Court Says Section 230 Shields Twitter From Revenge Porn Bro's Stupid Lawsuit

from the guess-it's-back-to-running-laughable-political-campaigns dept

Former revenge porn extortionist and current pro se litigant, Craig Brittain, is one severely-narrowed complaint away from having his lawsuit against Twitter tossed. Brittain sued Twitter over the deletion of several accounts, including those he had whipped up for his Senate run.

The court's first pass at the lawsuit moved it to California, a venue shift Brittain explicitly agreed to each time he created another alt account. Terms of service say suing Twitter means suing in California, even if you're an Arizonan Senate hopeful with a closet that contains nothing but skeletons.

Contrary to Brittain's fervent and litigious belief, there's nothing illegal about deleting Craig Brittain's multiple Twitter accounts. Brittain's lawsuit tried to make it possible by treating Twitter as both a provider and a publisher, depending of which description worked out better for his arguments. The court decides to let Brittain have it both ways -- and lose both ways. (h/t Adam Steinbaugh)

As a service provider, Twitter cannot be held liable for third party content. It can also remove accounts without losing this immunity. Since this isn't about the removal of content, but rather the removal of accounts, Brittain tried to argue Section 230 immunity can't protect Twitter from this lawsuit because removing accounts (and their content) is an editorial activity. The court points out this has zero effect on Section 230 protections. From the decision [PDF]:

Under the CDA, a publisher’s activity generally “involves reviewing, editing, and deciding whether to publish or to withdraw from publication third-party content.” Id. at 1102. “[R]emoving content is something publishers do, and to impose liability on the basis of such conduct necessarily involves treating the liable party as a publisher of the content it failed to remove.” Id. at 1103. In other words, “any activity that can be boiled down to deciding whether to exclude material that third parties seek to post online is perforce immune under [CDA] section 230.” Fair Hous. Council of San Fernando Valley v. Roommates.com, LLC, 521 F.3d 1157, 1170–71 (9th Cir. 2008) (en banc).

Publisher or provider, it doesn't matter. Suing a social media site for deleting accounts is a non-starter.

The Brittain Accounts qualify as “information provided by another information content provider.” Brittain expressly acknowledges that he, not Twitter, created and operated the accounts See Barnes, 570 F.3d at 1102 & n.6 (“The statute also tells us that this term ‘means any person or entity that is responsible, in whole or in part, for the creation or development of information provided through the Internet or any other interactive computer service.’”) (quoting 47 U.S.C. § 230(f)(3)). Accordingly, the Court finds that all but Brittain’s antitrust claim are barred by Section 230(c)(1) of the CDA. Because plaintiff cannot cure this defect, the Court DISMISSES these claims with prejudice.

All Brittain can do now is file a complaint limited to the anti-trust violations he alleges. But the court's brief analysis of the single surviving claim suggests this will be a waste of everyone's time. The court says it's unlikely Brittain can even prove standing, since his claim is pretty much limited to him losing followers when his accounts were suspended or deleted. Brittain's lawsuit doesn't actually allege Twitter did anything illegal in terms of competitive practices.

Although Brittain’s complaint does not suggest that plaintiffs could allege an antitrust cause of action, out of an abundance of caution, the Court affords Brittain leave to amend with respect to this claim and DISMISSES Brittain’s antitrust claim without prejudice.

[...]

While the Court can understand the frustration which may occur if a person’s Twitter account is suspended, unless a legal cause of action can be articulated, a lawsuit cannot be sustained. Nor is the person entitled to discovery on the general issues upon which the complaint is based, unless a legal claim can be stated. Here, the complaint is fundamentally flawed.

The court also points out Brittain can't sue on behalf of his Brittain For Senate campaign committee. This committee of one must seek its own legal representation, which cannot be a pro se litigant named Craig Brittain. This seems unlikely to happen, so this additional will be removed from a lawsuit the only plaintiff remaining (Craig Brittain) is destined to lose.

Yeah, it sucks when a platform decides it no longer wants your free business. But it's not illegal, no matter how many of your hastily-erected Senate campaign committee Twitter accounts are removed by a private company.

Filed Under: antitrust, brittain for senate, cda 230, content moderation, craig brittain, section 230
Companies: twitter


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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 12:16pm

    Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

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    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 12:22pm

    Yet Section 230 is what shielded many revenge-porn sites from liability (the sites that weren't involved in the uploading), and of course Google and other search engines are immune for linking to them every time some woman's employer, boyfriend, or landlord (someone with access to her apartment, as well as any contractors for said landlord) looks up her name.

    Don't worry if you have a single young-adult daughter who lives in a large apartment building. No contractor or landlord would EVER go internet-diving for info on her.

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    • identicon
      Rocky, 13 Jun 2019 @ 12:24pm

      Re:

      [Citation needed]

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 12:46pm

      Re: Jhon boi still the king of projection

      “Don't worry if you have a single young-adult daughter who lives in a large apartment building. No contractor or landlord would EVER go internet-diving for info on her.“

      Like you did for Mike and Kens kids?

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 1:23pm

        Yeah, that is a bit too specific not to be projection.

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:02pm

          Re:

          Yeah, that is a bit too specific not to be projection.

          Except I'm not a landlord or contractor. Section 230 is a nice weapon for those who are malicious. Imagine if we'd had it in 1986:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marla_Hanson

          Marla Hanson (born c. 1961) is an American screenwriter and ex-model.
          Born in Independence, Missouri, Hanson graduated from Odessa, MO High School and attended college at Southwestern Assemblies of God College (SAGU) in Waxahachie, Texas a suburb of Dallas, Texas. After working selling real estate and insurance, a job promotion brought her to New York City. There, a part-time modeling job eventually became a full-time career in the 1980s.
          In June 1986, she rejected the sexual advances of her landlord, Steve Roth. Roth hired two friends, Steven Bowman and Darren Norman, to attack Hanson. Hanson testified that Roth asked her to step outside a bar, and then stood by while the two men, after announcing a "stick-up," slashed her face with a razor blade. The assault left three wounds that required surgery and over 100 stitches to close,[1] resulting in permanent scars.

          Roth and the two attackers were tried separately, with Judge Jeffrey Atlas presiding over both trials. In Roth's trial, a lawyer for Roth suggested that his breaking off of a long-term gay relationship with Bowman that day led Bowman to attack Hanson out of jealousy.[2] In Roth's trial, he was found guilty of first degree assault for arranging the attack.

          In the trial of Bowman and Norman a few months later, Hanson was subjected to a controversial cross examination by Bowman's defense attorney Alton H. Maddox, who impugned her character in a line of questioning the prosecutor called "disgusting and filthy". Maddox also asserted that Hanson had "racial hangups" that led her to falsely identify Bowman and Norman, who are black, as her attackers.[3] Hanson and her attorney later publicly criticized the criminal justice system for allowing her to be humiliated on the witness stand. Bowman and Norman were found guilty.

          At sentencing, Atlas gave Roth the 5 to 15 year maximum sentence, but not before telling a weeping Hanson and her attorney he was "incensed" at their public criticism of the criminal justice system. After a brief recess, Atlas apologized to Hanson and her lawyer.[4] Mayor Ed Koch expressed outrage at Atlas's comments.[5] Bowman and Norman were sentenced to the 5 to 15 year maximum sentence as well.[6]

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:09pm

            Re: Re:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marla_Hanson

            What about that case has anything to do with Section 230 or a search engine?

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:28pm

            Except I'm not a landlord or contractor.

            …I’m not seeing a denial about the “thinking about doing things to women who live alone” bit.

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          • identicon
            Agammamon, 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:41pm

            Re: Re:

            OK? WTF does that have to do with anything?

            Crazies are everywhere - and, frankly, don't need to see naked pictures of you to go crazy.

            In fact, I would suggest that since the drop in sexual assault rates has declined in step with the prevalence of internet pornography a single female living alone is safer from a crazy landlord if he's found some of her old nudes to fap over.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:51pm

            Re: Re:

            Spam posting the same article that doesn't prove your point is not going to magically somehow prove you right.

            Here's a copy and paste of my reply from the last time you posted this:

            And you then immediately cite a case that happened long before Section 230 and search engines were even a thing.

            No one is ignoring the issue of privacy invasion, we're just calling out your insane assertion that somehow it wouldn't occur if Section 230 and search engines would just be outlawed.

            The fact that you you disproved your own point by citing a case that happened before either even existed and that the crime was committed by personal acquaintances who didn't need to search out her private information because he was her landlord and already knew her private residence information, is just icing on the cake.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 5:57pm

            Re: Re:

            Except I'm not a landlord or contractor.

            Ah, so the problem isn't that stalking is a bad thing, but it only applies if you're a landlord or contractor! If you're a content creator who enjoys money, women and influence in Hollywood threatening to find the names of someone's "POS wife" is suddenly okay!

            Gads, but you're a fucked up piece of shit.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 6:30pm

            Re: Re:

            Well, to give some microscopic modicum of credit, you've at least not used the laughable scenario of a spurned waiter calling a retired prostitute a hooker.

            And then you had to fuck it all up by pulling out this turd of a "case study". A plaintiff, her lawyer, the defense attorney, and judge all decide to be a little pissy - big whoop? If a landlord's tenant ends up being famous and recognized no amount of wrecking Section 230 is going to stop her landlord from knowing about it, and neither is it going to mean that he automatically stops being a douche.

            I will note with amusement, however, that Prenda Law enforcer and defender once tried to argue that judges and opponents alike were dismissing his arguments because they were all racists and didn't think a black guy could put up a convincing case... and that play turned out to help his case by absolutely jack shit. So... good on you, horse with no name!

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 10:38pm

              Re: Re: Re:

              It's bizarre to dive into the mind of Herrick and figure out where the line would have been drawn in that case. The destruction of Section 230, he thinks, would stop any of the following:

              • Hanson's landlord from discovering that she was famous
              • Hanson's landlord from being an incel douchebag and acting on those desires
              • Hanson's assailants from having a defense attorney
              • The assailants' defense attorney playing the dumbass "racism" card
              • Hanson and her lawyer having a mental breakdown in their response
              • Hanson and her lawyer choosing to criticize the judge and judicial system for allowing a douchebag to be a defense attorney
              • The judge in the case responding to the arguably unwarranted criticism in an equally dumb way

              Herrick consistently believes that killing off 230 would somehow stop people from being dumb, or protect them from the consequences. He doesn't have an explanation for how that might happen, just that it apparently will, not that he'd ever explain that either.

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              • icon
                That One Guy (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 1:38am

                Pavlov would be jealous

                Herrick consistently believes that killing off 230 would somehow stop people from being dumb, or protect them from the consequences. He doesn't have an explanation for how that might happen, just that it apparently will, not that he'd ever explain that either.

                At this point I strongly suspect that you are spending far more thought on the issue than they ever have or will. Past and current experience has demonstrated that when they trot out yet another lie, mischaracterization or other dishonest statement(whether on 230 or anything else) there will be plenty of people eagerly filling up the comment section to explain yet again why they are wrong and/or try to get them to actually back up their position/statement.

                If they were interested in an honest discussion this would be a problem for them, as they would be constantly having to defend their position and provide evidence to support it, but as they are a troll just interested in riling people up and as such have neither the interest nor intent in providing any evidence(as again, past experience has made very clear) this works out perfectly for them, allowing them to spend minimal effort making the same old arguments/statements with no need to come up with anything new, while people waste lots of time explaining for the millionth time how they are wrong.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 1:23pm

      Section 230 is what shielded many revenge-porn sites from liability (the sites that weren't involved in the uploading)

      Why, it’s almost as if the sites shouldn’t be held liable for the actions of a third party~. Imagine that~.

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      • icon
        Gary (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 1:41pm

        Re:

        Why, it’s almost as if the sites shouldn’t be held liable for the actions of a third party~. Imagine that~.

        Good thing 230 has been ruled valid again and again since it's inception. Best law ever.

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:15pm

        Re:

        Section 230 is what shielded many revenge-porn sites from liability (the sites that weren't involved in the uploading)
        Why, it’s almost as if the sites shouldn’t be held liable for the actions of a third party~. Imagine that~.

        The search engines' actions (spreading defamation and making it searchable) are separate from those of the original publisher. Every country other than the US recognizes this.

        If you think they should be immune for this separate harm that's one thing, but it's definitely a separate harm.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:30pm

          Every country other than the US recognizes this.

          If every country other than the United States bombed one of its own major cities for the lulz, would you think they were right, too?

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        • identicon
          Agammamon, 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:41pm

          Re: Re:

          Nude pics aren't defamation.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 3:04pm

          Re: Re:

          The search engines' actions (spreading defamation and making it searchable)

          Search engines do neither of these things. They don't spread anything, and they don't make anything searchable. Individual websites make themselves searchable by A) being on the internet and B) using robots.txt and other headers to make themselves more visible to search engines.

          If you're going to go with that logic than why aren't you railing against the phone book that gets delivered to everybody's house a couple times a year? That's pretty much government sponsored invasion of privacy. Or what about libraries and the Dewey Decimal system? There's really no difference between them and a search engine.

          are separate from those of the original publisher

          As they should be because the search engine didn't do anything wrong.

          Every country other than the US recognizes this.

          Every other country? Remember if I can name one than you are wrong.

          If you think they should be immune for this separate harm that's one thing

          I do.

          but it's definitely a separate harm.

          No, it's not even a harm to begin with. As stated earlier, by that logic, phone books and libraries are harmful.

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    • icon
      Gary (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 1:33pm

      Re:

      Section 230 is what shielded my revenge-porn sites

      Just how many revenge-port sites did (or do) you run, John Smith?!

      All that and you had the time to swindle people with phoney self-help courses? You are a hard workin playah.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 1:57pm

        Re: Re:

        Dude, how could you have forgotten about his ultra valuable email lists that he put together?!?!

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

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:01pm

        Re: Re:

        Which self-help courses were those?

        You seem to know so much about me.

        I bet if that POS Masnick married told him to not allow that type of comment, he'd stop in a second. Whipped men are like that.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:31pm

          Ah, so now you’ve graduated to thinking about doing things to married women.

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

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:37pm

            Re:

            Ah, so now you’ve graduated to thinking about doing things to married women.

            Learn to read.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:41pm

              I know how to read. Given your comments about things being done to single women living alone, and your recent (disturbing) obsession with the female members of Mike Masnick’s family, it isn’t a stretch to say you’re thinking about doing something to his wife.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 6:03pm

                Re:

                We already know he at least wants to find her name and post it publicly, as well as refer to her as a piece of shit that married down to the wrong man. Or married up. Honestly John's metrics for who is worse are pretty damn inconsistent.

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            • icon
              Gary (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 7:08pm

              Re: Re: John Smith who fornicates with goats

              I bet if that POS

              So Smith admits he has sex with goats, can't keep his scam-help business afloat, and comes here to make ad hom attacks on Mike.
              Because - Free speech lets everyone spread the word about his failed business ventures. And user generated reviews resulted in a flood of bad reviews on his books.

              Anything else you want to add to that Smith or does that about sum things up?

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 12:34am

                Re: Re: Re: John Smith who fornicates with goats

                does that about sum things up?

                As I mentioned above, you can't forget about his ultra valuable-which-lost-their-value-for-reasons email scams.... er... lists. I guess they were stolen by Africans selling them on discs.

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        • identicon
          Rocky, 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:39pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You talking from experience? Seems so anyway, since all you can do is to impotently rage on the internet.

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        • identicon
          Agammamon, 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:45pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I bet if that POS Masnick married told him to not allow that type of comment, he'd stop in a second. Whipped men are like that.

          OK, sure. But what does that have to do with what's going on here?

          Without that connection this just seems to be an ad hominem attack. I mean, maybe you're right and Masnick is a huge pussy. Completely dominated by his spouse. But that's not relevant here.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:58pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Slinging insults at a man's wife you've never met is a REALLY bad look for anyone, especially you. I didn't think you get any more disgusting, but given it's you, I guess I should have expected it.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 4:10pm

          Re: Nit that anyone’s cares about you lyin jhon

          So are you an incel or just impotent?

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    • identicon
      Agammamon, 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:37pm

      Re:

      Are you suggesting that landlords or CONTRACTORS (you know, the guys who fix your shit for you) give a shit that someone has naked pictures of themselves on the internet?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 3:13pm

      Re:

      Yet Section 230 is what shielded many revenge-porn sites from liability

      Which sites were those again? Because I'm pretty sure all the ones in the news got taken down.

      the sites that weren't involved in the uploading

      Um, if they weren't involved in the uploading how are they a revenge-porn site? Hell, how are they even related to revenge-porn?

      and of course Google and other search engines are immune for linking to them every time some woman's employer, boyfriend, or landlord (someone with access to her apartment, as well as any contractors for said landlord) looks up her name

      Except Google doesn't host any of that information. You can't tell Google to delete your data online. And it wouldn't affect them going to any sites like spokeo.com or other sites that ACTUALLY DO host all your private information and allow anyone to look at it for $25. Or hell, they could go to the public library and ask for all the information they have on her. I assume then you want public libraries to be illegal too right?

      Don't worry if you have a single young-adult daughter who lives in a large apartment building. No contractor or landlord would EVER go internet-diving for info on her.

      The amount of times this happens is FAR less than the times it doesn't. Otherwise apartment rentals would drop like a rock and the whole business would implode. Besides, nothing is stopping you from running a background check on your daughter's landlord too.

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 1:01am

        Re: Re:

        Don't worry if you have a single young-adult daughter who lives in a large apartment building. No contractor or landlord would EVER go internet-diving for info on her.

        The amount of times this happens is FAR less than the times it doesn't. Otherwise apartment rentals would drop like a rock and the whole business would implode. Besides, nothing is stopping you from running a background check on your daughter's landlord too.

        You really don't know many landlords or contractors, obviously.

        No one's going to speak out while they're living there and after they move it's not their concern. The problem is quite rampant, and yes, one day, rentals may drop as a result as people wise up the way they are now doing so with those ride-sharing services that are ticking time bombs.

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 1:03am

          Re: Re: Re:

          There is NO privacy in a big apartment building anymore. Not when every neighbor, every contractor, and the landlord can all pry into everyone's life. A young, attractive female living alone is literally a sitting duck for this type of stalking, and it definitely happens a lot more than people think.

          I guess as long as people FEEL safe it doesn't matter if they ARE safe.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 2:06am

            Re: Is it more than a dozen?

            How many females have you spied on in an attempt to get it up Jhon boi?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 2:33am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Ah, and so we move onto the true problem. Rent-shares, ride-shares and other disruptive methods of commerce - the devil's work, no doubt!

            Seriously, is everyone a constant perpetrator or victim of sex harassment and rape in the world you live in? No in-between? It's always going to be single attractive women and spurned potential harassers? No family units? No crazy old cat ladies? No people who don't sexually harass others?

            Never mind the idea that a lack of Section 230 would literally do nothing to solve the problems you propose if things are already that shitty in Nightmare Herrickland...

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 7:15am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            There is NO privacy in a big apartment building anymore

            Why? Are there multiple hidden cameras in every room in every apartment? Do the walls have microphones and speakers built-in so you can listen to your neighbors doing whatever it is they do? I'm genuinely curious, why is there no privacy in apartment buildings anymore. Please explain this to me.

            Not when every neighbor, every contractor, and the landlord can all pry into everyone's life.

            You mean on the internet? You don't need to be in an apartment building to do that. Or are you talking about hidden cameras, mics, and stuff? Be specific please.

            A young, attractive female living alone is literally a sitting duck for this type of stalking

            So is a young, attractive male; or a young unattractive female; or a married female; or a group of females living together; or a group of males living together; hell anyone is a sitting duck for this type of stalking. What is your point?

            it definitely happens a lot more than people think

            Maybe, but I'd be willing to be cash it doesn't happen as much as YOU think.

            I guess as long as people FEEL safe it doesn't matter if they ARE safe.

            Oh it does. You just have no idea how often it does or does not happen and are making outrageous claims to try and prove your point.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 9:41am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "I guess as long as people FEEL safe it doesn't matter if they ARE safe."

              On the other hand, John Smith just effectively described copyright law and DRM technology.

              Neither of the above stop his mailing lists from being stolen - again, goodness knows why - but if he feels safe what does it matter?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 5:48pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              it happened a lot before there was even an internet.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 7:09am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You really don't know many landlords or contractors, obviously.

          Around a half dozen actually. Two of which I rented from for several years. None of them come even remotely close to being the scumbags you describe. But honestly that is neither here nor there because I can turn the question right back on you, are you acquainted with all of the landlords in the US and/or world and as such have intimate knowledge of whether they invade their tenants' privacy or not? If you do, why haven't you reported them to the police yet? If you don't, then shut up because you don't know what you are talking about.

          No one's going to speak out while they're living there

          Um, yes, they do. All the time. Sure not everyone will, but many do and everyone should if their privacy has been invaded since, you know, it's a crime.

          after they move it's not their concern

          Um, yes, it is, and many do speak out after they move. Some because now they feel safe from retaliation since they aren't their landlord anymore. You honestly might want to TRY living in the real world sometime.

          The problem is quite rampant

          Facts and statistics with links to reliable, primary sources or it didn't happen.

          yes, one day, rentals may drop as a result

          Unlikely since you are delusional.

          as people wise up the way they are now doing so with those ride-sharing services that are ticking time bombs

          Again, facts and statistics. Yes there have been a few horrible instances of bad people abusing the system. There are FAR MORE instances of people benefiting from it (both drivers and users of the service) as evidenced by the fact that it continues to be popular. Also please note that ride-sharing has been a thing for decades, it just wasn't commercialized like this until recently.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 5:37pm

      Re:

      I just think it's funny as hell that we now literally have a case and precedent which says that "if you support taking down Section 230, you support lawsuits brought by revenge porn bros".

      Congratulations, John. A winner is you!

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

  • identicon
    Agammamon, 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:35pm

    . . . including those he had whipped up for his Senate run.

    Hmm, that's going to be an interesting set of lawsuits and Congressional granstanding in the near future.

    Social media company's getting hammered because they won't allow candidates or potential candidates to use their service because the SM company doesn't like them. And then getting hammered for letting other candidates or potential candidates use their service, by people who think those guys are 'too extreme'.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:42pm

      A third party platform has no obligation to allow anyone to use the service. That list of people includes politicians.

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

      • identicon
        Agammamon, 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:47pm

        Re:

        Except the government is asserting a duty to prevent certain people from using its services - people who are otherwise conducting legal business.

        And the courts have ruled that a politician using social media as an 'official' communication channel can't prevent people from accessing that channel. It would seem to reason that a social media company couldn't do that either.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 3:01pm

          A social media company has no legal obligation to host anyone’s speech. If a politician violates the TOS, the company has every right to boot said politician.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 6:11am

          Re: Re:

          And the courts have ruled that a politician using social media as an 'official' communication channel can't prevent people from accessing that channel.

          There is a difference between a politician banning people that they are supposed to represent from communicating with them, and a platform banning someone for violation of their TOS. They are completely different issues, because of different relationships between the parties.

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

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 8:21am

          Re: Re:

          And the courts have ruled that a politician using social media as an 'official' communication channel can't prevent people from accessing that channel. It would seem to reason that a social media company couldn't do that either.

          No it wouldn't.

          First of all, your wording is imprecise. When you say "the courts have ruled that a politician using social media as an 'official' communication channel can't prevent people from accessing that channel" that's not quite right. They've ruled that officeholders using social media for official communications in the capacity of their office (generally) can't prevent people from accessing that channel. Not all politicians are current officeholders. Whatever teenagers are running Mike Gravel's Twitter account are free to block whoever they want, because while he is running for president, he is not a current officeholder and his campaign is not official government business.

          Second, I see a lot of people making the spurious connection that "a judge ruled Trump can't block people on Twitter; therefore Twitter can't block Trump." No, that's not true at all. Trump is the government. Twitter is not. You gonna make me link the xkcd strip?

          Twitter is not obligated to provide a platform to Trump or Brittain or anybody else, whether or not they currently hold office. Trump, as an elected official using his Twitter account for official government business, is prohibited from blocking people from accessing his Twitter account. That is a restriction on Trump. It is not a restriction on Twitter. Twitter can block whoever the fuck it wants, because it is not the government.

          None of this means that you're wrong about possible lawsuits by people running for office and claiming that it's illegal for Twitter to shut down their accounts. That could totally happen. People can file lawsuits for whatever damn-fool reason they feel like. But that doesn't mean they have a case.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:44pm

      Re:

      Are you suggesting a return of the fairness doctrine?

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

      • identicon
        Agammamon, 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:52pm

        Re: Re:

        I'm not suggesting anything.

        I'm saying that with the government demanding that certain viewpoints be excluded by social media companies on their platforms, in the current climate there could certainly be pushes to exclude people who espouse those viewpoints as political candidates.

        Which is opening a whole 'nother can-'o-worms.

        I can see this being an issue in the not-too-distant future (la-lala) and it will be interesting to see the court tying itself in knots trying to meet the needs of those who believe in property rights, and those that believe that some speech is too far beyond the pale and government must suppress it.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 3:07pm

          the government demanding that certain viewpoints be excluded by social media companies on their platforms

          Please show us where the United States government has demanded certain viewpoints be excluded from social media, and which viewpoints should be excluded by that demand. Because last time I checked (which was a couple of hours ago), anti-queer rhetoric is still alive and well on Twitter.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 3:14pm

            Re:

            Well, not for the current moron-in-chief's lack of trying to exclude certain viewpoints from social media anyway.

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

          • identicon
            Agammamon, 13 Jun 2019 @ 7:49pm

            Re:

            You've seen the demand for extreme right-wing views to be removed. You've seen the congressional hearings. You've seen the demands for content moderation.

            And there's more out there than just anti-LGBT rhetoric. Islamic extremism, for example.

            Its fine to say 'private platform, they can do what they want' - I agree. The government doesn't. And courts don't. Hence things like the cake shop under fire for not baking cakes with messages they don't agree with.

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

            • identicon
              Agammamon, 13 Jun 2019 @ 7:52pm

              Re: Re:

              . . . which viewpoints should be excluded by that demand.

              Christ you're touchy. I'm not saying any view should or should not be excluded here. I'm saying that I'm seeing demands for social media companies to moderate content posted on their networks and that at some point in the near future there will be a demand to extend that to political candidates/office holders.

              And if you think there's no push to force content moderation . . . well, have you read any of the multiple articles ON THIS VERY SITE where the authors discuss attempts by the government to force this very thing and why its a bad idea and effectively impossible to do?

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 9:17pm

              Normally, I’d go through all your other arguments, but someone else can do that if they want. I have something more focused in mind. You see…

              the cake shop under fire for not baking cakes with messages they don't agree with

              …I enjoy encountering this argument. Why? Because I get to destroy it.

              Your reference here is to Colorado’s Masterpiece Cakeshop. In that case, baker Jack Phillips refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. Phillips cut off the conversation before it could get to the decorating of the cake. Nobody discussed messaging or decorations of the hypothetical cake because Phillips refused to make that couple a cake in the first place. He continually lost in the courts until the Supreme Court handed him a win that was more about procedure than the merits of the case itself.

              Now, what’s the difference between that and “not baking cakes with messages they don't agree with”? I’m glad you let me ask! I’ll get around to it, but let’s look at a couple of other, similar cases first.

              Azucar Bakery — also in Colorado — was sued by a conservative Christian who wanted to prove a double standard in anti-discrimination law. To do so, he asked the bakery to make him two cakes. Both would have been in the shape of the Bible and decorated with phrases such as “God hates gays” and an image of two men holding hands with an “X” on top. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled against the customer, and for good reason: If the government had demanded that Azucar Bakery make that cake, it would have been an example of forced speech.

              “But Stephen,” you may whine, “what about conservatives? Don’t they have the same rights?” Yes, they do, and I’m glad you (hypothetically) gave me that opening! A few years ago, a representative of Lexington, Kentucky’s Gay and Lesbian Services Organization asked Hands On Originals, a print shop in Lexington, to make a rainbow-design T-shirt with the words “Lexington Pride” printed on it. The print shop refused the order. The GLSO filed a complaint for sexual orientation discrimination. Hands On Originals won the case because the court ruled that it refused to sell a particular design, not the same items that it sells to non-LGBT customers.

              “So what makes those cases different from the Masterpiece Bakery situation?” Another good question, sir! See, the Azucar and Hands On cases involve free speech. Should the government force businesses to assist with expressing speech those businesses find morally repugnant? (The answer is “no”.) Azucar didn’t want to bake a cake with anti-gay messaging on it.¹ Hands On didn’t want to print T-shirts with pro-LGBT messaging on them. In both cases, the courts ruled that both businesses were within their rights to refuse those requests, regardless of any existing anti-discrimination law, primarily because of free speech laws.²

              Masterpiece Cakeshop, on the other hand, was handed down loss after loss after loss in the courts because it refused to sell the base product outright. A cake is a cake — it is not, and cannot be, either gay or straight. Masterpiece violated Colorado’s anti-discrimination law when Phillips refused to sell the cake itself rather than quibble on the decorations (e.g., “we won’t sell you a cake with two men on the top”). Nobody was trying to force him into customizing the cake with (what he considered) distasteful messaging. The gay couple wanted the same kind of wedding cake that Phillips would have sold to any other straight couple. Phillips could have sold them the cake and offered to accomodate their wishes for decorating by selling them whatever they needed to add their own personal messaging.¹ But he didn’t. And that’s why he lost again and again.

              Make sure you know the details of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case before you trot out the “but the cakeshop” argument again. If I can demolish it like this, imagine what someone smarter than me can do to it.


              ¹ — Azucar tried to accomodate the customer by agreeing to bake the cakes and sell him what he needed to decorate it however he wished. Masterpiece never even got that far into discussions.

              ² — By the same token, Azucar could refuse an order for a cake decorated with “fuck Christians” messaging and Hands On could refuse to print a T-shirt that says “White Power”.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 9:54pm

                Re:

                ...various awesomeness

                Nice breakdown of the Cakeshop case. You've obviously spent some time following/reviewing the case, so let me ask you if something ever came up:

                Phillips argued he shouldn't have to make art he disagreed with on religious grounds. I had the thought: "What if he didn't know?" For example, suppose someone asked for a wedding cake celebrating the marriage of, say, Taylor and Dana. Since both names can be used for men or women, there's nothing in the request that would indicate the cake is for a gay marriage. There are two questions then: 1) What would be grounds, if any, for him to refuse this order? Would he be within his legal right to ask about the sexes of the two marrying parties before taking the order? and 2) If he found out after he'd delivered the cake that it was for a gay marriage, would this somehow retroactively indicate his endorsement of said marriage (since that was one of his arguments for not doing it) and/or could he demand the return of his "art?"

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

                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 10:07pm

                  I have no idea if that hypothetical ever came up. It does pose some interesting questions, though.

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

                  • icon
                    Toom1275 (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 9:22am

                    Re:

                    I recall another cake shop incident where the process had gone much further, amd the baker then suddenly balked when he didn't like the answer of "there isn't one" to the question "Who's the bride?"

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

              • icon
                That One Guy (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 1:16am

                Re:

                TD: Come for the articles, stay for the comment section. As always, when you decide to pick something apart you really go all in.

                He continually lost in the courts until the Supreme Court handed him a win that was more about procedure than the merits of the case itself.

                You happen to know offhand what the 'procedure' angle was that was big enough to overturn all the lower court loses he'd suffered?

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 7:19am

                  Re: Re:

                  Not the same AC, but that procedure issue was basically an issue of the Colorado authorities handling Phillips' case using exaggerated language that was considered hostile to his sincerely held beliefs; had the Colorado authorities not gone for the full hyperbole package in their opinions, the SCOTUS ruling would have been far different than what it was.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 2:42pm

    "The court decides to let Brittain have it both ways -- and lose both ways."

    Hahaha.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 11:48pm

    Awww did the former camboy lose to the big mean platform??
    Poor thing... funny I said those same words when I found his nudes online... but I'm a better person than Craig & I won't post them to get paid.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 12:35am

      Re:

      Poor thing... funny I said those same words when I found his nudes online.

      How does one just "find" something like that without actually seeking it out?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 3:08am

        Re: Re:

        Turn safe search off...

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

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 10:42am

        Re: Re:

        You miss the inherent humor in the asshat running the revenge porn site/legal service having his nudes out in the wild?

        When I first heard about Craig I did a deep dive and one of the first things I hit was someone else's deep dive into him... seems he ran a site called You Are Not Anonymous (IIRC) and some members of the collective did the whole scooby doo mask pull off.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 4:34am

    I guess I should have expected it.

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


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