Don't Regulate The Internet Like Every Company Is The Same

from the bad-regulations dept

This year seems to be the year in which governments all over the globe really, really want to regulate the internet. And they're doing a ridiculously dumb job of it. We've talked a lot about the EU, with the Copyright Directive and now the Terrorist Content Regulation. And then there's Australia with its anti-encryption law and its "abhorrent content" law. India has already passed a few bad laws regarding the internet and is discussing a few more. Then there's the UK, Germany, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Cameroon, etc. etc. etc. You get the idea.

Oh, and certainly, the US is considering some really bad ideas as well.

When you look at what "problem" all of these laws are trying to solve, it can basically be boiled down to "people do bad things on the internet, and we need to regulate the internet because of it." This is problematic to me for a variety of reasons, in part because it seems to be regulating the wrong party. We should, ideally, be going after the people doing the bad things, rather than the tools and services they are using to do the bad things (or to merely promote the bad things they're doing). However, there is an argument -- not one that I wholly buy into -- that one reasonable way to regulate is to focus less on which party is actually doing the bad thing, and more on which party is best positioned to minimize the harm of the bad thing. And it's that theory of regulation (applied stupidly) that is behind much of the regulatory theory on the internet these days.

Well, there's also a second theory behind many of the regulatory approaches, and it's "Google and Facebook are big and bad, so anything that punishes them is good regulation". This makes even less sense to me than the other approach, but it is certainly driving a lot of the thinking, at least in the EU (and possibly the US).

Combine those two driving theories for regulating the internet and you've got a pretty big mess. They seem to be taking a sledge hammer to huge parts of the internet, rather than looking for narrow, targeted approaches. And, on top of that, in focusing so much on Google and Facebook, so many of these laws are written solely with those two platforms in mind, and with no thought to how it impacts every other internet company, many of which operate on a very different basis.

Earlier this year, I wrote up my thoughts on what sort of regulatory approach would really "break up" big tech while preserving an open internet, but it's an approach that would require a very big shift in mindsets (one I'm still hoping will occur).

However, Ben Thompson has taken a much more practical approach to thinking through regulating the internet. He, like me, is skeptical of most of these attempts to regulate the internet, but recognizing that it's absolutely going to happen no matter how skeptical we are, he is proposing a framework for thinking about regulating the internet, in a way that would (hopefully) minimize the worst outcomes from the approaches being used today.

You should read the whole thing to understand the thinking, the background, and the approach, but the key aspects to Thompson's framework are to recognize that there are different kinds of internet companies -- and that's true not just up and down the stack, but across the different kinds of services. So his hope is that if the regulatory approaches were more narrowly targeted to a manner in which they fit better we'd have a lot less collateral damage in trying to shove a square regulatory approach through a round internet service.

Another key to his approach is a more modern update to the common "free as in speech v. free as in beer" concept that everyone in the open source world is familiar with. Ben talks about a third option that has been discussed for decades, which is "free as in puppy" -- meaning something that you get for free, but which then has an ongoing cost in terms of maintaining the free thing you got.

Most in the West agree, at least in theory, with the idea that the Internet should preserve “free as in speech”; China in particular represents a cautionary tale as to how technology can be leveraged in the opposite direction. The question that should be asked, though, is if preserving “free as in speech” should also mean preserving “free as in beer.”

Specifically, Facebook and YouTube offer “free as in speech” in conjunction with “free as in beer”: content can be created and proliferated without any responsibility, including cost. Might it be better if content that society deemed problematic were still “free as in speech”, but also “free as in puppy” — that is, with costs to the supplier that aligned with the costs to society?

With that premise, he suggests a way to better target any potential platform regulation:

In theory, this lets various countries who believe there are certain problems on the internet more narrowly target their regulations without harming other parts of the internet:

This distinct categorization is critical to developing regulation that actually addresses problems without adverse side effects. Australia, for example, has no need to be concerned about shared hosting sites, but rather Facebook and YouTube; similarly, Europe wants to rein in tech giants without — and I will give the E.U. the benefit of the doubt here — burdening small online businesses with massive amounts of red tape. And, from a theoretical perspective, the appropriate place for regulation is where there is market failure; constraining the application to that failure is what is so difficult.

Please don't comment on this without first reading Ben's entire piece, as it gets into a lot more detail. He very readily admits that this doesn't answer all the questions (and, indeed, likely creates a bunch of new ones).

I will admit that I'm not convinced by this model, but I do appreciate that it's given me a lot to think about. At the very least, in targeting just the ad-supported platforms for regulation solves two problems: (1) the mis-aligned incentives of ad-supported platforms to consider the wider societal impact of the platform, and (2) the sledge-hammer approach to regulating all internet platforms, no matter what type and where in the internet stack they reside, by more narrowly focusing it just at the application level and just at a particular type of service. And, frankly, this kind of approach could potentially move us towards that world of "protocols, not platforms" that I envision (a more regulated ad-supported platform world might push companies to explore non-advertising based business models).

I still have lots of concerns, however, for all of the complaints about what Google and Facebook have done with an ad supported model, we should be willing to admit that an ad supported model has created some incredibly powerful services that have really done amazing things for many, many people. Everyone focuses on the negatives -- which exist -- but we shouldn't ignore how much of the good stuff we've gotten because of an internet built on the back of advertising. Can it be improved? Absolutely. But targeting internet advertising as "the problem" still feels too broad to me (and, in fact, I think Ben would likely agree on that point). If there must be a regulatory approach, it should not be targeted just by the nature of the platform, but around the specific and articulated harm that it is trying to solve. At least that way, we can weigh the harms such a law might mitigate, against the good aspects it might hinder, and then be better able to judge whether or not the regulatory approach makes sense.

I'm still skeptical that most plans to regulate the internet will do a very good job of narrowly targeting actual harms (and to do so without throwing away lots of good stuff), but since we're going to be having lots of discussions around these regulations in the coming weeks, months, and years, we might as well start having the discussion of how we should view and analyze these proposed laws. And, on that front, Ben's contribution is a useful way of thinking about these things.

Filed Under: app, competition, free, free as in beer, free as in puppy, free as in speech, infrastructure, internet, lock in, regulations
Companies: facebook, google, youtube


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
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    Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2019 @ 7:50pm

    “Everyone focuses on the negatives, which exist”.

    Well said, with your site demonstrating some of the most negative outcomes of the current system. It is fake news from the word “go”, fake commenters with fake names posting fake comments that are all bought and paid for.

    You are one of the reasons that so many think regulation is necessary.

    You. No kidding.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Apr 2019 @ 8:06pm

      If you hate this site that much, for what reason do you keep coming back and inflicting this site upon yourself like a form of self-harm?

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 19 Apr 2019 @ 8:17pm

        Re:

        Trolling that they know will work(three replies including yours as of this comment), and/or a persecution complex/fetish that the comment section and people responding to them satisfies.

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

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          Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 1:58am

          Re: Ugly Easter Mess

          Wow -- this thread got ugly fast!

          Original topic got lost fast!

          Topic was how wonderful regulation is generally , but be real careful with internet regulation 'cause we really like the internet.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2019 @ 3:28am

            Re: Re: Ugly Easter Mess

            So, you didn't grasp even the context of the headline, but things are "ugly" because some people chose to respond to the comment that you rushed to spew on to this thread before reading it properly... Right...

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    • icon
      Matthew Cline (profile), 19 Apr 2019 @ 8:12pm

      Re:

      Are you the one who keeps going on about accounts with large time gaps in their comment history being astroturfing/shills? If so, two questions:

      1) Why wouldn't astroturfers just create new accounts? I don't think there's enough people who decide if a commenter is an astroturfer based an account's age to make it worth acquiring old accounts.

      2) How do you claim these accounts being acquired? Techdirt simply selling abandoned accounts?

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        Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2019 @ 8:36pm

        Re: Re:

        No, I’m not that guy, but I have seen a few of his comments.

        I don’t know why these “sleepers” seem to appear as he so often notes. When I first downloaded the Techdirt database (before they protected it) it took a long time because of those same posters. Maybe it just saves some time to have a “ready made” profile with a name and a history ready. Maybe it looks more convincing than a bunch of anonymous cowards commenting. Who knows?

        What do you think? Why do these “sleepers” appear? I really have no idea. (But I know a lot of other things).

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        • icon
          Matthew Cline (profile), 19 Apr 2019 @ 8:50pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          About "sleepers": someone find a link to a TD article that's interesting enough that they create an account to comment on it (or reflexively creates an account because they don't realize that anonymous commenting is possible), but there isn't any other articles that day that interest them, so they don't come back. Years later they find another link to a TD article, but that day there are enough other interesting articles to make them think "I like this site" and they stick around.

          No, I’m not that guy,

          Then how do you know that there's "fake commenters with fake names posting fake comments that are all bought and paid for"? Is it a "I know it when I see it" thing, or is there anything more concrete?

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            Bjorn Toby Mild, 19 Apr 2019 @ 9:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps a few will make you too go "HMM":

            This list is a bit out of date, but they'll be odd forever:

            SIX YEAR GAPS [# comments (per year) when listed, few increase much]:

            Advocate (to Keisar Betancourt and back!): 86 (9) SIX YEAR GAP from 2007 https://www.techdirt.com/user/advocate

            Andrew or Andrew Duane: 13 (1) 6 year gap; Jan 7th, 2008 https://www.techdirt.com/user/andrewlduane

            BAlbrecht or Bruce A.: SEVEN AND HALF YEAR GAP! 23 Mar 2009 https://www.techdirt.com/user/balbrecht

            CmdrKeene: 4 (less than 1); 6 and half year gap to 2011, then 14 month gap; Mar 23rd, 2010 https://www.techdirt.com/user/cmdrkeene

            dickeyrat: 3 TOTAL in 8 years! Aug 17th, 2017, Jun 23rd, 2011, and Jul 10th, 2010!!! https://www.techdirt.com/user/dickeyrat

            morganwick or Morgan Wick: 72 (8), year gap, 75 mo gap to 28 Apr 2009, https://www.techdirt.com/user/morganwick

            reticulator: 3 TOTAL in NINE years; SEVEN AND HALF YEAR GAP; Aug 5th, 2009 https://www.techdirt.com/user/reticulator

            Ron Currier: 7 (1) once 2017, 4 in 2016, SIX YEAR gap to 2010 https://www.techdirt.com/user/rcurrier

            ScottDeagan: 3 comments, 8 YEAR GAP Jun 13th, 2018 to Mar 19th, 2010 https://www.techdirt.com/user/scottdeagan

            slowgreenturtle or (first two only) Tony / Tony Black: 9 (1) 6 year gap; Apr 10th, 2009 https://www.techdirt.com/user/slowgreenturtle

            And again, "Matthew Cline", it's YOU who are going on "feeling".

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 8:17am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps a few will make you too go "HMM":

              "This list is a bit out of date, but they'll be odd forever:"

              Maybe. But "odd" in this context means that there's something unusual, which can be explained in many ways unrelated to the ridiculous conspiracy you've invented. They're proof of nothing except that there's people out there who don't think the same way you do - and thank God for that!

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 5:06am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps a few will make you too go "HMM":

              "This list is a bit out of date, but they'll be odd forever:"

              Funnily enough that six year gap - or the five year gap Baghdad Bob insists has ME pegged as a "sleeper" corresponds quite nicely to the very normal hiatus normal people display in any behavior when they...

              a) Get a new job, career, or simply move.
              b) Have children.
              c) Get permanently hitched, divorced, or otherwise deal with long-term real-life issues involving relatives.

              To a troll I'm sure this all looks like a deliberately active account because, quite simply, a troll isn't human enough to understand life away from the keyboard.

              To anyone else the most convincing argument someone is an astroturfer is NOT that the person has had a long hiatus. Far more suspicious is a brand new nick who never commented around here before but suddenly decided to weigh in on a long-standing discussion against an AC.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2019 @ 2:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            “No, I’m not that guy,”

            Hamilton and blue are sharing TOR nodes now. They will shack up in together as soon as blue can convince hamilton to get a tramp stamp that day COMMON LAW and Hamilton convinces blue to wear the Fran Drescher mask.

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        Bjorn Toby Mild, 19 Apr 2019 @ 8:46pm

        Re: Re: "accounts with large time gaps in their comment history"

        1) Why wouldn't astroturfers just create new accounts? I don't think there's enough people who decide if a commenter is an astroturfer based an account's age to make it worth acquiring old accounts.

        I don't know, that's a puzzle I've remarked on. My theory is that ANY new email address has a potential chain of ownership attached, so whoever simply takes over accounts long unused. -- Much that appears puzzling from our view is EASY when one has Admininstrator access.

        2) How do you claim these accounts being acquired? Techdirt simply selling abandoned accounts?

        No, not selling, DOING. My theory is that "Techdirt" is -- as my use of term "astro-turfing" implies -- having a minion or more -- and specifically Timothy Geigner from the bombastic tone and bizarre verbiage of the "Gary" and "Scary Devil Monastery" accounts. Now, those have both changed "tone" since I pointed that out. The latter is now claiming to be European; it has a 5 year gap after first comment.

        "Tone" from word usage and the FACT of long gaps are all I have, of course.

        SOME long gaps would occur, of course. But dozens with long gaps? THREE comments in seven years, say? An 8 year gap? -- Inexplicable by me! Perhaps you've got some explanation that none of the fanboys have trotted out in year and a half?

        I have a list of nearly ALL accounts active at Techdirt last 7 or so years, and you do not! So it's YOU who haven't studied this phenomena, you who are just guessing. A couple dozen have gaps have five years or more. -- Simply IN. EX. PLIC. ABLE.

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          Bjorn Toby Mild, 19 Apr 2019 @ 8:53pm

          Re: Re: Re: "accounts with large time gaps in their comment

          "Tone" from word usage and the FACT of long gaps are all I have, of course.

          Actually, that's NOT all that I have: these suspect accounts with long gaps are uniformly pro-Techdirt. The ideological "purity" here is remarkable for teh internets! -- Especially "Gary" which has "apparently" paid to promote other's remarks to "First Word". -- But has it? With Admin access that wouldn't cost to do. -- I just can't believe anyone will PAY to promote the remarks of others. It's just another WEIRD point.

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Apr 2019 @ 4:54am

            I just can't believe anyone will PAY to promote the remarks of others.

            Well, we pay journalists all the time, so…

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2019 @ 2:12pm

            Re: I love large time gaps in their comments and I cannot lie

            “Especially "Gary" which has "apparently" paid to promote other's remarks to "First Word"”

            He does it just to mess with your poor little soggy noggin bro.

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        • icon
          Matthew Cline (profile), 19 Apr 2019 @ 9:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: "accounts with large time gaps in their comment

          Such that appears puzzling from our view is EASY when one has Admininstrator access.
          ...
          No, not selling, DOING.

          So your claim is that the admins are sockpuppeting abandoned accounts? Again, I have to wonder why they'd bother taking over abandoned accounts when they can just create new ones. Especially since the people whose accounts were stolen might notice that their accounts were stolen and then raise a stink.

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

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            Bjorn Toby Mild, 19 Apr 2019 @ 9:20pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "accounts with large time gaps in their

            Again, I have to wonder why they'd bother taking over abandoned accounts when they can just create new ones.

            A new email address could be traced, as I mentioned.

            Especially since the people whose accounts were stolen might notice that their accounts were stolen and then raise a stink.

            AH. There you assume:

            1) the accounts were EVER genuine, real people: you have ZERO evidence of that. IF going on, we don't know how long, right?

            2) that the Admin couldn't explain by saying, "huh, some kinda glitch" or "we maya been hacked".

            3) Even if real persons, that anyone returns. -- And if don't suspect the site, why would you out of the blue start accusing them of astro-turfing?

            Now, on point 2: in early 2017 Techdirt did a total password reset. TOTAL, saying was due to hacking on some related site. So, they'd have a warning system besides the excuse as above.

            I've yet to see even one of these ancient commenters mention long time gone, "gee the site has changed", or remark on the password reset: no, they just resume as if fully up and current.

            You can fibble it off, I'm sure that you don't wish to believe, but I do have FACTS to base this on.

            Since you -- who seem rational -- are intrigued: just look through those I list, and you too will go "HMM".

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            • icon
              Matthew Cline (profile), 19 Apr 2019 @ 9:28pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "accounts with large time gaps in t

              A new email address could be traced, as I mentioned.

              Anonymous email services exist which astroturfers could use, if they're concerned about lawsuits or governmental investigations uncovering their involvement.

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                Bjorn Toby Mild, 19 Apr 2019 @ 9:45pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "accounts with large time g

                Anonymous email services exist which astroturfers could use, if they're concerned about lawsuits or governmental investigations uncovering their involvement.

                So? That still leaves a trail. Once slip at any time and the jig is up. Best avoided, since can.

                "Matthew Cline", who are you? And why do you struggle to defend Techdirt instead of recognize the simple fact that long gaps are ODD? -- Because once you admit that what looks like astro-turfing is odd, then you'll lose all faith. As so many clearly have, I hope from my warnings.

                I deal only in Truth. The long gaps are FACTS for which you have evasions not explanation.

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                • icon
                  Matthew Cline (profile), 19 Apr 2019 @ 10:08pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "accounts with larg

                  Once slip at any time and the jig is up. Best avoided, since can.

                  So they set up websites with comments sections so they can take over abandoned accounts to avoid any possibility of detection? Sounds like too much work for too little gain, to me.

                  "Matthew Cline", who are you?

                  I'm a computer programmer. Socially liberal and fiscally/regulatorily sort-of libertarian-ish. I don't have much social media presence except here on Reddit.

                  ... then you'll lose all faith.

                  Lose faith in what? For the most part (from what I can recall) neither the TD writers nor the commenters you claim are sock puppets say "you should believe me because I'm an expert" or "you should believe me because I have personal experience", but instead lay out arguments for their positions and against opposing positions, arguments that I treat the same as arguments from anonymous commenters. You claim that they're astroturfers, but the point of astroturfing is to create the false impression that a certain position is more popular than it actually is. I personally am not concerned with the (un)popularity of the positions, but the content of the arguments for and against them.

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                    Bjorn Toby Mild, 19 Apr 2019 @ 10:13pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "accounts w

                    Lose faith in what?

                    In what you then go on to lay out: that Techdirt and its apparent commenters are honest.

                    I conclude it's astro-turfing. You will too because looks exactly like it, once admit of the hypothesis.

                    And you're only evading. *IF confident and so clear as claim, you wouldn't need to go on with denying...**

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                      Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2019 @ 11:50pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "accoun

                      Yes, my anonymous friend, I think your conclusions are reasonable. The purpose of Teechdirt is propoganda, and part of that propoganda are the comments that support the articles. Another part is the censorship of comments that point out how FAKE Techdirt is.

                      Propoganda is SOLD by Techdirt, it serves their interest to LOOK like a big group of people that support a certain set of LIES.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 10:39am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "accounts with large ti

                  "The long gaps are FACTS for which you have evasions not explanation."

                  What is the record? I'm going for the record of not signing in for the longest time and then posting Out of the luBe.

                  Green nudies

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2019 @ 2:14pm

                  Re: Remember when you promised to leave forever

                  “As so many clearly have, I hope from my warnings.”

                  No bro. No one believes your lies.

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                • icon
                  blademan9999 (profile), 22 Apr 2019 @ 10:53pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "accounts with larg

                  The long gaps aren't "odd".
                  This type of stuff (long absences followed by a return) is perfectly normal.
                  I've done this type of thing adleast once before on another site.
                  It's not even weak evidence in favour of astroturfing. Your just clutching at straws.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2019 @ 9:27am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "accounts with large time gaps in t

              From a "what is to be gained" perspective it is far more likely that there are people over at TD who post as various right-wing nutjob personas to ramp up the replies to their articles via replies rebuffing the stupid things posted by those personas. In other words, it is more likely that YOU are fake than any of those posting against you.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2019 @ 2:16pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "accounts with large time gaps

                I sometimes wonder if some of the regulars take up blues postings just so they can score easy insightful points. 😉

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                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 5:19am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "accounts with large time g

                  "I sometimes wonder if some of the regulars take up blues postings just so they can score easy insightful points. 😉"

                  Well, bobmail, a.k.a. blue, john, nejtillpirater, or any of the other names prevalent for that perpetual sock puppet machine, usually does provoke a response because he presents the same piss-poor argument as some official RIAA/MPAA lobbyist but does such a shit job at it his straw man is already toppled and on fire.

                  Pissing on it in that situation is but the neighborly thing to do.

                  But you don't really NEED a reason to tell someone when their arguments are insane.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Apr 2019 @ 4:56am

          I have a list of nearly ALL accounts active at Techdirt last 7 or so years, and you do not!

          You have issues. But let’s start with the whole “I hate Techdirt so much that I’m going to constantly surf the site and obsessively collect data on all its users to show Techdirt how much I hate it” thing and work our way out from there.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 8:46am

          Re: Re: Re: "accounts with large time gaps in their comment hist

          "I have a list of nearly ALL accounts active at Techdirt last 7 or so years, and you do not!" Because that isn't creepy at all. Are you cyber stalking me? I have another hypothesis. Perhaps there are several lazy comment posters like me. I suspect it is a side effect of being able to post anonymously. I have an account. I haven't signed into in a while. But I still comment as an AC. Then occasionally I will sign in and comment. Usually when I sign in, it is because of something in the deals. I would likely show up as one of you sleepers since I don't purchase many things from the deals page. I believe currently I would probably be one of your 3-4 year gaps if I signed in and posted a comment.

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            Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 5:49pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "accounts with large time gaps in their comment

            Do you teach yoga? You’re obviously very flexible and can bend an argument quite a long ways.

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          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 5:12am

          Re: Re: Re: "accounts with large time gaps in their comment hist

          "having a minion or more -- and specifically Timothy Geigner from the bombastic tone and bizarre verbiage of the "Gary" and "Scary Devil Monastery" accounts. Now, those have both changed "tone" since I pointed that out. The latter is now claiming to be European; it has a 5 year gap after first comment."

          I have ALWAYS claimed to be european. And I haven't changed the way i deal with you either, Baghdad bob. For someone who claims to have followed me around for many years you sure are forgetful.

          "But dozens with long gaps? THREE comments in seven years, say?"

          Normal people, unlike trolls living in mom's basement, have real lives where shit happens. Hence hiatus which became known terminology because it's so damn common.

          "I have a list of nearly ALL accounts active at Techdirt last 7 or so years, and you do not! So it's YOU who haven't studied this phenomena, you who are just guessing. A couple dozen have gaps have five years or more. -- Simply IN. EX. PLIC. ABLE."

          You only prove that normal human longterm behavior is inexplicable to you. That doesn't make you a genius. It just means your argument is built on your usual brand of false assumption and backed by your desperation to finally make those mean people calling you on your usual brand of bullshit go away.

          Well, guess what? That's not happening, Baghdad Bob.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2019 @ 8:14pm

      Re: poor butthurt snowflake

      Cool story bro. I was sad John Steele got a decade and change in club fed too.

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

    • identicon
      Dave P., 20 Apr 2019 @ 12:42pm

      Re:

      Our regular troll really does sound like a nasty piece of work, not to be met in a dark alley-way. Bitter and twisted in the extreme, just waiting for something to pop up to vent some nonsensical venom-loaded vindictiveness just for the sake of it. I actually know someone like that who delights in causing trouble. Not right in the head, methinks. He (we'll assume this apparition IS actually a "he"!) sounds like he needs a visit to a psychiatrist or, alternatively, locking up well away from normal people indefinitely. The sheer effort in conjuring up sadistic, childish comments must really take it out of his pea-sized brain. Can't be much left of it by now.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2019 @ 7:51pm

    If the internet gets regulated, the only reason will be because people abused it and the power it can provide. Blame those people or those companies.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 19 Apr 2019 @ 8:21pm

      Re:

      Or, you know, because powerful parties don't like what it enables and want to clamp down on it for various reasons(power/profits/control/easy PR from the gullible). China's internet for example isn't super restricted because the people abused it.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 19 Apr 2019 @ 8:14pm

    'Fine, we'll compromise, only half a box of kittens.'

    that one reasonable way to regulate is to focus less on which party is actually doing the bad thing, and more on which party is best positioned to minimize the harm of the bad thing

    Hey, great idea, so when can we expect that automobile makers will be regulated such that they are required to build vehicles that can only go up to the speed limit? After all, a single company could ensure that none of their customers are allowed to break the law by speeding, so clearly the focus should be on them rather than just scooping up individual speeders.

    'Ignore the party that's actually guilty and go after whoever you think could have stopped them' is a rubbish shifting of responsibility, and one that's been called out time and time again on TD as a bad idea. There's nothing 'reasonable' about ignoring the guilty party and blaming someone/something else.

    He, like me, is skeptical of most of these attempts to regulate the internet, but recognizing that it's absolutely going to happen no matter how skeptical we are, he is proposing a framework for thinking about regulating the internet, in a way that would (hopefully) minimize the worst outcomes from the approaches being used today.

    And this is exactly the wrong mindset I'd argue. 'It's going to happen anyway' is the sort of defeatist mindset that ensures that it will happen, and that undercut the efforts of those that are actually trying to stop such garbage laws from being passed. It's also counter-productive and naive, because even if you do manage to only allow a stripped-down version that's not 'quite' as bad as before you can be damn sure that that the scope and scale will grow over time, as companies 'aren't doing enough and clearly need to be forced to uphold their social responsibility'.

    By buying into the idea of blaming the platform rather than the person you open the door to more and worse regulations down the line, and since you were in favor of the original measure it'll be much harder to object to future ones that are just adding some 'minor tweaks', and closing a few 'tiny loopholes that are being abused'.

    If someone proposes lighting a box of kittens on fire the fact that they appear to be really dedicated to the proposal is not grounds to accept that it's going to happen anyway so your best bet it to try to negotiate it to only half a box, rather you should do everything you can to keep them from doing it at all, and if they do manage to pull off their heinous act you should at least have the consolation that you at least tried to stop them, even if you didn't ultimately succeed.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 6:44am

      Re: 'Fine, we'll compromise, only half a box of kittens.'

      No, the automakers have to slow down any car going over the speed limit within sixty seconds of being put on notice.

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    • identicon
      Federico, 20 Apr 2019 @ 11:22pm

      Re: Built-in speed limits

      That's a bad example: there are constant calls for automakers to install such speed limiters. The logic is that if the law already places an upper speed limit of, say, 130 km/h, there is nearly no valid purpose for one to be able to go significantly faster than that.

      You could extend the same reasoning to other machines which are allowed in general but which can produce a measurable harm if overused, and for which said overuse is already prohibited. Maybe water pumps for agricultural purposes able to pump much more water than allowed in a basin? But it's very hard to find any internet-related functionality where you could draw a hard ine somewhere.

      Indeed, the European Parliament just considered mandating a speed limiter and they instead opted for automatic warnings when the local speed limit is violated:

      The intelligent speed assistance (ISA) system could reduce fatalities on EU roads by 20%, according to estimates. “ISA will provide a driver with feedback, based on maps and road sign observation, always when the speed limit is exceeded. We do not introduce a speed limiter, but an intelligent system that will make drivers fully aware when they are speeding. This will not only make all of us safer, but also help drivers to avoid speeding tickets”, Ms Thun said.

      http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20190410IPR37528/parliament-approves-eu-rule s-requiring-life-saving-technologies-in-vehicles

      Volvo also just announced they'll limit speed to 180 km/h in new cars in the near future.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 21 Apr 2019 @ 1:29pm

        Re: Re: Built-in speed limits

        Willing to holder internet companies to a higher standards than they do makers of multi-ton (potential death) machines, brilliant.

        And if/when the drivers still speed, will the car manufacturers be held responsible?

        But it's very hard to find any internet-related functionality where you could draw a hard ine somewhere.

        Comparisons get sloppy as physical stuff(like speed of a vehicle) tend to be pretty binary(you're either speeding or you're not), whereas digital stuff like speech, videos and whatnot depends a lot more on context, which is a lot more difficult to just stuff into the 'bad' or 'good' box, especially at the scale large platforms have to deal with.

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    identicon
    Bjorn Toby Mild, 19 Apr 2019 @ 8:43pm

    Wait a sec. Don't overlook the obvious, college boy.

    Well, there's also a second theory behind many of the regulatory approaches, and it's "Google and Facebook are big and bad, so anything that punishes them is good regulation". This makes even less sense to me than the other approach, but it is certainly driving a lot of the thinking, at least in the EU (and possibly the US).

    So you admit that:

    A) you don't understand the approach

    B) my views are "a lot" popular, though you try to marginalize me with exactly the sneaky tactics ("the community" does the hiding without any administrator, "private site" that retrains full editorial control instead of its appearance of Section 230 Public Forum, and so on) that should be outlawed first of all to address the actual problem of corporations beginning to control ALL speech on the Internet.

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

    • icon
      Matthew Cline (profile), 19 Apr 2019 @ 9:06pm

      Re: Wait a sec. Don't overlook the obvious, college boy.

      ... that should be outlawed first of all to address the actual problem of corporations beginning to control ALL speech on the Internet.

      So would those corporations be unable to ban trolls and abusers? Or they could, but the banned user could challenge the ban in court, and if a jury found that they weren't a troll/abuser they'd get their account back and the corporation would have to pay a fine? Or what?

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

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        identicon
        Bjorn Toby Mild, 19 Apr 2019 @ 9:31pm

        Re: Re: Wait a sec. Don't overlook the obvious, college boy.

        So would those corporations be unable to ban trolls and abusers?

        By common law terms, not internally defined, not-enforced-uniformly definition such as "hate speech" -- or equally arbitrary EULA. Those sites have immunity but keep demanding they retain full editorial control TOO, and that's simply not the deal.

        Since you seem knowledgeable, you know full well that "free speech" is actually pretty well defined, so corps don't need to make up their own.

        The possibilities for abuse by corporations to harm the society by literally thought control are vastly larger than any individual could ever harm a fictional entity.


        [I can't even use the horizontal rule here anymore because Masnick took it away from me! Is that promoting free expression as you want? Serious question, just scale it up to GOOGLE / Facebook,: a few weenies ENFORCING their notions on everyone.]

        GOOGLE Panic Over Political Bias Leaks...

        https://www.breitbart.com/tech/2019/04/18/exclusive-google-leftists-panic-about-leaks-threa ten-employment-of-colleagues/

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

        • icon
          Matthew Cline (profile), 19 Apr 2019 @ 9:37pm

          Re: Re: Re: Wait a sec. Don't overlook the obvious, college boy.

          By common law terms,

          Which common law principles? Can you name them?

          I can't even use the horizontal rule here anymore because Masnick took it away from me

          You just did use a horizontal rule. They must have changed which flavor of markdown they used to one that does horizontal rules differently than before. (And it's pretty out there to suggest that they'd take away a feature like that merely to spite a single anonymous commenter)

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

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            identicon
            Bjorn Toby Mild, 19 Apr 2019 @ 10:02pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Wait a sec. Don't overlook the obvious, college

            You just did use a horizontal rule.

            Doesn't show up in two browsers! -- Thanks. I'll just use my own substitute, then.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2019 @ 11:15pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wait a sec. Don't overlook the obvious, coll

              Yes, blue. Keep dancing the dance of the greatest corporation of all, the RIAA.

              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 Apr 2019 @ 3:24am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wait a sec. Don't overlook the obvious,

                Don’t you think that it’s interesting that there are more negative and coherent posters than there are positive and coherent posters?

                I can’t tell if Mathew is positive or negative or just playing, he seems genuine, though. The other posts from PaulT and such just look like incoherent rants about nothing to do with the topic.

                I remember when I first came to Techdirt, and got the “lay of the lan”. Wow, a lot has changed. I think it’s about to “tip-over”.

                I saw this great analysis today - it was about the corrupt Mueller probe. It layed out something really interesting - the Mueller prosecution is a “blue print” now for FUTURE prosecutions. It set a precedent for, example, the punishment for lying. It’s severe, just ask General Flynn.

                Now that precedent is about to come back to HAUNT all the perpetrators and liars and leakers. Judges are going to apply similar criminal standards and jail sentences to OTHER liars and leakers. The American public has a real appetite for that, and it’s soon to be sated.

                Thanks for the memories. It’s fun to watch Techdirt slip under the waves of the winning arguments presented by my friend Sleeper Sam.

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

                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Apr 2019 @ 7:39am

                  It set a precedent for, example, the punishment for lying.

                  Lying to federal investigators was a crime long before Mueller handed down a single indictment. It will be a crime long after all the investigations his office kickstarted have come to an end.

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2019 @ 7:20pm

                    Re:

                    Ok, so you agree that Brennan, Clapper, Comey et all should go to prison, right? Right?

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

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2019 @ 3:29am

                      Re: Re:

                      Anyone who has provably committed perjury should face legal consequences for doing so, no matter which tribe people associate them with. Only an idiot would believe otherwise.

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

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 21 Apr 2019 @ 8:12pm

          Re: Re: Re: Wait a sec. Don't overlook the obvious, college boy.

          Those sites have immunity but keep demanding they retain full editorial control TOO, and that's simply not the deal.

          Once again - please go read the law you're railing against. That is, in fact, exactly the deal.

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

    • icon
      Matthew Cline (profile), 19 Apr 2019 @ 9:13pm

      Re: Wait a sec. Don't overlook the obvious, college boy.

      Also:

      ... that should be outlawed first of all to address the actual problem of corporations beginning to control ALL speech on the Internet.

      1) Would that apply to non-profit corporations? Would a forum for a Christian non-profit have to allow comments from Satanists?

      2) If I had a blog hosted by Blogger.com, could I legally remove comments and ban commenters as I saw fit since it's my personal blog, even though Blogger.com is owned by Google?

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

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        identicon
        Bjorn Toby Mild, 19 Apr 2019 @ 9:37pm

        Re: Re: Wait a sec. Don't overlook the obvious, college boy.

        1) Would that apply to non-profit corporations? Would a forum for a Christian non-profit have to allow comments from Satanists?

        Whatever current state of law is.

        You are trying to leverage the 99.9% everyday cases with bizarre instances at the margins.

        2) If I had a blog hosted by Blogger.com, could I legally remove comments and ban commenters as I saw fit since it's my personal blog, even though Blogger.com is owned by Google?

        This is my personal view, but it's tacitly in American law: you can either be immune (Sec 230) and accept that will be some comments you don't like, OR retain full editorial control like print media. It's a DEAL, not empowering corps to rule over us. -- That of course applies to Techdirt, as I've mentioned once or twice.

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

        • icon
          Matthew Cline (profile), 19 Apr 2019 @ 9:47pm

          Re: Re: Re: Wait a sec. Don't overlook the obvious, college boy.

          you can either be immune (Sec 230) and accept that will be some comments you don't like, OR retain full editorial control like print media.

          So if I, a (hypothetical) private blogger didn't want the responsibility of deciding which comments are or aren't illegal, I'd have to either allow all comments or allow none? That doesn't sound ideal, since I don't have the legal expertise to go deciding what is or isn't illegal, and wouldn't have the time to fact check every potentially defamatory comment, but at the same time wouldn't want to let trolls infest the comments section. Print media like newspapers (presumably) have a lawyer to consult and paid fact checkers.

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

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            identicon
            Bjorn Toby Mild, 19 Apr 2019 @ 10:08pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Wait a sec. Don't overlook the obvious, college

            By common law terms.

            Gosh, you'd better learn those.

            Which common law principles? Can you name them?

            First, you're trying to exhaust me with questions, or wait me out, also trot out the old "name one" tactic which I practically invented, sonny.. -- The American version. Masnick holds that Section 230 not only makes corporations immune for what I write, but empowers to over-ride MY First Amendment Right.

            No mere statue or "rule making" can do an end-run on Rights. Section 230 has to be amended at the least to make it clear that corporations are not elevated to Rule like royalty, immune AND total arbitrary control.

            Now, you are not stating anything I think because don't have any principles wish to advance, so I'm done for tonight.

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

            • icon
              Matthew Cline (profile), 19 Apr 2019 @ 10:36pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wait a sec. Don't overlook the obvious, coll

              Now, you are not stating anything I think because don't have any principles wish to advance,

              Sometimes I just want to understand someone's point of view, so I just ask questions.

              Gosh, you'd better learn those [common law terms]

              First, you're trying to exhaust me with questions, or wait me out, also trot out the old "name one" tactic.

              Common law is a vast field, which is why I'm asking you to name a portion of it. You might be thinking of a part of common law I'm not familiar with, or thinking of a part which I am familiar with but applying it in a way that hasn't occurred to me. Or maybe you and I mean different things by "common law", in which case I have no hope of understanding you unless you explain things.

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

              • icon
                That One Guy (profile), 19 Apr 2019 @ 11:10pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wait a sec. Don't overlook the obvious,

                Sometimes I just want to understand someone's point of view, so I just ask questions.

                Admirable in general, but a waste of time when it comes to them, especially when it comes to the hallucination that passes for their definition of 'common law' which has little to nothing(more the latter than the former) to do with what anyone else else means when they use the term.

                Up to you if you care to waste more effort with them though.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 8:53am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wait a sec. Don't overlook the obvious,

                Waste of time asking. I have asked him to point out specific pieces of common law in several past articles. Never once did I get an examples. The best I can figure out is that you already know common law. You are born to understand it genetically and that you don't need any citations as just saying common law should provide incite into the discussion.

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

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 10:57am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wait a sec. Don't overlook the obvio

                  Common Law is just what is common. For example, stop means stop, water is wet etc...

                  I believe, as usual, the French have another word for "stop." This could be the source of confusion as to what is common

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

                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Apr 2019 @ 11:01am

                    Common law is a legal term that has a definition. “What is common” is not that definition.

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

                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 5:31am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wait a sec. Don't overlook the o

                    "Common Law is just what is common. For example, stop means stop, water is wet etc..."

                    No, Bobmail, that's NOT what "common law" means. Common law is de jure - factual judicial terminology.

                    Common law, also referred to as "Case law" is the bulk of judicial precedent set by courtroom decisions and interpretations.

                    And that means whenever you try to haul up common law as an actual argument you need to put up a specific citation as to what particular court case created the interpretation you're referring to.

                    So, Bobmail, as usual you are trying to flail around some terminology you don't understand in the wild hope that it may make you sound halfway professional.

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

                • icon
                  nasch (profile), 21 Apr 2019 @ 8:14pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wait a sec. Don't overlook the obvio

                  The best I can figure out is that you already know common law. You are born to understand it genetically and that you don't need any citations as just saying common law should provide incite into the discussion.

                  By the way he uses it he might think it means "I win the argument".

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 5:05am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wait a sec. Don't overlook the obvious, coll

              The American version. Masnick holds that Section 230 not only makes corporations immune for what I write, but empowers to over-ride MY First Amendment Right.

              Point to the paragraph of the first amendment, or any judicial decision that says somebody has to publish your speech at their expense. That will be difficult because the first amendment effective says that the government cannot stop you publishing something at your own expense.

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

        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 19 Apr 2019 @ 11:01pm

          Re: Re: Re: Wait a sec. Don't overlook the obvious, college boy.

          This is my personal view, but it's tacitly in American law: you can either be immune (Sec 230) and accept that will be some comments you don't like, OR retain full editorial control like print media. It's a DEAL, not empowering corps to rule over us.

          This is simply, directly, incorrect, as has been pointed out to you multiple times.

          Rep. Chris Cox, who wrote CDA 230 has said, repeatedly, that he wrote 230 explicitly to overall the ruling in Stratton Oakmont v. Prodigy, where a court did find what you said to be true (that any moderation meant you took responsibility). That ruling, which nearly everyone else disagreed with, prompted CDA 230, that EXPLICITLY stated it was overruling that and putting in place a rule that says moderation does not make you liable for that which you don't moderate.

          I've told you this before. As have others.

          You ignore it. You are wrong, and repeating the wrong thing over and over again may be a fun troll tactic, but it's really getting pretty tired at this point.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 6:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Wait a sec. Don't overlook the obvious, college

            repeating the wrong thing over and over again may be a fun troll tactic, but it's really getting pretty tired at this point.

            Troll tactics are ranked by how many responses they generate. As long as people keep getting baited into responding, the troll tactic will continue to be repeated ad nauseam. The only way to "win" against a troll is not to engage. Why is that always so difficult?

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Apr 2019 @ 7:36am

              Because some of the arguments made in these troll posts deserve to get smacked down for the sake of educating others.

              …and because, every once in a while, I like to let off steam by poking under the bridge and seeing which troll sticks their head out long enough for me to piss on it.

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

              • identicon
                Roy Rogers, 20 Apr 2019 @ 11:17am

                Re:

                "...for the sake of educating others."

                Which is why I disagree on a blanket ban on any particular viewpoint

                We can learn from anyone, including Out of the luBe(though I am still looking for that little gem)

                If we are afraid of opposing opinion, maybe our position isn't that strong

                Comments now closed /s

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2019 @ 11:03am

                Re:

                Based on what I’ve seen of Techdirt’s commentariat, nobody actually believes anything that the trolls say. You seem paranoid that if you don’t refute the troll’s bogus arguments for the bajillionth time, some innocent soul will see what they have to say and then be tempted to their line of thinking. The “We have to constantly refute the troll for the sake of others” mentality is insulting to people’s intelligence.

                Just don’t feed the troll. Flag and move on, contributing to the comment thread in another more substantive way.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 8:55am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wait a sec. Don't overlook the obvious, coll

              That really depends on the content. Some trolls you just have to keep slapping down with facts.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Apr 2019 @ 5:14am

          We can cite 47 U.S.C. § 230 to back up our opinions on U.S. law in re: content moderation on the Internet. What law, statute, or court ruling can you cite to back up yours?

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

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 7:16am

            Re:

            Who is “we”, bonehead? You’ve always been a loner.

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Apr 2019 @ 7:21am

              I am not the only person here who has cited the text, the authorial intent, and the practical application of 47 U.S.C. § 230 in discussions about Section 230. (Mike himself did it a couple of comments up.) Our “common law” troll, on the other hand, has never once cited a single law, statute, or court ruling that backs up his opinions in this regard — all of which amount to “no platform should ever have the right to moderate speech”. If anyone stands alone in this discussion, it is SovCit Blue.

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

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 7:39am

                Re:

                Quick question from my notes - are you the same young black half-gay idiot who likes to move the argument to assholes and shit every time someone challenges your opinion? You don’t sound like him at all. Now you sound like part of a legal team.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2019 @ 8:56pm

    It's all about control and nothing more .
    Those in power want to keep it
    and a free and open internet goes against that .
    Almost parallels the fight against the 2nd amendment
    going on in the US at the moment .

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 4:33am

    Do You Have Any Balls At All?

    I’m sorry to intrude here, please accept my apologies in advance for asking a question off-topic. But, maybe, given the recent events, some of you might show a little patience and offer me your opinion on this topic, which is touched upon often here. Which topic? Well, the topic that all the “left” seems to agree is BAD, the topic of Donald J. Trump (POTUS).

    So here in my question - what do you think? Do you think Donald Trump, either personally, or through his trusted surrogates, is winning every battle ACCIDENTALLY? Is he a “bull in a china shop”, breaking everything around him because of his large scrotum and hairy balls and all those things that arise from them? Is he really an ACCIDENT and CLUMSY and ERROR PRONE?

    Or is he playing “3-dimensional chess” with ya’ll. Is he anticipating your response even without your knowing that he is anticipating your response? Is he playing the LONG GAME that will get him RE_ELECTED? Or is he lucky. I mean, like, really, REALLY lucky. Wow, that guy with the big hair balls is lucky, isn’t he? He made Mueller look like an idiot on an idiot mission.

    So what do you say, Techdirt Audience? It’s really a question about BALLS. Do you think Chelsea Manning did herself a FAVOR by removing HIS OWN BALLS? Have you all forgotten WHAT BALLS ARE FOR? There are so many sissies here I wonder if any of ya’ll have any BALLS at all.

    Anyway, if you have a moment, I’d be interested in your opinion. And so would he, of course. Do you have an opinion, or are you just a bunch of pussies ranting at each other without a purpose, a brain or any hope of success.

    Admit it. You’ve been defeated for years. Right? Right?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 4:47am

    Before blaming social media for extremism, explain how the likes of the KKK managed to exist in eras without social media. Attacking peoples communications does not address the causes of extreme viewpoints, which are often driven by inequalities in society. Extremists found ways to communicate before the open Internet, and will find ways to do so if the Internet becomes heavily censored.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 6:47am

      Re:

      On the internet they don't have to dress up in hoods and drive into the woods. I think they're blaming the internet for the spread of extremism, not extremism itself. Look at anti-vaxxers and the measles outbreak.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 7:19am

        Re: Re:

        How much of that spread is down to newspapers running the original story, and then more stories about vaccination and anti-vaxers?

        Also, does it matter if extremism spreads slowly or rapidly?

        How much of the attack on the Internet is a diversionary tactic to avoid having to deal with the real problems of social inequality?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 6:46am

    How much would an upload tax for content (like $0.10 per video?) be to pay for moderation?

    Even charging a dime to upload a video to say YouTube might not be a bad thing.

    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 Apr 2019 @ 7:17am

      Re:

      That seems like a good idea. Most people have don’t mind paying for things they really want.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 7:21am

      Re:

      How many person hours would be involved in looking at every video? It will cost far more than you think for everything to be moderated, and unless enough people can be employed to do the moderation, lots of content will be dropped because it buried by new submissions, many of which will also be dropped.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Apr 2019 @ 7:28am

      Charge people to post where they could once post without cost, and that platform will be abandoned sooner rather than later. Twitter would probably lose a good chunk of its userbase in days — possibly even hours — were the service to decide that users must pay for each tweet they send out.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 8:23am

        Re:

        Yet youtube would still be free to watch, so people would go there, and any existing videos wouldn't have to pay the tax.

        Those who didn't pay the tax wouldn't have access to the ad revenue. I think it would work. It would also incentivize quality over quantity.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Apr 2019 @ 9:16am

          youtube would still be free to watch

          So what? If people thought they had to pay just for the privilege of having their video on YouTube, a not-zero number of people would say ”nah, screw that noise” and go to a site that did not charge for posting. None of that has anything to do with the average YouTube video being watchable at no cost.

          Those who didn't pay the tax wouldn't have access to the ad revenue.

          This discussion is also not about ad revenue — it is about charging users a “tax” to pay for moderation staff. None of the money from this “tax” would go toward any end user. It would all go to YouTube employees.

          It would also incentivize quality over quantity.

          Not…really? I mean, yeah, some people would probably pay the tax every so often to get their videos onto YouTube. That does not mean “quality” would be incentivized over “quantity”. The quantity of videos would go down, sure, but the quality would not be affected by the lower upload rate. A video of dubious quality will remain as such even if someone pays to upload it.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2019 @ 11:09am

            Re:

            This would reduce the moderation costs to next to nothing, many would still come back for quality videos, and YouTube could continue to exist, without any viewer ever having to pay to support it.

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Apr 2019 @ 1:10pm

              Your statement assumes the majority of people who upload videos to YouTube would/could pay to upload their videos. That is a…bold assumption, to say the least.

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

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 21 Apr 2019 @ 1:13pm

              Re: Re:

              The only way to reduce moderation costs to next to nothing would be to reduce the content uploaded to next to nothing, at which point you've not only effectively killed the service as far as the general public is concerned, you've gutted the very videos you need in order to pay the moderation.

              Youtube might exist in the short-term under your 'pay to upload idea', but with the vast reduction in new content it would not be around for long.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2019 @ 1:28pm

                Re: Re: Re:

                I doubt there would be a vast reduction in quality content.

                Most people would pay a dime to have access to the audience if the alternative was no YouTube. It certainly would be worth trying.

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

                • icon
                  That One Guy (profile), 21 Apr 2019 @ 1:47pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I doubt there would be a vast reduction in quality content.

                  'Quality content' like political ads, celebrities posting 'look at me' videos, advertising, and people who want to show off some random stuff(keeping in mind that last group would include anyone with sufficient disposable money, such that the filter wouldn't be quality, it would be 'do they have money to burn?')

                  Oh yeah, sounds great.

                  It certainly would be worth trying.

                  Then someone else can try it, and when their 'pay to upload videos' service crashes and burns(if it even gets off the metaphorical runway) you'll be able to see why it's a bad idea.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2019 @ 2:11pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Why do you worry about poor quality, from your view point, videos on YouTube. People have to develop their story telling skills, and maybe do not have the money to spare to pay for uploads. Would you cut those people off from the means of developing their story telling skills. Will you stop families spread around the globe a means to keep in touch with vlogs. How about the communities that come together around a common hobby or skill, and using YouTube to ask and answer questions.

                  YouTube is used as far more than an entertainment platform.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2019 @ 3:33am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "quality content"

                  Define that. Let me guess - only content created by certain named multinational corporations count, independent artists aren't "quality" because they opted not to sign rights to one of those cartel members for longer than they will be alive?

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

                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 6:00am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "Most people would pay a dime to have access to the audience if the alternative was no YouTube. It certainly would be worth trying."

                  No, because the youtube you envision would have nothing except the sort of bland crap which even a copyright troll can't get a takedown for.

                  Instead what people will do is go right back to torrents and get entertainment without the need to put up with a single infomercial in the way.

                  "It certainly would be worth trying?"

                  Put your money where your mouth is and try, then. You will fail because the minimum admission fee is going to be a 100 million USD plus whatever it costs to float a legal team on permanent retainer.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 20 Apr 2019 @ 12:59pm

      Re:

      So, quick question in response to that: Would you have posted your comments if it required paying(and all that entailed) in order to do so? Quick check and it looks like you'd have ended up paying $0.40, over four different comment so far, with a transaction for every one.

      Still think pay to upload is a good idea?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2019 @ 1:29pm

        Re: Re:

        Comments to a blog are not the same as videos to a worldwide audience.

        I think most major political candidates and other celebs would pay it, as would businesses looking for an audience or customers, etc. People who want to show off etc. as well.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 21 Apr 2019 @ 1:42pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Comments to a blog are not the same as videos to a worldwide audience.

          So is that a yes you would have paid, or a no you would not have? The fact that the content is different does not change the underlying similarity, that of paying in order to post something. If you want we can reduce the price by half due to the difference between a blog and a video platform, but the question remains: If you had to pay in order to post, would you have?

          I think most major political candidates and other celebs would pay it, as would businesses looking for an audience or customers, etc. People who want to show off etc. as well.

          Congrats, you just turned an open platform where anyone can post into tv, where only those who have money to burn can.

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

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 22 Apr 2019 @ 8:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Comments to a blog are not the same as videos to a worldwide audience.

          In what significant ways are they different? In a legal sense?

          Be specific.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2019 @ 8:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Could it be that paying for comments would hurt their pocket, while paying for videos only hurts amateur content creators, while benefiting the professional ones by removing competition?

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

  • identicon
    Zach, 20 Apr 2019 @ 7:17am

    I have a hard time taking any proposal seriously when it labels services that one pays for "Free as in Puppy." Ain't nothing free about them. And using such a label distorts the argument, and implies that there can be some magic service that is somehow not ad supported but also not paid for? Beyond someone setting something up for their friends/family I just don't see that being widespread enough to account for in regulation.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Apr 2019 @ 7:33am

      Ain't nothing free about them.

      That is kind of the point of the phrase: Even if you get a puppy as a gift, you will still have to pay for keeping it healthy and happy. An internet service such as Twitter will let you post for free, but sooner or later, you will pay to keep it running — whether it is through direct monetary donations, ad revenue earned from your posts/your attention, or your data being sold off to the highest (ethically bankrupt) bidders.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 8:00am

        Re:

        Yeah, you’re spot on. Paying for things is OK. Not paying for things is always a scam of one sort or another.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Apr 2019 @ 8:06am

          You can get a thing free of charge and not have to pay for it later. (Granted, that thing will often be a bit of food or an item you can use without paying for its upkeep [e.g., a pencil], but still.) Getting a puppy free of charge is not a “scam” if you are prepared for the responsibility of keeping that doggo — i.e., if you go in knowing there will be costs later on that you do not need to pay at that moment.

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

      • identicon
        Zach, 20 Apr 2019 @ 11:43pm

        Re:

        Twitter is specifically covered by his Free as in Beer category. He's using Free as in Puppy to describe services that are not supported by ad revenue or data mining, IE services that you directly pay for.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 9:41am

    There s many websites that are free based on income from
    ads ,many apps or services are free but you pay for the pro version, or an ad free version.
    We will see in 2 years time many websites will close down comments or block all user uploads because they cannot afford to install filters or to risk being sued by a random ip holder.
    Some youtubers put their comments in sub only mode to block
    trolls or negative comments.
    Only people who pay a subscription can make a comment .
    Section 230 benefits the public because it allows platforms to exist with being under constant attack by
    legal actions by trolls or other people who might take
    offence at a a certain comment or post .
    Youtube has allowed a new class of artists .singers ,
    performers to exist without going through gate keepers
    like tv or music corporations and to provide free entertainment to milllions.
    Many free services are supported by ads ,donations
    and voluntary subscriptions .
    Many websites may simply shutdown if they have to screen all content or comments to see if it may offend someone or
    is it potentially using images or audio owned by a media
    company or corporation .
    Some comments maybe untrue or incorrect so section 320 means if someone wants to take legal action they should take action against the person who wrote the comment .
    Not against the platform or the website where the content appears .

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 20 Apr 2019 @ 12:06pm

    To many cooks...not enough Indians..

    Every time I see a NEW idea for regulating the net, its....
    Focused on 1 thing, and not the whole internet.
    or
    Focused on the Whole net, and so draconian that in REAL LIFE it would never happen.

    The NET can and does do a Fair JOB, for itself, if you Think about it. It causes ALL the world to COMPETE. China and Japan have jumped onboard, and Made world wide Shops..(Buyer beware). Where you can find Just about anything Created.
    Which is a Hassle in the USA, because the Corps have restrictions on products, So you cant have none.
    (Such a device would let you record Anything to a Harddrive, from Broadcast to Cable AND SAVE A COPY.. (like the Old VHS recorder) and in China its around $50-100, in Australia that unit is $100-150, and over $200 in others.. Devices like this in the USA start at $200 and go up FAST, if you can find them and they ARNT CRAP)
    Prices on Many products sold on Amazon have dropped in price over the years and Sold very well....But the USA corps are abit upset, they dont like the competition, go read up on Walmart and the fun they had going Direct to China.

    As a Public Source...Even the USA has a BIG problem with the NET. ITS PUBLIC, and is/can drag all the Skeletons out of the Closet nad Hang them on the wall...and SOME persons (not wanting to be seen as HUMAN) Want to Bury this idea/concept/Nakedness/reality BACK into the Dirt.
    Long ago, as a teen, There were so many underground newspapers you could find/see/read about anything you wanted, even in small towns you had Groups that would send out the Sex Newspapers.. Lots of this is HArd to find now.
    Long ago, there used to be Many social groups, that got together to discuss things and to Solve/create problems..and Now they are mostly broken up.
    Most of this has gone 'underground' and those that are in those groups, DONT WANT PICTURES/Knowledge of themselves Spread around.. (and part of the reason the internet is being beaten into the dirt)(like a TV Evangelist being caught selling dope, or taking money for himself, or having a 2nd/3rd wife)

    For all the grandstanding of Many of these people TRYING to bury and breakup the internet..
    Which could be used for MANY Many open world things...Showing that WE ARE ALL Human(no super beings in this crowd) and bringing out Hidden knowledge and ideas from Sharing around the globe..(dont think that the USA/EU hasnt/isnt editing your life, they are) What can hurt anyone If you understand what/who/what type of creature WE ARE... Using every cruel word in the Dictionary you can get the top 20% of this world.

    I still think the Internet should become and consolidate itself into its own creation of a nation. It would have interactions with every other nation and demand that we come to a consensus of HOW to deal with it, insted of RANDOM BS aimed at hiding things or controlling knowledge.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2019 @ 12:46pm

      Re: To many cooks...not enough Indians..

      Wouldn't that internet be globalist? Maybe it was inevitable that the internet would just become an extension of each country's borders the way its airwaves are?

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

      • icon
        ECA (profile), 21 Apr 2019 @ 12:15pm

        Re: Re: To many cooks...not enough Indians..

        Thats the problem..
        They can either Control individually the internet with a PLUG...and demand internal laws...

        Or open it up and let the larger corps, sponsor control the data, with BASIC regulations FOR ALL sources of the net.

        Its like trying to control the NEWS in your country.. You would have to kick out all the international NEWS FIRST..
        OR let everyone know the problems and Discuss what can be done.

        Let people Watch and learn and discuss, and CUSS, and bitch and moan and groan... OR lock it all down and kick everyone out, NOT PART of the society you are creating.. at which point you might as well pull the plug, and tell everyone to shut up.

        If you have a perfect nation, and you let the people Judge, watch and monitor YOUR nation...What do you have to worry about.

        They ARNT the USA, which if you look critically at, has done allot of propaganda over the years...Good/bad and stupid.
        when certain markets needed a boost, the USA paid for adverts foisting MILK/BEEF/OAT MEAL/CORN...
        There are many other things to say, but its hard enough to know it then to Explain all the strange that has happened ove rthe years..

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

  • icon
    Darkness Of Course (profile), 20 Apr 2019 @ 1:58pm

    Once again, break up the big tech

    And the end result will be a decades long attempt to break up the companies 'responsible' for the actions of others.

    Which will do absolutely nothing to address the problem, perceived or real.

    I'll listen to break up big tech to solve the internet problem once they have broken up big oil to solve CO2 emissions. And Ford. And GMC. And GE. And big banks.

    Why stop there, break up every company on the 500 lists.

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

  • icon
    chad hatten austin (profile), 21 Apr 2019 @ 6:54pm

    very insightful read

    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, 21 Apr 2019 @ 7:34pm

      Re:

      You know what I still can’t understand, even after reading many of the comments here for quite a long time? I can’t understand what’s wrong with the people here, they don’t seem to be similar to anyone I have ever met in “real life”.

      For example, Mike. Is he strange or what? He personally seems to stir a lot of these pots, and then either says nothing (unlikely) or posts his opinions under a phony name, rather than his own. Isn’t that strange?

      Now for me, for example, I post anonymously, but consistently anonymously. I now that I’m a little crazy because hey, I’m a guy. Sometimes I’m happy, sometimes I’m angry, sometimes I feel this way and sometimes I feel that way. My wife understands me, she even tells me that other men are just like me. If I get enough sleep and food and sex, I’m pretty nice and understanding. But if I don’t, wow, I can be nasty. So I figure better to post anonymously.

      To put it another way, sometimes my balls get the better of me. Really. I saw a show where they called it “toxic masculinity”, but I don’t think it’s “toxic”, I just get a little aggressive and it clouds my thinking a little. Sometimes it’s useful, it helps me deal with big problems by being aggressive and unrelenting.

      Now, contrast that way of thinking to Mike’s friend Chelsea. He cut off his own balls. That’s extreme. You know, a lot of the whole gay/bi/trans/whatever audience is also extreme. Really extreme. I mean, fine, up to them, but what do I want to hear from these extremists who can’t manage their own bodily functions without surgery? They’re weird, right? Fine for them, but I don’t want to hear about it, see, or have my children influenced by it.

      Is Techdirt a haven for deviants who carve up their own bodies because they are so badly adjusted to daily life, like Chelsea? Is there a correlation between self-mutilation and being a traitor to your country? Maybe there’s some connection there? There seems to be.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2019 @ 12:39am

        Re:

        Hey hamilton if you want go trans/CD whatever just do it bro. I mean it’s not like you are lying about your wife, or kids, or your entire life, or anything. So just come out in the open. Whether that means getting a sex change, or being gay, or having a fetish for rubber masks, or turning into an Indian middle aged complete failure of a human being. U B U bro.

        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, 22 Apr 2019 @ 2:03am

          Re: Re:

          Men give me credit for some genius. All the genius I have lies in this; when I have a subject in hand, I study it profoundly. Day and night it is before me. My mind becomes pervaded with it. Then the effort that I have made is what people are pleased to call the fruit of genius. It is the fruit of labor and thought

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2019 @ 8:52am

    I would write a new post message to politicians ,
    Don,t regulate the web as if every website is google ,facebook, or youtube,
    if A law requires all websites to spend millions on filters ,mods its a bad law .
    Remember there s millions of small websites ,blogs, forums, that are non profit, that make zero profit or just make enough money to keep going.In a free society these websites are vital for free speech.
    They cannot afford to pay moderators or build complex filters to screen
    all the uploads or images .
    IF people are left just with social media ,facebook ,youtube and some big
    american website to communicate and express an opinion it will be a disaster for democracy .One example youtube will demonitise a channel just because theres bad or rude comments left there ,
    even if the youtube channel does everything right ,follows all the rules ,
    they could lose all their income because some trolls leave bad comments
    about a video .

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2019 @ 10:50pm

    To all the chucklefucks who cheered the Net Neutrality repeal: you reap what you sow.

    Don't ask for the Internet to be regulated. You killed Net Neutrality on the claimed basis it was about regulating the Internet.

    Own the death.

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


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