I know what the result is going to be.

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      identicon
      Don Caster, Yorks, 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:12am

      Re:

      If this GOP investigation is anything like their past investigation of russian election interference then I think I know what the result is going to be.

      I'm afraid so too.

      Because 1) in fact, was Hillary / DNC / FBI which paid to have those allegations fabricated. 2) after a year, Mueller has come up with exactly zero at Trump and campaign. 3) Jeff Sessions is militantly doing NOTHING about pursuing Hillary. 4) Certain people still believe the assertions and trot them out every chance.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:27am

        Re: Re:

        "2) after a year, Mueller has come up with exactly zero at Trump and campaign."

        Five former Trump administration officials have either confessed or been convicted of breaking the law, so yeah - exactly zero bad stuff found.

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:50pm

        Re: Re:

        And of course the TD Freeze Peachers censor your post because they don’t like your opinion, all the while being too dense to realize the irony. Ya can’t make this stuff up, folks!

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  • icon
    NoahVail (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 9:43am

    Trump brings out the worst in himself.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 9:53am

    net neutrality?

    It feels like they want some sort of net neutrality regulations at the information service level. I'd maybe be a little more sympathetic to their argument if they were also pursuing net neutrality among ISPs.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:06am

      Re: net neutrality?

      I have no idea what you are talking about. NN has nothing to do with the edge platforms and the GOP request of those platforms to perform requested speech moderation, aka censorship.

      There is no way you can twist the NN debate into some new fangled attack upon how platforms moderate the comment section(s) of their websites.

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      • icon
        ShadowNinja (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:55am

        Re: Re: net neutrality?

        So, you're saying the GOP demands a Fairness doctrine, after demonizing it for decades after it's repeal.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Hero, 10 Sep 2018 @ 11:12am

        Re: Re: net neutrality?

        I think I know where the first Anonymous Coward was going when s/he brought up NN: privately-owned ISP's sharing of information over the network can be construed as "speech", so ISP may regulate (i.e., block/throttle/etc) whatever information it wants to send.

        > that as private publications, the government could not compel them to host speech they did not want to host.

        If an ISP can convince the government that it is a publishing platform (publishing other people's network packets), then maybe they could pull it off?

        I don't know. I'm not a lawyer.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 1:13pm

          Re: Re: Re: net neutrality?

          ianal .. I thought there was a diff between a private platform (no shirt no service) and an ISP (we dont care if you are naked).

          Is there an example of an existing ISP that is "private" and is censoring their customer's content?

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          • identicon
            John Thacker, 10 Sep 2018 @ 7:50pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: net neutrality?

            "I thought there was a diff between a private platform (no shirt no service) and an ISP (we dont care if you are naked)."

            Legally, any ISP can claim to either operate a "we don't care what you do service" (a BIAS - Broadband Internet Access Service) or a curated service. The FCC even in the proposed Title II regulations acknowledged (and conceded in lawsuits) that an ISP that forthrightly claims to operate in a curated manner would have a First Amendment defense against net neutrality regulations. They just couldn't claim to be totally open and uncensored yet violate net neutrality. This was, of course, a massive loophole, but still held true even with the Title II regs.

            "Is there an example of an existing ISP that is "private" and is censoring their customer's content?"

            Yes, there's a handful of unusual religious ISPs (like at least one, JNet, that operates in New York for Orthodox Jews, especially Hasidim) that censor their customers' content on their own request (or the request of their rebbe, whom they follow.)

            The First Amendment issue is real, and it did indeed provide a way for ISPs to "opt out" of the net neutrality regulations. Trump and Republicans are being hypocritical, but it's wrong to dismiss the First Amendment argument regarding ISPs unless you want to be equally hypocritical (and lose in court.)

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2018 @ 6:43am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: net neutrality?

              Interesting, the curated service was then allowed?

              I thought that if the ISP willingly moderated user content then that made them responsible for the entire content and section 230 was not applicable, or something like that.

              Ok, some private club type ISPs filter the content for their willing customers, no big deal so long as alternatives are available for those who do not wish to participate.

              The first amendment does not provide an opt out for a government regulated utility. ISPs have been fighting that one for some time.

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  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:03am

    At least the rules are getting clearer...

    1) If you block posting of any user content, we will fine you.
    2) if you fail to remove objectionable content within 1 hour we will fine you.
    3) if you remove or otherwise censor any content, we will fine you.
    4) If you don't block objectionable content from being posted, we will fine you.

    or, to put it simply, "Send us all your money"

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

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    identicon
    Don Caster, Yorks, 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:07am

    So, protecting "natural" person's 1A rights NOW illegal?

    It's "Threatening Social Media Companies" that The Gov't must not do.

    As always, you are PRO-corporate "rights", ANTI those of "natural" persons.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:16am

      Re:

      As always, you are PRO-corporate "rights"

      Screamed the AT&T/Comcast fanboy.

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

    • icon
      Ryunosuke (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:23am

      Re: So, protecting "natural" person's 1A rights NOW illegal?

      you chose to use a private service with it's own TOS and EULA, you break that, you get kicked off. It's not fucking hard to understand.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:31am

      Show me the law that says the government can legally force a privately-owned platform to host someone else’s speech.

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    • identicon
      un-natureal person, 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:34am

      Re: So, protecting "natural" person's 1A rights NOW illegal?

      Yeah, I hate those natural persons too.

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    • icon
      ArkieGuy (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:36am

      Re: So, protecting "natural" person's 1A rights NOW illegal?

      Is it within your first amendment right to walk up to the front of Walmart and paint "Walmart sucks!" on their wall? Is it within their first amendment right to have YOUR paint removed from their wall? Just curious...

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 12:15pm

      Re: So, protecting "natural" person's 1A rights NOW illegal?

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

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 2:22pm

        Re: Re: So, protecting "natural" person's 1A rights NOW illegal?

        There is only one way to change the Constitution, and there is a process for that, one which does not involve the president.

        There are various ways to interpret the Constitution, and they all involve courts. While a prosecutor might lay out some novel concept, the decision is in the courts hands, through various levels.

        No matter what Trump suggest about 1st Amendment protected behavior, he cannot order it to stop. He already tried with the protesters during the inaugural but lost (almost?) every case.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 7:27pm

          Re: Re: Re: So, protecting "natural" person's 1A rights NOW illegal?

          His jack booted thugs still got away with their criminal behavior.

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          • icon
            Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 7:54pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: So, protecting "natural" person's 1A rights NOW illegal?

            That is a judicial (when one includes DA's and prosecutors in the concept of judicial along with the courts) rather than a Constitutional issue.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2018 @ 6:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So, protecting "natural" person's 1A rights NOW illegal?

              Laws are meaningless when the DA refuses to prosecute.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2018 @ 12:33am

      Re: So, protecting

      Why do you state this as a false dichotomy? There are corporations and natural persons on either side of your equation.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:12am

    What about "equal time"?

    Do the equal time regulations still exist? Those required broadcasters that accepted political advertising to provide airtime to opposing viewpoints at the same consideration. If they do (the regulations) wouldn't they fall under this concept of government telling broadcasters (or platforms) what they have to carry?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:35am

      Re: What about "equal time"?

      That is why they were struck down some time ago I guess.

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

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:36am

      Re: What about "equal time"?

      If it does, it exists only in broadcast TV and Radio, and there only because of the increased regulatory authority that the government holds over spectrum use. Its where a number of dwindling regulatory rules lay. Its why Braodcast TV is much more strict in its content than Cable, because the FCC had authority over OTA content. Cable, doesn't.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:40am

      Re: What about "equal time"?

      Do the equal time regulations still exist?

      No. Not since 1987.

      If they do (the regulations) wouldn't they fall under this concept of government telling broadcasters (or platforms) what they have to carry?

      No. Even if they did, it would not apply. They only applied to broadcast television using the public airwaves. That does not cover internet platforms (or cable TV, for that matter). And the only reason why it was marginally legal in the first place was because the government had given the broadcasters a license to use those airwaves, and part of the "exchange" in order to get the spectrum was the equal time part. But that doesn't apply to anyone who hasn't licensed spectrum from the government and thus has not agreed to any such deal... which the FCC stopped requiring over 30 years ago anyway.

      So, no.

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      • identicon
        Too Much Coffee Man, 11 Sep 2018 @ 11:45am

        Re: Re: What about "equal time"?

        The Fairness Doctrine and the equal-time rule are different, and they applied to both television and radio. The equal-time rule is still in effect.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2018 @ 12:12pm

          Re: Re: Re: What about "equal time"?

          Not sure how they are two separate items but ok ... does not matter, neither one of them is applicable to the internet.

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          • identicon
            Too Much Coffee Man, 11 Sep 2018 @ 1:41pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: What about "equal time"?

            The Fairness Doctrine was introduced in 1949. The Fairness Doctrine required holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial issues of public importance and to be fair and impartial. The equal-time rule, which came into effect into law in 1927, specifies that U.S. radio and television broadcast stations must provide an equivalent opportunity to any opposing political candidates who request it.

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

    • identicon
      Too Much Coffee Man, 11 Sep 2018 @ 1:36pm

      Re: What about "equal time"?

      The equal-time rule specifies that U.S. radio and television broadcast stations must provide an equivalent opportunity to any opposing political candidates who request it. It is still in effect.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Boyle Plate, 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:15am

    BUT Is Section 230 CDA to benefit The Public or corporations?

    Obviously The Public by providing speech outlets. You could not find a single politician who'd say it's to benefit corporations. -- Though it's entirely possible that was and is the intent: a stealthy form of censorship.

    Corporations have PR departments with large budgets to get their message out. It's only individual "natural" persons who need outlets for their views.

    CDA 230 provides a new form of immunity that allows corporations to HOST content without the full liability of PUBLISHING it as still true for print outlets.


    Masnick is for corporations CONTROLLING the speech and outlets of "natural" persons. He repeats it often, can't be mistaken. From last year:

    "And, I think it's fairly important to state that these platforms have their own First Amendment rights, which allow them to deny service to anyone."

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170825/01300738081/nazis-internet-policing-content -free-speech.shtml

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  • identicon
    David, 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:40am

    Is this a First Amendment case?

    It seems like sort of a slippery line between claiming First Amendment protections for a platform to procure content it likes and demanding DMCA protections from liability for not being responsible for the hosted contents.

    Either it is an expression of the platform rather than just its users or not.

    When the platform considers itself as a mere provider (while following its legal moderation obligations according to DMCA when noticed), it would lack the standing for a First Amendment itself, wouldn't it? Its users would be the one's whose freedom of speech were concerned then.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 11:13am

      Re: Is this a First Amendment case?

      I thought section 230 only covered user contributions to the website, usually a comment section, where does it address the content posted by the website owner(s) as you have alluded to?

      I think you are a bit confused or perhaps being disingenuous.

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      • icon
        ArkieGuy (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 12:05pm

        Re: Re: Is this a First Amendment case?

        Facts are so inconvenient.... Just ignore them!

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 1:16pm

          Re: Re: Re: Is this a First Amendment case?

          and those facts are?

          What DMCA protections are given to platforms that cover content that they publish? Not talking about user comments or links to elsewhere.

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      • identicon
        cpt kangarooski, 10 Sep 2018 @ 3:18pm

        Re: Re: Is this a First Amendment case?

        Generally, 47 USC 230 is used to protect websites from being sued on the grounds that they had the ability to prevent unlawful material from being posted on the site by third parties, but failed to scrupulously do so. (Subject to some limitations, such as material that infringes copyrights)

        However, the actual language of the law is that so long as the material does not originate from the website itself, there is no liability. In rare instances this has been used to protect websites which posted material that they had obtained offline.

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    • identicon
      John Smith, 10 Sep 2018 @ 5:01pm

      Re: Is this a First Amendment case?

      Hooters once claimed to be an entertainment venue except from discrimination laws, yet an attorney pointed out that they claimed to be a family-friendly restaurant in their zoning applications.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 5:21pm

        Re: Re: Is this a First Amendment case?

        And if your aunt had a cock she’d be your uncle. Which has had much to do with the topic at hand as your comment.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 7:30pm

          Re: Re: Re: Is this a First Amendment case?

          I guess he is saying that family friendly restaurants are not very entertaining?

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      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 7:55pm

        Re: Re: Is this a First Amendment case?

        Just what is un-family-friendly about Hooters/. The main 'attraction' is something every non bottle fed child knows intimately.

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        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 11 Sep 2018 @ 5:47am

          Re: Re: Re: Is this a First Amendment case?

          Women presented as sex objects, they're as commodified as the food they serve.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2018 @ 6:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this a First Amendment case?

            Wasn't there a guy who sued them cause they would not hire him as a waiter?

            lol - what kind of family dynamic is going on when the entire family goes out to eat at hooters?

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            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 11 Sep 2018 @ 7:07am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this a First Amendment case?

              1. Not surprised, though that also discriminates against females and gay men wishing to leer over a near-naked man.

              2. One shudders to imagine! That's messed up on so many levels.

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    icon
    Padpaw (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 11:18am

    I am sure it's just a coincidence conservatives keep getting banned for what they say while the radicals on the democrat side are allowed to say whatever they want.

    For example recently a vet was banned from twitter for daring to criticize Obama's speech about benghazi being a conspiracy theory.

    Verus Twitter allowing the official Hamas group to stay up. Nevermind that group publicly advocates terrorist actions.

    The real danger of course is someone criticizing Obama, not advocating terrorist attacks on people. When i see that double standard I don't believe it is a coincidence. That is a deliberate choice by whoever is in charge of deciding what is and is not worth being censored.

    Saying they are not biased is silly, it doesn't mean they can be forced to regulate what they censor fairly. But let's not pretend the bias does not exist.

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    • identicon
      bob, 10 Sep 2018 @ 11:48am

      Re:

      You are assuming that it is all up to one person or board of people making a group consensus. Additionally that the person/group has time to consider all aspects and intentions of each post.

      In reality it is hard, a bunch of disconnected people do the removals, hardly any time is allowed for review, and see the post from techdirt about content moderation at scale.

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    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 10 Sep 2018 @ 11:53am

      Re:

      Do you agree with the following TOS?

      "If you violate these rules, your posts and/or user name will be deleted.
      Remember: you are a guest here. It is not censorship if you violate the rules and your post is deleted. All civilizations have rules and if you violate them you can expect to be ostracized from the tribe."

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 11:59am

      Re:

      He's right. There isn't a single tweet on twitter criticizing Obama. His anecdote about some guy getting banned from twitter is all the evidence of bias we need.

      God Bless America

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 12:07pm

      Re:

      I am sure it's just a coincidence conservatives keep getting banned for what they say while the radicals on the democrat side are allowed to say whatever they want.

      Your premise is incorrect. People of all kinds of political persuasions have both had content taken down and left up despite people being angry about it.

      You can cherry pick examples of both type 1 and type 2 kinds of errors for whatever political viewpoint you espouse, and it says absolutely nothing about how the system actually works.

      For example recently a vet was banned from twitter for daring to criticize Obama's speech about benghazi being a conspiracy theory.

      As I was just saying... cherry picking examples is useless

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 12:45pm

      Re:

      Oh wait your serious?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 1:20pm

      Re:

      When viewing the world thru binoculars one tends to lose their peripheral vision.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 5:22pm

      WhataboutObama

      Drink!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2018 @ 12:46am

      Response to: Padpaw on Sep 10th, 2018 @ 11:18am

      Hamas are Democrat-side radicals?

      Obama is a Democrat-side radical, even? Laughable.

      Please show this vet (as if that is relevant) who was kicked off whatever for simple criticism.

      Bad day or what? You are usually pretty thoughtful. (Also, had not seen you in a while, glad you are still here.)

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2018 @ 10:32am

        Re: Response to: Padpaw on Sep 10th, 2018 @ 11:18am

        The Overton Window has moved to the right but many do know what it is or why they should care.

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

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 11 Sep 2018 @ 10:06am

      Re:

      Ah yes, well-known Democratic Party-affiliated organization (checks notes) Hamas.

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  • icon
    NeghVar (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 1:06pm

    Future of the first amendment

    I know the first amendment does not apply to private companies. But with every means of communication run by a private organization, would the first amendment eventually shrivel down to standing on the corners of public streets or out front of city hall waving your picket signs? The means to reach the masses would be obstructed if your views are not popular with those who own the platforms.
    I am not saying it should apply, but if everything becomes privatized, then what's the point of freedom of speech if it applies to nothing of significance?

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 1:19pm

      if everything becomes privatized, then what's the point of freedom of speech if it applies to nothing of significance?

      It still applies to words spoken aloud, in public and in private. It still applies to writings on physical objects (e.g., self-published zines). It still applies to every form of communication and self-expression that is not, has never been, and will never be “privatized” or controlled by a corporation. The “point of freedom of speech” is to protect from government censorship all of those things in addition to the speech we put on other people’s platforms.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 1:24pm

      Re: Future of the first amendment

      Everything privatized - lol ... isn't that what the captains of industry are trying to achieve?

      There is nothing stopping you from starting up your own platform and allowing all the speech you want.

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      • icon
        NeghVar (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 1:25pm

        Re: Re: Future of the first amendment

        An ISP

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 2:23pm

          Re: Re: Re: Future of the first amendment

          I thought the websites (platforms) were being asked to moderate speech not ISPs, guess I missed that.

          How does an ISP affect one's first amendment rights?
          Not can - but how does
          Are any ISPs presently censoring anything?

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    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 1:39pm

      Re: Future of the first amendment

      I am not saying it should apply, but if everything becomes privatized, then what's the point of freedom of speech if it applies to nothing of significance?

       

      Modern technology hasn't changed anything in this regard, in fact, it's created more opportunities for your speech to reach wider audiences.

      Thirty years ago if you wanted to reach a wider audience your choices were either television or newspapers, both which are privately owned and had much more stringent rules about allowing anyone to use their platforms.

      Freedom of speech doesn't equate to "freedom to use someone else's megaphone whenever you want". With today's technology, there are plenty of options - find a platform that aligns with your views, create your own platform (like Mike has done with Techdirt) or invent something totally new.

      And, just because Facebook, Twitter & Google are at the top of the heap right now it doesn't mean they will stay there. AOL, GeoCities & MySpace were all at the top of heap at one time too.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2018 @ 12:52am

      Re: Future of the first amendment

      Shit, you were born after the Internet, weren't you?

      Guess what. If you have a message worth anything, put it on a personal blog, and other ppl will share it on twitface. For real. No one owes you a platform, never mind an audience.

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    identicon
    John Smith, 10 Sep 2018 @ 2:26pm

    Section 230, which other countries do not have any equivalent for, gives internet companies an immunity not afforded offline media. Why? DISTRIBUTOR liability is well-established law that has not been overturned by the US Supreme Court.

    A private company can still be a "state actor" for legal purposes, much like the phone company is, and they are a common carrier. None of this runs afoul of the First Amendment.

    USENET continues to have total free speech and is completely decentralized, with companies specifically dedicated to ensuring access to the internet's only true public square. Note that the public abandoned USENET rather than relying on filters.

    The public, through its conduct, has said that it does not care about internet censorship, and the ISPs thus have no reason not to continue to engage in it. I know that conservatives are censored very unfairly in many situations, but I also know that even companies which supposedly censor them (like Google) provide a platform like YouTube for all but the most extreme content. They might de-monetize certain content but that's the market speaking, not Google. They are extremely fair in how they pay people and are basically just an auction house for advertising.

    The real problem is one that is not specific to speech. "Good" people can get away with bad behavior against single individduals and rely on their overall reputation to avoid scrutiny. That predates the internet and will continue on for all eternity.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 3:03pm

      Re:

      Why? Because it's silly?

      The internet is not common carrier, I thought we had this discussion.

      The public abandoned usenet? So who uses it now?

      "The public" does care about censorship, maybe you have an ax to grind?

      Poor conservatives - no one wants to listen to their lies and bigoted ranting, go figure. It is not censoring when I do not listen.

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      • identicon
        John Smith, 10 Sep 2018 @ 3:23pm

        Re: Re:

        "No one wants to listen to" means the content is ignored.

        "No one wants ANYONE ELSE to listen to" is the root of censorship.

        Totally different things.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 3:55pm

          If Twitter, Facebook, etc. were making it impossible for racists like Richard Spencer and misogynists like Milo Yiannopolis to say what they want outside of those platforms, you might have had a point.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 4:16pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Have you tried not being sexist and racist? That might help with the whole “no one wants to listen to you” problem you have.

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

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            identicon
            John Smith, 10 Sep 2018 @ 5:15pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Hooters once claimed to be an entertainment venue except from discrimination laws, yet an attorney pointed out that they claimed to be a family-friendly restaurant in their zoning applications.

            Ad hominem fallcy. I'm talking about the difference between ignoring and censoring. I have no difficulty getting my message out in enough places to worry about censorship. I am commenting on others but apparently you want to personalize your argument.

            The terms "racist" and "sexist" are subjective, yet the way some try to9 define them shows a clear political bias. Reality doesn't change just because the left (or right) doesn't like it. A good example was Australia, where men were called sexist for claiming divorce courts were biased in favor of women. Women ignored this and celebrated the legal climate...until rich men started refusing to marry them due to the unreliability of prenups. Voila! The law is changed so that courts can consider them. We're seeing a similar evolution with the Marriage Strike in the US.

            Whether intientional or not, you're advocating the type of doublespeak which occurred in the Soviet Union, where public "reality" was dictated by force rather than facts, but private reality guided behavior. Even now some woman just wrote an essay about how a man who asked for consent during sex didn't bother asking for consent qafter ghosting her after sex, since the law didn't require it.

            Here's an academic journal which suppressed an article about why more men are high-achieving nitellectuals than women:

            https://hotair.com/archives/2018/09/08/scientific-paper-male-variability-made-disappear/

            the top levels of science, chess, and anything requiring objective intellect tends to be overwhelmingly male. Calling it "sexist" doesn't change that. the current climate makes it impossible to argue even with facts that don't fit the PC narrative, but that's like telling someone with cancer that they don't have a tumor. The tumor will continue to grow until its presence must be acknowledged.

            #metoo has women admitting to abuse, but in the course of that they are also admitting to covering up the abuse for decades and enabling further abluse. How many women would not have been abused were it not for the first victims keeping quiet to protect their income? Fearing retaliation is an excuse, but they had no fear of other women being harmed.

            How many women cover up for abusive men until their children are abused, and even then how many cover up when their children are abused by their husbands or lovers? the PC left wants to open "honest discussion" and debate and then shut it down when it takes turns they don't like. Discourse and debate do not work that way.

            On a personal level, I can point this out once to soimeone, and if they respond as you have it is best simply to ignore you and let reality, not your political whims, dictate my future behavior. A smart man isn't going to throw his life away on marriage just because some feminist tells him divorce courts aren't biased.

            If a fat woman tells a pretty woman that she shouldn't have been hired because the woman's husband wanted to #metoo his new intern, the wife can deny it, and inevitably will whine ten years later that hubby left her fo a new intern. Reality ignored by political pressure is just like a tumor ignored by someone indenial even when the x-rays show they clearly exist.

            People can lie or deceive all they want. those who continue to engage these people are wasting time and energy and making it easier for those who do not waste that energy to thrive. In the late 1970s, men were toldthat "nice guys" like Phil Donahue were the near "alpha males." Dumb men listened, while smart men saw Reagan, Arnold, and Stallone becoming the type of men that women reallyw anted. those who ecame "simps" wound up in the friendzone, while the men who were put down for being "sexist" got laid.

            If oen side needs to censor the other based on ad hominem insults, it would appear that the side that supposedly needs to be silenced is correct. Historical precedent suggests this very strongly.

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              John Smith, 10 Sep 2018 @ 5:20pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              People who live in reality will thrive in arenas like chess, investing, etc. because those who are disconnected from reality will be checkmated or lose money, while those who are better connected to reality will thrive. of course these arenas -- as well as scientific inventions -- are overwhelmingly dominated by men because women cannot win by force of politicsl pressure.

              the man who says the above will be branded a sexist, while the man who simply uses his superior intellect to get rich in the markets and shows up at a nightclub to spend the money will have women lining up to have sex with him.

              Why do rich men get laid so easily? women aer for sale.

              "It's not the money, it's what earned them the money." You mean like Prince Harry or any trust fund kid earned his?

              Feminism and PC don't stand up well to scrutiny. Smart men just chose arenas where being in touchwith reality is the key to success, while women gravitate to "soft science."

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              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 7:09pm

                those who are disconnected from reality will be

                …elected to the office of President of the United States.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 7:17pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                And... what's your point? Wasn't your entire criticism of copyright discussion based on the premise that you're worth listening to because you made millions? What the hell happened to that? And you can fuck right off with "buh buh techdirt pirates stole my moneyz" because not only does nobody know who you are, you intentionally keep it that way so as to not have to prove anything you say.

                If women are for sale and rich men get laid so easily why do you have such a damn beef if you've been talking down to us all this time because you're rich? What about your self-help book? Didn't you have a method to make millions, what was that again? Oh, right - pretend you have the secret to success, then brag about it to visitors on a site you call a distraction. Wow, can't figure out why THAT didn't work...

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

              • identicon
                Wendy Cockcroft, 11 Sep 2018 @ 5:52am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Feminism and PC don't stand up well to scrutiny. Smart men just chose arenas where being in touch with reality is the key to success, while women gravitate to "soft science."

                What are you wibbling on about? The only individual to ever hold TWO Nobel prizes for science is Marie Curie.

                As for political correctness, I'm with you there but only because it gets used to perpetuate social divisions by presenting "protected groups" as having thin skins and a hair-trigger temper.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 5:23pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So that’s a no, then?

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 5:38pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              And if your aunt had a cock she’d be your uncle. Which has had much to do with the topic at hand as your comment.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 9:41pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The terms "racist" and "sexist" are subjective

              Actually no, they're really not. They are sometimes used subjectively but, by definition, they are not subjective. As soon as you advocate the superiority of one race/gender above another, or the inferiority of one race/gender to another, that's racist/sexist.

              the top levels of science, chess, and anything requiring objective intellect tends to be overwhelmingly male.

              No one is denying this. What people have a problem with is when someone (such as the author of the study you cited) try to say this is because of some inherent difference between men and women and everyone should just ignore it and move on. This is a load of crap.

              #metoo has women admitting to abuse, but in the course of that they are also admitting to covering up the abuse for decades and enabling further abluse.

              Congratulations, you just blamed the victims, who perhaps don't really want to talk about it because, you know, IT'S A FREAKING HORRIBLE EVENT AND NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO HAVE THAT DRAGGED OUT IN THE PUBLIC FOR ALL TO SEE. Ugh.

              A smart man isn't going to throw his life away on marriage just because some feminist tells him divorce courts aren't biased.

              Then maybe he has the wrong idea about marriage to begin with and it's a good thing he isn't getting married.

              In the late 1970s, men were toldthat "nice guys" like Phil Donahue were the near "alpha males." Dumb men listened, while smart men saw Reagan, Arnold, and Stallone becoming the type of men that women reallyw anted. those who ecame "simps" wound up in the friendzone, while the men who were put down for being "sexist" got laid.

              And there you go being sexist again. It should never be about getting laid. You want that kind of release? You've got a hand, use it.

              Picking up women just to get laid is not something to be proud of, nor should it ever be a goal. That is the definition of sexism. Yeah, those "smart men", are the reason why #metoo exists in the first place.

              If oen side needs to censor the other based on ad hominem insults, it would appear that the side that supposedly needs to be silenced is correct. Historical precedent suggests this very strongly.

              Historical precedent suggests you are a racist, sexist, bigoted moron. No seriously. In this post you have managed to be racist, sexist (many times over), have concluded that your opinion is the ONLY correct one, and have shown a complete lack of knowledge of history, facts, and the human race. To whit, I can ad hom insult flat earthers until the cows come home (and many people do), they will never, ever, be correct. Your logic is invalid.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:11pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Well we now know the real reason john boy doesn’t want to use his real name here. He doesn’t want us to send flowers and get well cards to the burn unit you just put him into.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2018 @ 1:45pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Thanks for the sentiment.

                  I have little sympathy for those who treat women the way this guy does, or those who blatantly disregard facts and reality. He, and others like him, are the reason why #metoo exists in the first place, and I'm sick and tired of it. As someone of the same gender as this guy (I assume at least), it is thoroughly disgusting.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2018 @ 8:44pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Your time on your hands suggests otherwise. :P

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 4:24pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          That is understood, obviously.

          Some of those who rant about this do not.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 4:26pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I do not like your comments made on somewebsite.com
          I do not like your comments made on your soapbox in city park.

          Totally different things

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 3:52pm

      conservatives are censored very unfairly in many situations

      Ask yourself whether that happens because of actual “liberal bias” or because they are more prone to saying the kind of shit that ultimately got Alex Jones banned from…well, pretty much everywhere besides InfoWars.

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

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        identicon
        John Smith, 10 Sep 2018 @ 5:24pm

        Re:

        I'm notasking why someone was banned. I'm saying that censorship is logically invalid, and that no one should have the power to censor others based on personal politics.

        I detest what Alex Jones says, but detest even more those who would self-appoint to a position to be able to decide which speech should be allowed. The "cure" is worse than the "disease."

        Same for mental illness: what gives one person the right to didagnose another based on perfectly legal behavior? That power will inevitably be abused.

        If someone breaks the law there are legal remedies. Censorship is attempting to deny freedom of speech tos omeoen who has not crossed a single legal line. That is what I take exception to. You seem to be arguing that censorship is okay if you don't like the person being silence4d.

        What power should we give those who do not like you or who think you are mentally ill?

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 7:17pm

          I detest what Alex Jones says, but detest even more those who would self-appoint to a position to be able to decide which speech should be allowed.

          Twitter has a right to say what speech is and is not allowed on platforms owned and operated by Twitter. Twitter does not have the right to say what will be allowed on any other platform. If you take issue with this, ask yourself this: What would you do if you invited an Alex Jones fan into your house and they started spouting off Jones’s nonsense despite you not wanting to hear it?

          If someone breaks the law there are legal remedies. Censorship is attempting to deny freedom of speech [to someone] who has not crossed a single legal line.

          If Twitter were censoring anyone by booting them off one platform out of numerous others, you would have a point. But as I am fond of saying, censorship is someone saying “you can’t do that anywhere” alongside threats of either violence or government intervention. Show me where Twitter has threatened either of those things to someone that was booted from Twitter. Only then will you have a point.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 9:49pm

          Re: Re:

          I'm notasking why someone was banned

          Maybe you should.

          I'm saying that censorship is logically invalid, and that no one should have the power to censor others based on personal politics.

          If that was what is happening, you might have a point. It's not, therefore you don't.

          Same for mental illness: what gives one person the right to didagnose another based on perfectly legal behavior?

          Years of medical and scientific training and study?

          That power will inevitably be abused.

          In some cases, yes. Not universally.

          To the rest of your comment I say this:

          If I don't want to keep listening to you spout off a bunch of racist, sexist, bigoted nonsense in my house, I have every right to throw your ass out and lock the door. That is literally no different than what has happened here, with one important difference. The "house" in question had a bunch of pre-defined rules that the person walking in agreed to abide by or be kicked out. They broke that agreement and got their ass kicked out and the door slammed in their face.

          You want to dispute that?

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

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            identicon
            John Smith, 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:56pm

            Re: Re: Re:

            One can use the terms "racist" and "sexist" with a double standard that is itself racist and sexist.

            It's not victim-blaming to point out that a #metoo "victim" kept quiet and profited from covering up abuse, thus enabling abuse against OTHER VICTIMS.

            Women use the term "short man disease" to stereotype short men. Is that bigoted? Selectively analyzing language itself can be bigoted.

            As for my other point, those who deal in reality are best suited for environments where being connected to reality prevails, an d those arenas are dominated by men. Investors just take the money from those who make wrong assumptions. Affirmative-action has never checkmated anyone, nor made a scientific discovery.

            The PC left relies on subjective, qualitat ive analysis which is prone to bias and error. Those who make fortunes day trading rely on better knowledge than those who rely on intuition.

            Why are WOMEN fighting to have the "sexist" swimsuit competition put back in Miss America? Because it's one thing tocheer on a hashtag, and quite another to lose potential access to rich men and producers.

            Your feelings are not facts. If reality is what you call sexist or racist, take that up with nature. f you say outcomes are just, like a "sexist" male not being married, then if outcomes are so valid, women and minorities lck the wealth of white men due to inferior qualifications. Your logic, not mine.

            Donald Trump has shown that reality is far different than the way the left wants it. Oh and Hillary Clinton did what
            you might call "victim blaming" to Monica Lewinsky. "Believe the woman" seems to mean "believe the Democrat."

            the people who deal in reality have the advantage of no haing to waste energy perpetuating falsehoods. Those who want Trump out of office are the ones trying to change things, and seem to think insulting Trump's base is a good way to win them over. It's not.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 11:06pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              “the people who deal in reality have the advantage of no haing to waste energy perpetuating falsehoods.”


              It’s kind of sad watching someone else’s grandpa go senile in real time.

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

            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 11 Sep 2018 @ 5:55am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You're one of those "incels" I've been reading about, aren't you, John? Sad!

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Sep 2018 @ 6:20am

              Your feelings are not facts.

              Neither are yours.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2018 @ 7:07am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              One can use the terms "racist" and "sexist" with a double standard that is itself racist and sexist.

              Like you constantly do?

              It's not victim-blaming to point out that a #metoo "victim" kept quiet and profited from covering up abuse, thus enabling abuse against OTHER VICTIMS.

              Yes, it is. Would the best course of action be to report it to the police? Probably, but when you have been traumatized by such a disgusting and horrible event, you're probably not thinking straight and no one in that situation should be forced to talk about it if they don't want to. If you think otherwise, well, then you really don't care about them. Maybe try blaming the person who actually PERFORMED the abuse and subsequently tried to COVER IT UP so that they wouldn't go to jail?

              Women use the term "short man disease" to stereotype short men. Is that bigoted? Selectively analyzing language itself can be bigoted.

              First off, never heard that term before, and I am what would be considered a short man. Secondly, no, it's not bigoted because that's not what bigoted means. Go get a dictionary before you try to "selectively analyze" the English language.

              As for my other point, those who deal in reality are best suited for environments where being connected to reality prevails, an d those arenas are dominated by men.

              Are you serious right now? First off, there are many different environments that deal with reality, and they are not all dominated by men. Saying so is, well, sexist. Secondly, of the arenas that are dominated by men, why is that? Is it because of some inherent difference between men and women? No, that's sexist. Or is it because, historically, we have had a patriarchal society that has, in general, restricted women from participating in any of those arenas deemed "a man's domain". Which is also sexist but also happens to be the truth, and something that can be changed.

              Affirmative-action has never checkmated anyone, nor made a scientific discovery.

              Then you really don't know what you are talking about. Try a history class.

              The PC left relies on subjective, qualitat ive analysis which is prone to bias and error.

              I could say the same about you. Regardless of that, you're still wrong. As there have been prominent scientists throughout history, who have shaped our understanding of physics, who were "left of center".

              Those who make fortunes day trading rely on better knowledge than those who rely on intuition.

              Again, SEXIST. And blatantly incorrect. There are many women who can out think, logically, a good deal of men in the STEM fields. But that threatens your sexist superiority complex, doesn't it?

              Why are WOMEN fighting to have the "sexist" swimsuit competition put back in Miss America? Because it's one thing tocheer on a hashtag, and quite another to lose potential access to rich men and producers.

              Not all women agree with this. Your base assertion that they are only in it for the money and rich men is, again, sexist, and incorrect. Some women enjoy it, just for itself, and take pride in their beauty. Just like some men take pride in their ability to show off how muscular they are. Or are you being a hypocrite too?

              Your feelings are not facts.

              No, but my facts are facts. Meanwhile your facts are sexist, bigoted nonsense.

              If reality is what you call sexist or racist, take that up with nature.

              Maybe you should consult with nature? Because I'm pretty sure that most women are smarter, and more capable of dealing with reality than you. Hell, a blind woman showed up an entire class of computer science majors when I was in college, including myself.

              f you say outcomes are just, like a "sexist" male not being married, then if outcomes are so valid, women and minorities lck the wealth of white men due to inferior qualifications. Your logic, not mine.

              No, that is not my logic. Nowhere in any part of my post did I argue that "natural outcomes are just". My comment about a rich male not getting married because he was worried he wouldn't win the divorce lawsuit had nothing to do with a just outcome. It was my way of saying he's a sexist, selfish jerk, who cares more about his money than a live human being, and as such has no business getting married because he won't care for whoever he marries more than his money. My logic is that sexist, selfish males, such as yourself, shouldn't get involved in a deeply personal relationship, if you aren't actually going to care about the other person in that relationship.

              Donald Trump has shown that reality is far different than the way the left wants it.

              HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

              Donald Trump is the most divorced person from reality I have ever seen. And that's saying a lot considering I regularly spar with Alex Jones nutters.

              Oh and Hillary Clinton did what you might call "victim blaming" to Monica Lewinsky. "Believe the woman" seems to mean "believe the Democrat."

              Only in your mind.

              the people who deal in reality have the advantage of no haing to waste energy perpetuating falsehoods.

              No, instead we have to waste energy dealing with a bunch of nonsensical crap spouted from sexist bigots that would take us back to the dark ages if they had their way.

              Those who want Trump out of office are the ones trying to change things

              Hey, that's actually correct for once. We are trying to change things. Trump just wants to go back to the dark ages.

              seem to think insulting Trump's base is a good way to win them over. It's not.

              No it's not. But if you don't like being called a selfish, racist, sexist, bigoted moron, then maybe you should stop being one.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2018 @ 8:01am

      Re:

      I know that conservatives are censored very unfairly in many situations,

      As I've said many many times before, if you feel you're being discriminated against, then simply fuck off and go somewhere else for your "news" or whatever chattel you're trying to sell.

      If it's good enough for an LGBTQ couple needing a cake, it should be good enough for you.

      It amazes me how whiny you self-righteous little bitches are. Own a lib for real - fuck off and make your own shit.

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

  • identicon
    Christenson, 10 Sep 2018 @ 3:14pm

    I *TOLD YOU* that politics would force the moderation issue

    Now here it is...the President himself pushing it the big platforms on moderation.

    *OF COURSE* it's the wrong way, totally unconstitutional! It's why *better ideas* are needed!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 4:49pm

    On one hand, these are Private Company's and they don't have to allow the first amendment. Free Speech. On the other hand, they claim to be fair and EQUAL following their own rules.

    Why aren't the real Hate groups on the Left, the big racest lefties still on these platforms and with their FAKE News? They're on the left like these company's and so the rules really don't apply to them.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 5:08pm

      Re:

      Do you smell burning toast?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 5:14pm

      Re:

      Business does not have a duty to follow the Bill of Rights as that is a government document addressing the things that government can and cannot do.

      Freedom of speech is a principle, not a law, that describes an individual's right to speak without fear of retribution.

      Isn't it Fox News that claims to be Fair and Neutral?

      Hmmm .. is it humor, sarcasm? Poe's law strikes again.

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

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      identicon
      John Smith, 10 Sep 2018 @ 5:26pm

      Re:

      I think anyone who believe's that plural's have apostrophe's should be permanently banned from the internet and sterilized to protect the gene pool from intellectual poisoning.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:10pm

        Re: Re:

        There we go... being a pointless grammar Nazi! Finished my John Smith bingo sheet. Because you've clearly never made a grammatical fuck-up in your time here, have you John?

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

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          John Smith, 10 Sep 2018 @ 11:17pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Of course language skill doesn't matter...intelligence doesn't matter...just e FEEELINGS of those who can't achieve in quantitative arenas matter, to the point where even scientific journals won't allow a discussion of why 99.9 percent of high-achievers in truly intellectual meritocracies are male...

          Let's run our world on FEELINGS, let's put diversity over eerit...it's not like it'll harm anyone. Let's have six year-olds build levees in New Oreleans to build their confidence.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 11:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Once again with FEELING!

            Citation needed

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

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Sep 2018 @ 6:23am

            even scientific journals won't allow a discussion of why 99.9 percent of high-achievers in truly intellectual meritocracies are male

            Just off the top of my head, but I would assume that it has something to do with all the best opportunities being afforded to men for a variety of reasons, including women being driven out of such fields by men who think women are not and can never be “high achievers” or “truly intellectual”. Hmm…why does that sound familiar? 🤔

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2018 @ 7:00am

              Re:

              Not only that, but females across the globe are mistreated from birth. This sexist behavior ranges from brutal attacks to very subtle programming.

              Women are raised to be subservient and they are not afforded the same level of education if any at all and there are many of both sexes that suffer much worse.

              But yeah, let us use statistics that ignores all this and draw some really bad assumptions.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2018 @ 6:09pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Of course language skill doesn't matter...intelligence doesn't matter

            Yup. That explains a lot about you, "Jhn Smith".

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

      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 12 Sep 2018 @ 7:08pm

        Re: Re:

        ->believe's plural's apostrophe's

        Voted funny for the irony.

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

  • identicon
    John Smith, 10 Sep 2018 @ 5:43pm

    The attorneys general need to debate this at McDonald's over Quarters Pounder.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 7:40pm

      Re:

      I imagine they would discuss whether it is appropriate that the government demand said "Quarter Pounder" hamburger to actually be a quarter of a pound weight prior to cooking.
      Or, maybe they would talk about how the Ham Burglar is a bad influence for the children.

      Nah - they will make fun of the employees

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


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