Vox Admits It Got Section 230 Wrong, Fixes Its Mistake

from the good-work dept

Last week we wrote about how annoying it was that major media publications were misrepresenting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, and suggesting -- completely without merit -- that the law was designed to keep platforms "neutral" or that they were mere "pass through" vehicles, rather than actively engaged in moderation. We pointed out that online trolls and grandstanding politicians were making this incorrect claim, but it was not an accurate statement of the law, and the media should know better. In our comments, some people called me out for not suggesting that the media was being deliberately dishonest, and in response I noted that there wasn't any evidence of deliberateness from most of them (not so much with the trolls and especially grandstanding politicians like Ted Cruz, who have been told, repeatedly, that they are misrepresenting CDA 230). I hoped that it was just a mistake that would be corrected.

Perhaps surprisingly, the author of the Vox article that I called out, Jane Coaston, did exactly that. After a few others called out her article, including Harvard's Jonathan Zittrain, Coaston has now apologized and done a massive rewrite on the original article to make it more accurate:

In this era when so many people seem to want to dig in and defend incorrect things, I think it deserves recognition and kudos when people (especially reporters) can admit they made a mistake and to then correct those mistakes.

Filed Under: cda 230, jane coaston, section 230


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 3:53pm

    "media was being deliberately dishonest"

    the mainstream media is always deliberately dishonest

    There fixed it for you.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 3:55pm

      Considering how the “mainstream media” includes Fox News, you are not entirely wrong.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 4:39pm

      Re:

      the mainstream media is always deliberately dishonest

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

      I don't think the mainstream media is always, or even frequently, dishonest. I think they often are sloppy or get details wrong, but not out of a desire to mislead, but rather due to not fully understanding the issues or getting a distorted view.

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      • identicon
        AnonyOps, 14 May 2019 @ 6:40pm

        Re: Re:

        The first version of history is rarely correct, nor is it ever rewritten, even if it wasn't done in bad faith.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 8:03pm

          nor is it ever rewritten

          Whoa there, buckaroo. History "changes" all the time.

          Dinosaurs had feathers, and were killed by an asteroid impact. Henry Ford is remembered as a hard-nosed racist, while John D. Rockefeller is remembered as a great philanthropist. The Germans were correct in their guess that the Lusitania was illegally carrying ammunition and weaponry. Christopher Columbus was a genocidal dictator. The beliefs of Martin Luther were pretty reasonable. Mao Zedong killed millions by forcing change upon China's farmers, not because of a random horrible drought. Bill Cosby is a creep. Pluto isn't a planet. Ethan Allen is remembered as the man who took Fort Ticonderoga, even though Benedict Arnold did all the work. Thomas Edison is remembered as the man who invented modern electricity, even though Nicola Tesla did all the work.

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      • icon
        Bamboo Harvester (profile), 15 May 2019 @ 8:07am

        Re: Re:

        There's some "desire to mislead" in simple bias, but for the most part the trouble is with attempting to turn items into Sensational! True! Reports!

        I get it - sensationalism sells. A Supreme Court decision is always "news", but, for the most part, those decisions aren't shattering - like the Apple one reported here.

        If it was reported as "SCOTUS makes technical decision to allow Standing" not many people would bother reading it.

        If they report it as Amazing! Political! Upset! Trump! Appointed! Justice! Votes! AGAINST! Trump! You get a lot more eyeballs following the story.

        Seriously, the sensationalism has really been overdone the last few years.

        It's like having every item read aloud by William Shatner...

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    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 4:44pm

      Re:

      the mainstream media is always deliberately dishonest

      I think this TechDirt post proves that statement false.

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

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    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 4:43pm

    Dear Ms. Coaston,

    You are wrong about Section 230. The law makes people defenseless against defamation, and it immunizes distributor liability that applies everywhere else in the world. Perhaps this is above your IQ grade.

    What do you tell a woman whose ex-boyfriend floods Google with claims she did porn or turned tricks, and does it from a "burner IP” that makes it impossible to find out who posted it? Female victims of revenge porn have committed suicide because anyone who searches them by name found pictures that led to the women being fired, ostracized, harassed, or threatened.

    Look up “reputation blackmail,” where people from other countries demand payment from white-collar professionals in exchange for not ruining their reputations online by posting negative reviews. Some have threatened to call pediatricians pedophiles or similar if the ransom is not paid: https://marketingland.com/increase-extortion-fueled-reputation-attacks-points-need-legal-change-2288 98

    You support a law which has ruined lives and businesses for twenty-five years (one plumber can defame another by lying that they cut corners, and the liar then gets the job and does faulty work), and which does not exist in other countries.

    Why you think someone who spreads lies about people (like a search engine or social media service) should be immune from this is beyond me. Talk to female victims of revenge porn and ask them what they think of Section 230, the law that allowed those who ruined their lives to escape liability, or talk to a doctor who was threatened with being called a pedophile by people who weaponize Google. Your views might change.

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    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 4:53pm

      Re:

      What do you tell a woman whose ex-boyfriend floods Google with claims she did porn or turned tricks, and does it from a "burner IP” that makes it impossible to find out who posted it?

      Gee, I don't know, find out who defamed her? You really want to hold Google responsible for the revenge porn and defamation when they, you know, weren't the ones responsible!?!

      Look up “reputation blackmail,” where people from other countries demand payment from white-collar professionals in exchange for not ruining their reputations online by posting negative reviews. Some have threatened to call pediatricians pedophiles or similar if the ransom is not paid: https://marketingland.com/increase-extortion-fueled-reputation-attacks-points-need-legal-change-2288 98

      TechDirt has a lot of experience with them; they're called "IP Trolls". Also, do a search for "The Boob God".

      You support a law which has ruined lives and businesses for twenty-five years (one plumber can defame another by lying that they cut corners, and the liar then gets the job and does faulty work), and which does not exist in other countries.

      The First Amendment does not exist in other countries. Your argument is invalid.

      You apparently don't want to hold the people who defame responsible, but the sites on which they post as well. Are you insane? Why not hold just those who defame? I don't understand why you want to hold the web sites responsible as well. This means that I could post something defamatory on a web site and they will have to scramble to comply or face penalties for something they weren't even aware of. That seems like a worse scenario.

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 4:58pm

        I don't understand why you want to hold the web sites responsible as well.

        They have bigger bank accounts. Always follow the money.

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        Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 5:07pm

        Re: Re:

        Gee, I don't know, find out who defamed her? You really want to hold Google responsible for the revenge porn and defamation when they, you know, weren't the ones responsible!?!

        Google's responsibility is for REPUBLISHING it or spreading it, hence the term "distributor liability," which they now face in Australia. It's a separate harm from publishing it.

        If the original publisher used a "burner IP" they can't be found and sued. Not everyone has the money for expensive lawyers who wouldn't be necessary without the damage caused by 230 (since the original posting wouldn't be searchable by employers etc.). Search engines are weaponized by users who "Google Bomb" their targets. Female victims of revenge porn were put through hell because of Section 230.

        Either you do not understand this or you are pretending not to understand it.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 6:17pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          No
          We just know that are doing something in bad faith for your own interest after it was explained. So there is no need.

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        • icon
          Gary (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 7:13pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Google's responsibility is for REPUBLISHING

          False, liar. You sound like that other poster, the notorious scammer John Smith.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 9:52am

          Re: Re: Re: FTFY > Trollibutor liability...

          Trolls are responsibility is for REPUBLISHING it or spreading it, hence the term "Trollibutor liability," which they now face in Trolistralia. It's a separate harm from trolling it.

          If the original troll used a "troller IP" they can't be found and sued. Not everyone has the money for expensive lawyers who wouldn't be necessary without the protection provided by 230 (since the original troll wouldn't be searchable by employers etc.). Search engines are weaponized by users who "Troll Bomb" their targets. Female victims of revenge troll porn were put through hell because of Section 230 (and the beastiality charges that were added).

          Either you do not understand this or you are paid not to understand it.

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 7:22am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Google's responsibility is for REPUBLISHING it or spreading it, hence the term "distributor liability..."

          Neither of which is true since Google doesn't republish, doesn't spread anything, and isn't a distributor.

          "...which they now face in Australia."

          And every lawyer to look at that case is shaking his/her head and going "dumb, dumb aussies".

          Australia - the country where you can not legally write software compliant with basic law anywhere else in the world - is not a good place to go for examples on IP case law at the moment.

          "Search engines are weaponized by users who "Google Bomb" their targets. Female victims of revenge porn were put through hell because of Section 230."

          Malicious gossipmongers are not now and never have been a justification for effectively abolishing intermediary immunity. Not offline nor online. The pub owner isn't responsible for what his patrons whisper in his booths. The city isn't responsible for what people say in the street.

          "Either you do not understand this or you are pretending not to understand it."

          Oh, I think everyone understands that your argument is shit and has to rely on guilt by association riding a straw man to a false premise.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 5:10pm

        Re: Re:

        I don't understand why you want to hold the web sites responsible as well

        He wants a system where any comment can be taken down by sending a notice to the web site, that way the web will support the reputation he thinks he should have.

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

      • identicon
        ryuugami, 14 May 2019 @ 9:01pm

        Re: Re:

        You apparently don't want to hold the people who defame responsible, but the sites on which they post as well. Are you insane? Why not hold just those who defame? I don't understand why you want to hold the web sites responsible as well.

        Seems pretty obvious to me. Remember, you're responding to a troll who wants this site (and every other site he disagrees with) shut down.

        With a law like that, he could destroy any Internet platform with no risk to himself simply by doing what he does right now: flooding it with anonymous idiocy.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 4:55pm

      Re:

      Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech

      Freedom of Speech is more important than your feelings. Period.

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

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        Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 5:03pm

        Re: Re:

        Freedom of Speech is more important than your feelings. Period.

        Libel is not free speech, and is about facts, not feelings.

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

        • icon
          Samuel Abram (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 5:10pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Also, Internet platforms are immune from distributor immunity: https://privacylaw.proskauer.com/2006/11/articles/communications-decency-act/distributor-immunity-fo r-defamatory-internet-publication/

          But never let facts get in the way of an argument!

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

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            Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 5:25pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Also, Internet platforms are immune from distributor immunity

            Only in the US, and only because of section 230. Courts who have upheld 230 (the SCOTUS has never ruled on this part of it so it's not even settled law yet) have often noted that the law is flawed, but that Congress has to change it.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 6:45pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              That's not what "settled law" means.

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

            • icon
              Gary (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 7:17pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Courts who have upheld 230

              Once again, say it without lying - "Section 230 has been upheld in hundreds of court cases."

              You seem to want to spread the falsehood that any law that hasn't gone to the supreme court is somehow invalid. Which is what a scammer who bilks people with worthless self-help books would say.

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

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                Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 1:30am

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

                You seem to want to spread the falsehood that any law that hasn't gone to the supreme court is somehow invalid. Which is what a scammer who bilks people with worthless self-help books would say.

                Except no books are identified in your libelous posting. Was Beat The Dealer (1962) a scam? Its readers made millions playing blackjack. That's one example of a how-to book.

                You don't seem very credible, just jealous.

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                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 15 May 2019 @ 5:56am

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

                  "Was Beat The Dealer (1962) a scam? Its readers made millions playing blackjack"

                  So... it was a book about how to scam a casino?

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 11:29am

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

                    Scammers gotta scam...

                    Not like he has any other books to read, other than those about how to scam, you know the ones: Scamming for Dummies, Where did the bad section 230 touch you?, Welcome to Nigeria, my prince?, Catch me if you scam, The Scammiest guys in the room.

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                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 May 2019 @ 11:56am

                      Not to mention famous movies such as S*C*A*M, Scam Max: Sucker Road, Scamvengers: Griftfinity War, and Ocean’s Eleven.

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

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 9:00pm

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

                      "I'm having Scam, Scam, Scam, Scam, Scam, Scam, baked beans, Scam, Scam and Spam!"
                      "Baked beans are off."
                      "In that case, can I have Scam instead?"
                      "You mean Scam, Scam, Scam, Scam, Scam, Scam, Scam, Scam, Scam, Scam, and Scam?"
                      "Yes!"
                      "Bleurgh!"

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                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 12:32am

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

                      Strange how he hasn't answered my point, though. Just as it's strange that his example of a non-scamming "self-help" book wasn't actually a book about helping yourself on a personal level, but how to get more money out of casinos. Not only that, but he had to reach nearly 60 years into the past to find an example.

                      By his bad example and silence, I reckon he's just proved the point that all modern self-help books are scams.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2019 @ 2:29am

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

                        I remember when his go-to was investment books, insisting that "notice and staydown based on accusation" laws were needed to protect financial experts.

                        He hasn't used that example since Scary Devil Monastery pointed out that any such book would be instantly out of date the moment everyone started using it.

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                        • icon
                          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 7:26am

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

                          "He hasn't used that example since Scary Devil Monastery pointed out that any such book would be instantly out of date the moment everyone started using it."

                          I'm surprised he actually had the moxie to realize that a book like that would be less effective the more people bought it - after it was pointed out to him.

                          Baghdad bob is usually immune to logic and common sense, after all, and it tends to take ten people a year or more of pointing out his horse is dead before he stops trying to ride it.

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                          • icon
                            PaulT (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 7:43am

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

                            "I'm surprised he actually had the moxie to realize that a book like that would be less effective the more people bought it - after it was pointed out to him."

                            Yet, his go to book now is apparently a 57 year old book that has made its readers "millions". I somehow doubt that the Las Vegas casinos of the 1960s and '70s would allow people reading a popular book to continue winning hands with any degree of guaranteed consistency.

                            If the claim is true, that book probably stopped being effective before most people in this thread were born. Or, of course, the claim of millions won is itself a lie, intended to scam would-be readers into paying for a book that in a sane world would already be public domain.

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                            • icon
                              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 May 2019 @ 5:59am

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

                              "I somehow doubt that the Las Vegas casinos of the 1960s and '70s would allow people reading a popular book to continue winning hands with any degree of guaranteed consistency."

                              All too true. The very second a las vegas casino found their earnings dipping by 1% they'd start adding names to the blacklist. And since that list is shared with other casinos, no one ever walks away with a million greenbacks of casino cash.

                              Worse still though, the example Baghdad Bob tried to use was about a book of financial investment - stocks.

                              If any book like that actually existed and was effective the first thing to happen would be the SEC putting the author into leavenworth.

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2019 @ 8:06pm

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

                            I'm surprised he actually had the moxie to realize that a book like that would be less effective the more people bought it - after it was pointed out to him.

                            You're giving him too much credit.

                            I prefer to think of it as him moving onto the rest of his armada of sinking ships because the one he's on collapsed under its own payload of bullshit.

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                Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 7:39am

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

                Yes 230 has been Upheld. So long as you're the middle man and letting it all through, you're protected. As soon as you start banning people on the right and with piss poor excuses, you are now a Publisher. Which is fine, but you no longer have 230 protection.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 5:34pm

          Re: Crybaby jhons At it again

          It does seem to be all about your feelings bro. What with ALL those hundreds of threats to sue. And that’s just your little hissy fit yesterday.

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

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            Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 10:44pm

            Re: Re: Crybaby jhons At it again

            It does seem to be all about your feelings bro. What with ALL those hundreds of threats to sue. And that’s just your little hissy fit yesterday.

            Those were warnings that some chose to ignore.

            I was trying to save money on legal fees. Now I'll just hire a lawyer to deal with it.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 11:33pm

              Re: Re: Re: Crybaby jhons At it again

              Thanks for the fighting words, John. Now I have standing to sue. I can stop wetting my pants just like you...

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 2:28am

              Re: Now with 90% more impotent threats

              You hired one yesterday bro. When you threw another epic hissy fit. Do you remember? Or is it too hard to keep all the lies straight anymore?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 6:21pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          it’s a fact that you are a liar and not even proud of it. And a coward because you can’t even stand for your own aims. And that’s why not even law will change that
          .

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 2:41am

      Re:

      What do you tell a woman whose ex-boyfriend floods Google with claims......

      Sue the ex- boyfriend, as she knows who he is.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 2:46am

      Re: No one ever accused you of being smart

      I wonder why you would use an SEO marketing douchenozzles opinion piece as evidence of support for your garbage fire of a theory. His personal website looks like it was last updated on GeoCities. Although it does make sense you’d use another scam artist (sorry reputation management professional) as an example.

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

    • icon
      Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 5:27am

      Re:

      Why you think someone who spreads lies about people (like a search engine or social media service) should be immune from this is beyond me. Talk to female victims of revenge porn and ask them what they think of Section 230, the law that allowed those who ruined their lives to escape liability, or talk to a doctor who was threatened with being called a pedophile by people who weaponize Google. Your views might change.

      Ahem! As a female and victim of lies spread online I blame no one but the poster.

      Google can't be weaponized and liars gonna lie whether there are search engines or not. You have yet to advise how you'd navigate the internet without a search engine.

      I've been defamed. It's gone RL and I've been called into the office at work to explain why my employers had been contacted with allegations that I later proved were the work of a troll. I'm still working for the same company and have since been promoted. Now shut up. Your arguments are wholly based on appeals to emotion and have no logical or factual basis.

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 7:14am

      Re:

      "What do you tell a woman whose ex-boyfriend floods Google with claims she did porn or turned tricks, and does it from a "burner IP” that makes it impossible to find out who posted it?"

      Since you can't flood "Google" with anything you simply tell her she's barking up the wrong tree.

      And since time immemorial malicious gossip has NEVER been fought by trying to forbid people from maliciously gossiping - and even less so when the one you target as a response is the owner of the pub where the gossip spreads or the city for not preventing said gossip from being re-told on the streets.

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

    • icon
      blademan9999 (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 7:56pm

      Re:

      Without Section 230, someone could use a Burner IP to post silly defamationary remarks about themselves and the sue the site for libel for a bit of cash.
      It's just as plausible as anything that you have come up with.

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    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 4:45pm

    Major media publication is too generous. At best Vox is digital poparazzi chasing after sensationalized character assassination for outrage clicks, never satisfied until they manage to kill another princess. Dirty, dirty smear merchants.

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    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 4:46pm

    Ah yes, Masnick is presenting an OPINION as if it were a FACT, all to carry out his pro-230 agenda.

    As I've already pointed out, the flaw in 230 is that someone can use a "burner IP" to destroy someone's reputation with lies, making it impossible to "sue the original publisher." This could even be done to those who support Section 230, and I bet if it ever were, their views would change overnight. Those who dismiss harm caused to others tend to whine the loudest when the same harm is inflicted on them.

    Of course I'm not endorsing anyone ever doing this to someone, as it's a horrible experience, but the potential for abuse should not be ignored simply because someone has never been on its receiving end.

    It should also be noted that Google was sued in Australia over its search results, for the harm those results inflicted on individuals who were defamed by others.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 4:56pm

      Re:

      Correction: You're the flaw.

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

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 4:58pm

      Re:

      I have friends in Australia (and that includes Sebastian Tomczak, who many on Techdirt may remember for having his noise on YouTube get flagged for © infringement). Blaming Google for defamation that others caused is like suing a restaurant because somebody wrote defamatory graffiti in their bathroom stalls. Do you think a restaurant should be shut down if somebody wrote defamatory graffiti on their walls? Because that's exactly what you're arguing!

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        Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 5:02pm

        Re: Re:

        Blaming Google for defamation that others caused is like suing a restaurant because somebody wrote defamatory graffiti in their bathroom stalls. Do you think a restaurant should be shut down if somebody wrote defamatory graffiti on their walls? Because that's exactly what you're arguing!

        Even in the US, the restaurant can definitely be sued if it does not remove defamation from its bathroom walls. It's called "distributor liability." The harm caused by the restaurant refusing to do this is wholly separate from the harm caused by the original publication.

        Google choosing to leave lies in its search results is also a separate harm from the original publication of the lies. That's why it's called "distributor liability." In India, Article 79 protects intermediaries only until they are put on notice.

        As I noted above, anyone can use a "burner IP" to defame someone, making it impossible to sue the original publisher, and making the damage done by republishers impossible to enjoin again due to 230. The example of the woman who was called a hooker or porn actress by her ex ten years ago and now loses a nursing job is one example of how search engines can be weaponized.

        Either you do not understand this, or you are pretending not to understand this.

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

        • icon
          Samuel Abram (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 5:08pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I did a google search for "Distributer Liability Defamation", and got this: https://privacylaw.proskauer.com/2006/11/articles/communications-decency-act/distributor-immunity-fo r-defamatory-internet-publication/

          Once again, you are wrong, but it's not like being wrong stopped you before.

          And in the US where a corporation is legally a person, they could sue you for the "defamation" you just put on this Techdirt web site.

          You should really be careful what you wish for!

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 5:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Distributor liability is a well-established legal concept. It recognizes that spreading defamation (as search engines and intermediaries do) is a separate harm from publishing it.

            My post also shows how anyone can be targeted from a "burner IP" that makes it impossible to sue the original publisher. Heck, it could even be done to someone who is pro-230 (not that it should be, but it would change their view fast).

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 5:09pm

          Google choosing to leave lies in its search results is also a separate harm from the original publication of the lies.

          Question! If the Sandy Hook parents suing Alex Jones win their defamation case and have his lies declared defamatory, how far should Google go in deleting search results: only InfoWars and associated sites that Jones used to spread his lies, all sites that republished his lies as fact, all sites that mentioned his lies in the context of the lawsuit, or further than even that?

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            Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 12:30am

            Re:

            Question! If the Sandy Hook parents suing Alex Jones win their defamation case and have his lies declared defamatory, how far should Google go in deleting search results: only InfoWars and associated sites that Jones used to spread his lies, all sites that republished his lies as fact, all sites that mentioned his lies in the context of the lawsuit, or further than even that?

            Offline, the rules are that any distributors would have to delete defamatory content on notice (or choose to defend it by leaving it up).

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

          • identicon
            Spanglepants, 20 May 2019 @ 7:47am

            Re:

            it's not an issue of deleting the lies, it's which results get shown at the top when they're searched for - the lies, or the fact that they are lies. If you delist the lies themselves, you lose the context for complaining about the lies.

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

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 7:23pm

      Re:

      Ok, I'll break it down doe the slow:

      Ah yes, Masnick is presenting an OPINION as if it were a FACT, all to carry out his pro-230 agenda.

      Actually TD has presented actual caselaw. Some scammer (perhaps an author of self-help books) keeps presenting his opinions as fact. Don't confuse them.

      As I've already pointed out, the flaw in 230 is that someone can use a "burner IP" to destroy someone's reputation with lies.

      Your cries of burner IP's have no basis in law, or tech. Speech is speech, and protected in the states. Your idea that fake accounts can't be held accountable means that google or review websites have no way of determining the validity. You make the fine point that it's impossible to filter comments - congrats.

      Of course I'm not endorsing anyone ever doing this to someone, as it's a horrible experience, but the potential for abuse should not be ignored simply because someone has never been on its receiving end.

      I think TD keeps the AC accounts live for that very reason - so we can see what the trolls and scammers have to say.

      It should also be noted that Google was sued in Australia over its search results

      Do you live in Australia? Have you been harmed by online reviews? google gets sued all the time - they have money. Unlike failed self-help authors.

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

      • icon
        Gary (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 7:46pm

        Re: Re:

        Dammit all. Who hit the first word. Now I'm staring at those typos.

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

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        Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 10:42pm

        Re: Re:

        It should also be noted that Google was sued in Australia over its search results
        Do you live in Australia?

        The point is that the Australian courts recognize distributor liability, a separate harm than that caused by the publisher.

        Have you been harmed by online reviews? google gets sued all the time - they have money. Unlike failed self-help authors.

        Google lost the ruling in AUS on standing to sue. As for me, either you know my writing and sales figures, or you're just making stuff up. This isn't about just me however, which makes what you're writing "ad hominem."

        Either you don't understand what I wrote or you are pretending not to.

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        • identicon
          kallethen, 15 May 2019 @ 6:18am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The point is that the Australian courts recognize distributor liability, a separate harm than that caused by the publisher.

          And this is relevant to USA law how? The last I recall, USA is not part of Australia and vice versa.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 11:39am

          Re: Re: Re:

          In some foreign countries it's law that you can be killed for saying something that upsets the ruling class.

          So based on your logic, this means that Trump is okay to nuke half of the population (I think you can all figure out which ones would be targeted for drone strikes), since this also okay in "some" countries? It this really your argument? But they do it 'over there'?

          That's a pretty weak argument, but it's all we can expect from a troll.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 3:25am

      Re:

      The irony your comment is posted as Anonymous should not go unnoticed.

      Techdirt isn't responsible for your actions, just as Section 230 allows.

      I shudder to think what the internet would become when people like you are continually allowed to post while sites like Techdirt get into trouble for it.

      You're one retarded idiot.

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

    • icon
      John Roddy (profile), 15 May 2019 @ 7:42am

      Of course I'm not endorsing anyone ever doing this to someone, as it's a horrible experience, but the potential for abuse should not be ignored simply because someone has never been on its receiving end.

      This is literally exactly what you are doing to Masnick right now. And a various assortment of people here.

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

      • icon
        Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 5:32am

        Re:

        The potential for abuse is in everything and everyone. Not a good enough reason to rob us of navigability on the internet or of platforms on which to express ourselves and connect with like-minded people in case the likes of Hamilton shows up to lie about us.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 4:55pm

    Owning up to ones mistakes can be diffcult (although it depends on the person).

    Congrats to her for acting like a mature adult (in one case I know of).

    Now I need to get back to crying over the fact that this is worth noteing (and not completely normal & expected behavior from everyone over 12 years old).

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 5:01pm

    How did we end up in bizzaro world and how do we stay here?

    Writes terribly flawed article, is told it's wrong, takes the opportunity to go learn why they were wrong and update original article in order to be accurate?

    On the one hand the fact that that's even noteworthy is kinda sad, on the other hand good on them for doing it, and may many(preferably all) journalists follow suit.

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

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    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 5:08pm

    Gee, I don't know, find out who defamed her?

    With what, an IP address that courts say doesn't prove who wrote the post?

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

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 5:25pm

      Re:

      The IP address doesn't prove who wrote the post, but it might be a part of an investigation into who did. The difference is, the copyright trolls are accusing the person who pays for the Internet connection and hitting them up for payment and/or suing them. This is different than if they used the IP address to then go and try to find out who might have been using it for some illegal or civilly wrong activity. The IP trolls don't want to spend that kind of money.

      Asking a court for permission to find out who and/or where that IP address is and who controls it in order to try and find out the actual who did whatever bad thing is the right way to go about it. Not just accuse the IP address owner of whatever.

      Suing someone for defamation isn't free, or cheap.

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

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 5:26pm

    The IP address doesn't prove who wrote the post

    Exactly.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 5:30pm

    Please please please people!!!

    This is an article about section 230 and we all know the resident anti-230 troll will appear here constantly spewing misinformation and bullshit.

    So everybody PLEASE just flag the post and move on.

    There is no need to respond to his comments as he refuses to listen to logic, reason and facts. He gets off on having people refute him as he comes up with new "catch phrases" (distributor liability) and will not let it go. And he is full of baseless and impotent threats of cops and lawyers and subpeones, etc.

    So can we all just PLEASE not feed the troll and just flag his posts and move on!!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 6:09pm

      Re:

      His new catch phrase is "those are fighting words".

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

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      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 12:25am

      Re:

      This is an article about section 230 and we all know the resident anti-230 troll will appear here constantly spewing misinformation and bullshit.

      Those who tell you not to listen to me are telling you to listen to them, as if they are some type of authority.

      Just shows the low level of reader Masnick attracts.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 2:37am

        Re: Cryin Lyin Jhon King Of Projection

        “Just shows the low level of reader Masnick attracts.”

        Well you do seem to keep impotently threatening people to either sue, fight, rape, and or call the cops.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 9:29am

        Re: Re:

        Those who tell you not to listen to me are telling you to listen to them, as if they are some type of authority.

        Just shows the low level of reader Masnick attracts.

        So, you just described yourself then?

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

  • icon
    nothing (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 6:28pm

    If 230 is about "material"...?

    I'm trying to understand how kicking people off a platform or preventing people from signing up fits into 230.

    It makes platforms immune from lawsuits for "any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material" and it allows them to filter whatever. Fine. It's about content and filters.

    "Any action" is used when referencing content (material). Nothing about users. Platforms can delete and filter as they please. How does this extend to banning a user who might post unpalatable content in the future when the law starts off saying how congress recognizes the internet is super duper because it "offer(s) a forum for a true diversity of political discourse, unique opportunities for cultural development, and myriad avenues for intellectual activity"?

    I understand why they can kick someone off for TOS violations. A TOS can be interpreted to mean anything. They use this excuse when notifying someone about being kicked off. Great. Do what you want. 230 and a platform's own TOS are different things. I don't understand how hiding behind 230 applies to a scenario where platforms are collaborating to choose which set of ideologies are permitted when 230 recognizes "true diversity" and all that good stuff. Maybe it's "any action", but that seems like a stretch.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 6:36pm

      Using a service such as Facebook is a societal privilege, not a legal right. If someone could legally sue that service over a ban — and have a court overturn that ban — it would upend the First Amendment’s protections for association. As for “true diversity” and ideologies and such in yuor last paragraph: (A) Prove that multiple platforms are collaborating with one another to deny specific ideologies a place on those platforms, and (B) recognize that true neutrality/“diversity” would burden a platform with hosting speech and speakers that the administrators of said platform have already chosen not to host.

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

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        Cy Tayshun Knee-Did, 14 May 2019 @ 8:27pm

        Re: You're writing at astro-turfing "Stephen".

        Who knows? Maybe YOU are the one doing it! You're certainly rabid to comment here, often of late making a third of the comments!

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

        • icon
          Gary (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 8:34pm

          Re: Re: You're writing at astro-Trolling

          And Blue has been making his typical hit and run posts as normal, crying that the top posters (by volume, and votes) are shills. Shilling for... Common sense and free speech?

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

      • icon
        nothing (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 9:07pm

        Re:

        My intent wasn't to be confrontational or otherwise start a political argument. I'll respond anyway... (A) I haven't read peer reviewed studies regarding the collaboration to deplatform entire ideologies among social media platforms in the United States. I've simply noticed dozens of pieces of content about some high profile people who were deplatformed. These people weren't part of the same group until content creators began to tell us they are all far-right hate speech types who aren't welcome anywhere online. These people tend to be viewed politically as right-leaning. None of these people have ever aroused negative emotions in me. I don't feel they use their influence for nefarious purposes. Some of these people now allege two far left organizations (CAIR and the SLPC) devoted to "social justice" (whatever that is) spent lots of money to create a fake social media campaign intended to get them kicked off popular platforms. Lawsuits are ongoing. It's telling that the "alt-right" Farrakhan was used to pretend it was totally neutral. He seems to have been dropped from the narrative. (B) I reject your command to believe something, I will choose to trust my nervous system to recognize external stimuli and process that data so I'm able to integrate it into my personal life experience and form my own opinions. It's worked so far. I'll respond by saying I believe diversity and neutrality are different concepts and my empathy level for burdened platforms is very low. It's also irrelevant.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 11:27pm

          I've simply noticed dozens of pieces of content about some high profile people who were deplatformed.

          One of the big reasons you hear so much from right-wingers/conservatives/Republicans about it, rather than left-wingers/liberals/Democrats who also get booted, is because the first group is far more vocal about perceived “oppression” and “censorship” at the hands of “big tech” and “the mainstream media” and [insert appropriate boogeyman here] than the second. (Also people in the first group are far more likely to espouse views such as racism and homophobia that would likely earn them a “breaking TOS” ban.)

          I don't feel they use their influence for nefarious purposes.

          FYI: Alex Jones used his platforms to espouse the blatantly false (and potentially defamatory) proposition that the Sandy Hook massacre was a staged “false flag” event and both the grieving parents and the dead children were “crisis actors”. Jones’s bullshit eventually led to his followers harassing a number of Sandy Hook parents (who are now suing Jones for defamation). While he may have believed his intent was good (“I’m exposing a fraud!”), the effect of his act it its real intent.

          Some of these people now allege two far left organizations (CAIR and the SLPC) devoted to "social justice" (whatever that is) spent lots of money to create a fake social media campaign intended to get them kicked off popular platforms.

          Unless and until they can prove that theory, consider it bullshit. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

          It's telling that the "alt-right" Farrakhan was used to pretend it was totally neutral.

          Even if Facebook showed absolutely no pretense of neutrality in banning “alt-right” shitlords, it would not matter — Facebook has an absolute right to ban anyone for virtually any reason. “Viewpoint discrimination” is a (mouthful of a) rallying cry for aggrieved assholes who think the First Amendment entitles them to the use of a third-party platform and an audience.

          I believe diversity and neutrality are different concepts and my empathy level for burdened platforms is very low. It's also irrelevant.

          Your empathy for burdened platforms could change one day, were you to find yourself in a position to host third-party content on a website you own/operate. If someone started posting racist propaganda on your theoretical website, and you knew you could neither delete their posts nor ban their ass because the law says you cannot, how would you feel about being compelled by law to host racist propaganda that you do not want to host?

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

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 12:28am

            Re:

            Your empathy for burdened platforms could change one day, were you to find yourself in a position to host third-party content on a website you own/operate. If someone started posting racist propaganda on your theoretical website, and you knew you could neither delete their posts nor ban their ass because the law says you cannot, how would you feel about being compelled by law to host racist propaganda that you do not want to host?

            There could be a "free speech zone" on the site to protect access for those groups, and a "moderated zone" for the snowflakes.

            Should these people be denied food and water too?

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 May 2019 @ 4:12am

              There could be a "free speech zone" on the site to protect access for those groups, and a "moderated zone" for the snowflakes.

              4chan tried a variant of this when it created /pol/ to quarantine political discussion. 4chan failed. /pol/’s particular brand of idiocy eventually spread to other boards, making the quarantine all but useless.

              Should these people be denied food and water too?

              Food and water are necessities of life. Facebook is not.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 4:27am

              Re: Re:

              There could be a "free speech zone" on the site to protect access for those groups,

              That assumes that such people will respect that zone, but the evidence is that they won't, because they want to force their message onto everybody else.

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

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        Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 10:39pm

        Re:

        Using a service such as Facebook is a societal privilege, not a legal right. If someone could legally sue that service over a ban — and have a court overturn that ban — it would upend the First Amendment’s protections for association.

        Sites definitely have the right to censor, but that's when any discussion on the site ceases to be open or relevant, and the site loses the exchange of ideas that made it interesting in the first place.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 11:40pm

          The “exchange of ideas” can be limited by more than just certain ideologies/people being shown the door — it can be limited by pressure to avoid being a target for unrepentant assholes. People who may feel compelled to stay quiet because of “troublemakers” who were known to harass, annoy, and otherwise troll them could feel more open about talking if said “troublemakers” get the boot. A gay person would likely feel uncomfortable with talking about LGBT issues if they know they will become a target for homophobes and trolls (or worse). But if the community the gay person is in (whatever the form of that community) tells homophobes “we don’t do that here” and does whatever it can to make homophobia unwelcome in said community, the gay person would likely feel more comfortable to discuss LGBT issues without fear of being trolled/bullied/harassed/violently forced into silence.

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

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            Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 12:19am

            Re:

            The “exchange of ideas” can be limited by more than just certain ideologies/people being shown the door — it can be limited by pressure to avoid being a target for unrepentant assholes. People who may feel compelled to stay quiet because of “troublemakers” who were known to harass, annoy, and otherwise troll them could feel more open about talking if said “troublemakers” get the boot.

            Like people who get called spammer, crazy, etc. every time they post something others don't agree with? There are ways to filter that content. On Facebook, if you block someone, they can't reply directly to your post.

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

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 11:21am

            Re:

            The “exchange of ideas” can be limited by more than just certain ideologies/people being shown the door — it can be limited by pressure to avoid being a target for unrepentant assholes. People who may feel compelled to stay quiet because of “troublemakers” who were known to harass, annoy, and otherwise troll them could feel more open about talking if said “troublemakers” get the boot.

            Thanks to Section 230, this is what whistleblowers experience. Many people no longer file whistleblower lawsuits because they turn up in search results and they wind up retaliated against.

            When someone's apartment building collapses because a former tenant moved out without warning anyone (lest they be denied new housing) that the building was falling apart, you can thank Section 230 and the internet in general.

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 May 2019 @ 11:51am

              When someone's apartment building collapses because a former tenant moved out without warning anyone (lest they be denied new housing) that the building was falling apart, you can thank

              …an asshole landlord who threatened to have that tenant blacklisted if said tenant dared to speak up about the state of that apartment building.

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

              • icon
                Bamboo Harvester (profile), 15 May 2019 @ 12:59pm

                Re:

                I take exception to the stereotype.

                I've never had a tenant file a valid complaint about myself, my buildings, or the services I provide.

                What I HAVE seen is incredible abuse from tenants.

                Surprisingly, do you know who you should never rent to?

                No, not welfare.

                Doctors and lawyers. They seem to feel they don't need to pay rent. Excuses from the doctors, and claims from the lawyers that XYZ in their lease hasn't been met (it has), so they're reducing their rent requirements.

                The look on the face of some self-described hotshot lawyer when I evict them in only eleven days start to finish is almost worth the lost rent...

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

                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 May 2019 @ 1:15pm

                  I've never had a tenant file a valid complaint about myself, my buildings, or the services I provide.

                  Bully for you. But personal anecdotes are not universal experiences.

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

            • icon
              blademan9999 (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 7:31pm

              Re: Re:

              Your scenario is FAR more likely to happen in a world without Section 230.
              WIth Section 230, review sites can safely exist.
              Without Section 230, review sites would be MUCH rarer due to liabilty issues.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 8:10pm

      Re: If 230 is about "material"...?

      "any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material"

      "any action [...] to restrict access to [...] material"

      Material: The website and any of its contents, in part or in whole.

      To restrict access to: To prevent the website and its contents from being viewed, in part or in whole.

      Any action: Banning a user to prevent the website and its contents from being viewed by that user, in part or in whole.

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

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      identicon
      Cy Tayshun Knee-Did, 14 May 2019 @ 8:25pm

      Re: FRESH Zombie alert! 37 month GAP.

      Less than one comment per year average.

      These DOZENS of OLD accounts that suddenly pop up having made just ONE years before -- and rarely going for more than one comment -- are simply astro-turfing. Inescapable conclusion. No one has ever proposed any more plausible explanation, just try to downplay the visible fact.

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

      • icon
        Gary (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 8:35pm

        Re: Re: FRESH TROLL

        Hey Blue Balls -

        You claim to value free speech and that TD hates it. Please show us how you have promoted free speech by hosting a website that upholds your values.

        Please show us your "Cabbage Law" which can not be written down.

        Thanks!

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 9:15pm

        Less than one interview per year average.

        These DOZENS of OLD actors that suddenly pop up having made just ONE film years before -- and rarely going for more than one interview -- are simply Keanu Reeves wearing the faces of the men who cut him off in traffic. Inescapable conclusion. No one has ever proposed any more plausible explanation, just try to downplay the visible fact.

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

      • icon
        Gwiz (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 9:04am

        Re: Re: FRESH Zombie alert! 37 month GAP.

        ...are simply astro-turfing. Inescapable conclusion.

        Geez Blue, hasn't anyone ever told you that you shoudn't run off at the mouth with Occam's razor in your hand?

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

      • icon
        blademan9999 (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 7:33pm

        Re: Re: FRESH Zombie alert! 37 month GAP.

        This behavior isn't even unusual.
        I myself, on multiple occasions have taken mult-year long breaks from a site before coming back.

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 May 2019 @ 6:10am

        Re: Re: FRESH Zombie alert! 37 month GAP.

        "These DOZENS of OLD accounts that suddenly pop up having made just ONE years before..."

        Oh, yes, the persistent whining from Baghdad Bob about people going on hiatus from the online environment because; Real Life.

        "...are simply astro-turfing. Inescapable conclusion."

        Actually shows the exact opposite. Astroturfing is apparently normal marketing these days which means it's very inefficient to use old accounts for anything.

        It's far more suspicious when what you have is a persistent barrage of accounts with identical semantics, bad rhetoric and flawed arguments as that long-debunked troll which has had all of his previous accounts barred in succession.

        So remind me again, Bobmail, Jhon, out_of_the_blue, sock puppets 1 through 13...do you believe anyone is going to fall for your not-so-new idea of screaming "Thief" while both your own hands are stuck down the cookie jar?

        You tried that shit a few times on torrentfreak as well and guess what? No one will buy it today either.

        Just cash in your 50 cents and give it a rest, Baghdad Bob. You've earned it.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 6:50pm

    Vox Admits It Got Section 230 Wrong,

    Oooh, color me suprised

    Fixes Its Mistake

    Hell must be frozen over.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 7:10pm

    So many flagged comments...
    Kudos to Vox and Jane for fixing the article, but perhaps let this be a lesson to next time do the research first. :)

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    Cy Tayshun Knee-Did, 14 May 2019 @ 8:21pm

    If "not an accurate statement of the law" it's "the law" WRONG.

    First, Vox was / is never an authority. Liberal loonies. Could have been a deliberate hoax too, yanking away conservative surprise at small victory.

    As I've pointed out to you before, Masnick, We The People aren't forced to live with BAD laws that harm us. Basis of the country. Learn it.

    "Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right...to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers. Rulers are no more than attorneys, agents, and trustees, of the people; and if the cause, the interest, and trust, is insidiously betrayed, or wantonly trifled away, the people have a right to revoke the authority that they themselves have deputed, and to constitute other and better agents, attorneys and trustees." -- John Adams, 1765

    Focus on "the people have a right" which states an aspect of common law. Now, since We The People have right to remove Our Servants and change terms on them, then clearly we can do with that with the mere fictions called corporations. But Masnick always casts corporations as having more rights than "natural" persons.

    Section 230 ain't fixed, and all that your ongoing series on it really proves is that it's flawed, needs fixed, and NOT settled law as you claim. -- As the AC points out, Supreme Court hasn't touched the de facto Rights violating aspects, and indications are that will decide along my views, not your, when the right case comes up.

    "The Law" is for We The People, not fascist corporations authorized by mere statute to control our speech.

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    • icon
      Gary (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 8:39pm

      Re: If "not an accurate TROLL"

      Blue Balls -

      Back to that "Weepable" commentary?
      TD has (correctly) quoted caselaw (COMMON LAW) to show that the people that run corporations don't have less rights that other people.

      Your "Cabbage Law" has no basis in, you know, actual laws.

      And your "We" obviously doesn't include anyone that disagrees with you.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 8:54pm

        Re: Re: If "not an accurate TROLL"

        Your "Cabbage Law" has no basis in, you know, actual laws.

        Cabbage Law is the foundation of Cole's Law.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2019 @ 9:31pm

      Re:

      Hi, blue. Shame you weren't around last Friday, turns out another judge ruled that IP addresses were not enough proof to pursue copyright infringement claims.

      You could have joined your lover John Smith in his epic meltdown.

      How's that Paul Hansmeier defense fund coming along, by the way?

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 11:46pm

      Question!

      How would you feel about being forced to host legally protected content you absolutely do not want to host on your website (e.g., pro-CDA 230 propaganda) because the law says banning any such content — and anyone who posts it — is an illegal act?

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        Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 12:18am

        Re: Question!

        How would you feel about being forced to host legally protected content you absolutely do not want to host on your website (e.g., pro-CDA 230 propaganda) because the law says banning any such content — and anyone who posts it — is an illegal act?

        In the interest of free speech, I would host any legal content and let individuals filter it. If my platform were big enough to influence national debates, I'd consider doing so to be patriotic. I would also have SPAM rules that prevent bandwidth abuse, maybe charging money after 50 posts a month or something.

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 2:40am

          Re: Re: Question!

          How would you feel about being forced to host a nigger in the White House? Watching him invite his nigger friends to laugh, joke, drink, play nigger music, cavort with hookers and agree with his gorilla wife that its the “first time” they are “proud of America”. How would you feel about that?

          I’ll tell you how I felt. I listened to Obama when he went to Africa and talked about “our” nation, meaning he did not see himself as an American. I listened to his apology tour all over the world, and watched him go to baseball games in Cuba with Castro. I watched him appoint criminals to senior positions, criminals like Clapper and Brennan and Comey, and pardon treason traitors like Chelsea Manning. How did I feel?

          I felt patient. I am an American, and if a nigger president gets voted into the White House, I will be patient. I don’t agree with it, especially someone dark skinned that talked and acted like a low life nigger and joked about sending white people to the back of the bus. Patient, I knew he would not survive long without breaking the law, and later being held accountable. Patient, as the wheels of justice caught up to him to punish him for breaking American law and trying to subvert and destroy American standards, ideals, and history. Patient, that’s how I felt, and my patience is now being rewarded.

          So now Durham has his marching orders from General Barr (a good candidate for POTUS in the future, after Trump’s 8 years). Durham is going to follow the criminal trail right up the chain of command, and right back to that black fucking monkey that sat in the White House and did his best to destroy a country that he never loved, never understood, and never defended.

          That time is over now, and a time has begun.

          God Bless America

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            Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 3:07am

            Re: Although he might stick a banana in the tailpipe

            Hey transhamilton. Jhon boys never gonna touch your single with a potty mouth like that.

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              Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 4:12am

              Re: Re: Although he might stick a banana in the tailpipe

              Personally I think there should be a law that protects free speech. I think the whole area of “hate speech” is nothing more than suppression of free speech by tyrannical leftist loony tunes fascist Marxist socialist traitorous assholes. Like you.

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

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                Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 4:21am

                Re: Re: Re: Although he might stick a banana in the tailpipe

                Poor transhamilton. You really need to take your medication every day. Otherwise you tend to forget little things like the 1st Amendment. One does wonder what would happen if Jhon boi got his wish and unmasked everyone on this board. Would you be a random lunatic who steals wifi access from the local Starbucks when he’s not up in the loony bin? Or someone else?

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                  Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 4:27am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Although he might stick a banana in the tailpipe

                  (A) not poor.
                  (B) fish oils and centrum are the only medications i take
                  (C) I am not a random lunatic i come from a long line of lunatics
                  (D) I am afraid to go into Starbucks because of the homeless people drinking the creamer
                  (E) I am not trans
                  (F) I like you. When I said “Like you” I meant “I like you”. Are you a lady? If not, then I don’t like you. If you are, let’s hook up!

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 4:37am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Although he might stick a banana in the tail

                    Here’s what I don’t understand. Why was there so much talk about Trump grabbing lady’s pussies? I mean, I think what he said was something like “yeah, when you’re famous, and rich, like me, ladies will let you do anything, because they find you (and your money) incredibly attractive. With just a little smile, and a big Rolex, they will let you grab their tits, grab their pussies, shove your fist up their ass, pretty much anything goes. I mean, normal ladies, that like boys, and money, and Rolex watches.” Why is that controversial at all? Oh, wait, it’s not controversial, any idiot knows that. Except for the executives at NBC and the deep state, that lost touch with reality decades ago.

                    Time for prison, boys. It’s a new age. Same old boys, same old pussies, but a new age. The age of Pussy Grabbing Rolex Admiring Enlightenment.

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                    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 4:43am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Although he might stick a banana in the tail

                    Would be totes sad bro if you happened to be a semi public figure and not say a sentient pile of racist mouse turds that had somehow become self aware.

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                      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 4:46am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Although he might stick a banana in the

                      Is that English?

                      I’m an American.

                      We speak English here.

                      You came to the wrong place. Again.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 May 2019 @ 4:35am

          In the interest of free speech, I would host any legal content and let individuals filter it.

          How would you deal with a coördinated campaign of harassment carried out by a multitude of users against a single user — especially if said campaign both used legally protected speech the whole time and never abused site bandwidth?

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            Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 4:39am

            Re:

            that’s easy - hunt them down and shoot them through the eyeball.

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              Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 4:44am

              Re: Re:

              Don’t you think there is something liberating about getting down in the disgusting mud and shit filled floor of a place like Techdirt and rolling right along with the pigs in the shit? It’s awful and disgusting and wonderful and fun and humorous, I often laugh out loud when I read my posts.

              Free speech is a great thing, right? We should all admire it, and protect it, and promote it, and encourage everyone to express themselves, all the time, however they see fit. We should take political correctness and turn it on it’s head, and promote everything that everyone wants to say. We should remove all barriers, all condemnation, all consequences, and tell everyone to let everything out that comes to their mind.

              Right? Right?

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                Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 5:44am

                Re: Re: Re:

                I suspect ten minutes or so into my "free speech" commentary on some well-regarded figures, people wouldn't find it that funny. I prefer instead to communicate ideas whenever possible but some here think disagreeing with them is a factual error which justifies verbal abuse.

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

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                  Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 5:48am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Give it a go! Free speech is good!

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

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            Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 4:52am

            Re: Or was that the other guy

            Probably sure them and lose. Then run for public office and then lose so badly that he’s made into a public laughingstock for the several decades. Then find a website that doesn’t instantly ban him and then rub some shit in his hair.

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              Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 5:18am

              Re: Re: Or was that the other guy

              Are you a bot?

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

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            Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 5:43am

            Re:

            How would you deal with a coördinated campaign of harassment carried out by a multitude of users against a single user — especially if said campaign both used legally protected speech the whole time and never abused site bandwidth?

            You can delete posts without banning the poster, or create a "no holds barred" zone but also preserve evidence and make it part of TOS that you will not contest subpoenas for user identity though give notice to those who are subpoenaed.

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 May 2019 @ 6:15am

              You can delete posts without banning the poster

              What action could you take if the law says you cannot delete those posts because you are required to remain content neutral and your platform is forced by law to host any legally protected speech regardless of whether you want to host it? And what would you do if your platform became more known for the assholes exploiting your “free speech zone” for their amusement than for being a “content neutral” platform?

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                Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 6:44am

                Re:

                What action could you take if the law says you cannot delete those posts because you are required to remain content neutral and your platform is forced by law to host any legally protected speech regardless of whether you want to host it? And what would you do if your platform became more known for the assholes exploiting your “free speech zone” for their amusement than for being a “content neutral” platform?

                That scenario would be the result of elected officials making that the will of the people. I don't think we're quite there yet. The free-speech zone would have filters. I could make people post under their legal names, refuse to defend them in lawsuits to unmask them, etc. It could theoretically happen but if it did then a majority of Americans would support platforms as a common carrier. There could be "positive filtering" too that just doesn't include certain speech.

                Please keep in mind that I think internet censorship is self-correcting so I'm not against it. AOL tried it and literally destroyed their business model when they could have become the first trillion-dollar company. They had almost the entire internet audience subscribing at one point. All they had to do was allow users to send each other money (paypal took that revenue), give everyone a keyword (the web took that), and let users do business with their accounts (social media wound up taking that). This also would have resulted in users making money, paying more of it in taxes, creating jobs, etc. Instead we've burned the internet and its money to the ground, while making a few companies rich.

                For someone who says the "burner IP" scenario hasn't happened (it has), and doesn't need to be discussed, this is a rather odd hypothetical.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 8:17am

                  Re: Re:

                  And if it's not hypothetical, you could give examples. You consistently refuse to. Goodness knows why.

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                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 May 2019 @ 11:10am

                    Maybe they need time to redact all the pertinent, identifying information in an on-the-public-record lawsuit that involved “burner” IP addresses.

                    Yes, the citation of ███████ v. ████████████ from ██████ ██, 20██ in the ████ Court of Appeals is going to be perfect proof~.

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                    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 11:18am

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    Because anyone I named would become an ad-hominem target.

                    I don't have to cite a specific drunk-driving accident to warn that driving while drunk is dangerous.

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                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 May 2019 @ 11:49am

                      You need not cite a specific instance of that because people have heard and seen enough stories about drunk driving to know drunk driving is not just a thing, but a dangerous thing.

                      On the other hand, your hypothetical about “burner IPs” is so outlandish that any evidence you can offer to prove its factual basis would be necessary. Saying the "burner IP" scenario has happened but offering no proof of it ever having happened makes you misinformed at best, an outright liar at worst.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 5:43pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Oh, please.

                      Talking about murder victims does not automatically mean they're going to be mocked.

                      Not every website you don't like is 4chan. Not everyone thinks making fun of women is humorous.

                      If these examples are the ammo you intend to use against Section 230 people will hear about these cases, unless you expect this to be the upper limit of explaining yourself to the courts.

                      This coy tsundere flirtation act is getting fucking old, Jhon.

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

                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 May 2019 @ 11:05am

                  Would you want your platform associated with hardcore furry porn? Technically, it counts as legal speech. So does other kinds of fetish porn, Nazi propaganda, anti-American rhetoric, and (at least from a certain, narrowly technical point of view) doxxing someone. The content that overruns your platform becomes your platform. If your platform were to become known for content you never wanted your platform to host, you have all but admitted you would refuse to fight for your platform because you would prefer to follow a bad law that forces you into hosting content you would otherwise delete rather than be a good administrator who gives a damn about whether their platform is a cesspool.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 11:17am

                    Re:

                    "Would you want your platform associated with hardcore furry porn? Technically, it counts as legal speech. So does other kinds of fetish porn, Nazi propaganda, anti-American rhetoric, and (at least from a certain, narrowly technical point of view) doxxing someone. The content that overruns your platform becomes your platform. If your platform were to become known for content you never wanted your platform to host, you have all but admitted you would refuse to fight for your platform because you would prefer to follow a bad law that forces you into hosting content you would otherwise delete rather than be a good administrator who gives a damn about whether their platform is a cesspool."

                    Filters can ensure that those who don't wish to see that type of content, won't.

                    I also never said I was against censorship. Internet censorship tends to be self-correcting. However, if the law of the land were changed, I'd adapt.

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

                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 May 2019 @ 11:43am

                      If you think filters work 100% of the time, you are mistaken — to say the least. And no one works harder to get around filters than an asshole with a grudge.

                      The key point in this hypothetical is the one you keep ignoring: The distasteful/hateful content you would theoretically be forced by law into hosting is content you never wanted on your platform at all. Under a hypothetical where platforms were forced by law to host any and all legally protected content, if you ran a Black Lives Matter blog with an open comments section, you would be forced by law to host White supremacist propaganda in the comments because you could neither delete the comments nor ban the commenters. If you ran a pro-LGBT forum, you would be forced by law to host pro-“conversion ‘therapy’ ” propaganda even though it runs counter to everything you would likely want your forum to be. I could come up with other examples, but those two should keep your brain busy for now.

                      A good administrator should foster a healthy community through intentional moderation, not say “nothing I can do, freeze peach” when someone asks why all the Nazis are posting swastikas all over the place. That you see the second option as the preferable one is…telling of your experience within Internet communities.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 6:07am

    The quality of trolling seems to have taken a nose dive recently, I wonder if funding levels have dropped. Maybe some rich donors have realized their errors.

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    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 15 May 2019 @ 8:02am

      Re:

      He doesn't need quality. He just posts some inflammatory nonsense and...

      ...800 people INSIST on not simply flagging and moving on, but reply multiple times to his inanity, hijacking the entire comments section.

      Look at the Comments over the last few days. Maybe, MAYBE ten or twenty about the article. The other hundred are long chains of troll bait responses.

      If only flagging collapsed all the replies along with the original troll...

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      • identicon
        Glen, 15 May 2019 @ 8:46am

        Re: Re:

        If only flagging collapsed all the replies along with the original troll...

        This X1000!!

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        • icon
          Bamboo Harvester (profile), 15 May 2019 @ 9:05am

          Re: Re: Re:

          We should take a poll of users....

          Of course, we'd have to filter out the sixteen troll baits and the 89,000 replies to the troll to get an accurate count...

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          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 May 2019 @ 6:22am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Of course, we'd have to filter out the sixteen troll baits and the 89,000 replies to the troll to get an accurate count..."

            What, you mean we can't take Baghdad bob's statement of "12 laid-off indian cubicle slaves" as the last word on that?

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 May 2019 @ 6:20am

      Re:

      "The quality of trolling seems to have taken a nose dive recently, I wonder if funding levels have dropped. Maybe some rich donors have realized their errors."

      We got used to seeing that happen on torrentfreak whenever Bobmail got a few too many boots in the extra flimsy arguments he was wearing that day. Suddenly there'd be a flood of misogynist/racist/pedos all flooding the comment threads.

      We never did agree on whether he just snapped and tried to bury the entire thread in walls of ethnic slurs and potty mouth or whether it was a curiously well-timed random troll passing by.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 6:29am

    When most newspapers have a website and most people read news online ,
    its amazing that the press do not understand how important section 230 is
    for preserving free speech and the right of the public to comment online.
    If every website could be sued fro someone to making a comment that might be wrong or critical of another person it would mean most websites would have to close down public comments .
    I often read articles and the comments on the article provide extra info
    on the subject .

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

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 6:40am

      Re:

      When most newspapers have a website and most people read news online ,
      its amazing that the press do not understand how important section 230 is
      for preserving free speech and the right of the public to comment online.
      If every website could be sued fro someone to making a comment that might be wrong or critical of another person it would mean most websites would have to close down public comments . I often read articles and the comments on the article provide extra info on the subject .

      No one should have to answer to lies that appear every time someone Googles their name. Section 230 needs to account for these situations and give people redress, otherwise anyone with a grudge can literally ruin another person's reputation. The willful blindness to this among the pro-230 crowd is disturbing.

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 7:00am

        Re: Re:

        Exactly!

        Ms Cockcroft suddenly became very angry and threatened to ruin my business before it started. She said that she was in with a very influential group of people on a technical blog who would write about me and many other people would comment. She said this would mean that my reputation would be ruined and it would remain at the tip of Google. Wendy Cockcroft refused to refund my money, refused to re-do the work and threatened to destroy my business and personal reputation before it even started. I am so worried that she will carry out her threats. I have worked to develop my product and the thought that someone with such power on the internet and who has a vendetta against me could destroy all my hard work and there is nothing that I can do is causing me a lot of distress. I looked around the web and Wendy Cockcroft certainly seems to know how to spread information. I have lot a lot of money and I may lose my fledgling business. Thank goodness that I found Ripoff Report. I only hope that if and when I can finally launch my business potential customers read my Ripoff report.

        Wendy Cockcroft not only ripped off my money she is threatening to destroy my business and it looks like she knows how to do this. I don’t know what to do now.

        https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/wendy-cockcroft-web-design-wendy-cockcroft-interservecom/i nternet/wendy-cockcroft-web-design-wendy-cockcroft-interservecom-wendy-cockcroft-manchester-u-128016 0

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        • icon
          Toom1275 (profile), 15 May 2019 @ 8:05am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Finally we have a user who is (presumably) not Jhon Smith writing defamation in Techdirt's comment section.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2019 @ 8:19am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Not really. It's just Hamilton who learned how to use Google and change his IP address.

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

            • icon
              Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 6:43am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              And defames me as though his life depended on it.

              That's the troll post I proved was a troll post which is why I'm still employed by the people who called me into the office to discuss the above.

              Actual harm? Not really, since no one believes it. Besides, extortion is a criminal offense. Were any of that troll post true, I'd be in jail and would totally deserve to be.

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              • icon
                Toom1275 (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 7:50am

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

                He doesn't seem to be able to come uo with any original troll ideas either. As you mentioned, this current comment is a copypasta of earlier defamation of you.

                And the "Mike Masnick/Techdirt is in a criminal defamatory conspiracy with lawyers and review sites" isn't an original creation either - that defamation was first concocted by the deranged Roca Labs guy.

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      • icon
        Gwiz (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 8:40am

        Re: Re:

        No one should have to answer to lies that appear every time someone Googles their name.

        Right, because throughout it's history the internet has been renowned for it's absolute truthfulness in all things......

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 8:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Also, what about non-unique names? There's a lot of people out there with my real name, and it could be as damaging to me if a namesake did something horrible but readers don't pay enough attention to realise it's not me.

          The above situation is more likely than the oft-presented "job seeker fails to get job because of a random accusation from and ex-boyfriend a decade ago" that this guy's in love with, yet I wouldn't here demanding recourse if it did happen.

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  • identicon
    DocGerbil100, 15 May 2019 @ 4:35pm

    It's a fair cop...

    Hello, Mr Masnick. :)

    I was entirely prepared to take you at your word, when you said that many of those writers probably weren't quite the corrupt corporate shills I assumed them to be, but this follow-up certainly proves the point.

    I believe I owe yourself and Ms Coaston an honest apology. While questions regarding fact-checking still seem fair, I consider her revised article to be more than strong-enough evidence that her intentions were and are honourable.

    For once, it seems my own cynicism has somehow exceeded that shown by the media, which surprises me no end. You were quite right and I was quite wrong - at least in this case and probably some of the others. I should have been more measured in my appraisal.

    I tip my hat to yourself and Ms Coaston.
    Sorry for going too far, last time.

    Have a good day, Mr Masnick. :)

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


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