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NY Times Opinion Section Gets CDA 230 Wrong AGAIN!

from the hey,-guys... dept

What the fuck is up with the NY Times when it comes to reporting on important laws about the internet? While they did, thankfully, publish Sarah Jeong's piece mocking everyone for failing to read Section 230 and totally misrepresenting it, they have since published three separate stories that completely get Section 230 wrong -- often in embarrassing ways. First there was the laughable piece by Daisuke Wakabayashi that claimed that Section 230 is what made hate speech legal online -- leading to the NY Times having to run a hilarious correction saying "oops, we actually meant the 1st Amendment." Then the NY Times opinion section let internet-hater Jonathan Taplin publish an anti-internet screed. Taplin has a history of misguided histrionics about copyright law, and it appears that he must have had an anti-DMCA safe harbor screed ready to go... but since everyone was hating on Section 230 (which is very different than DMCA 512) they just tried to swap it in... in a way that made no sense at all.

So you might think that the NY Times and especially its Opinion section editors would be a bit more careful any time Section 230 came up, but... nope. Instead, the NY Times has a ridiculously dumb new article by Andrew Marantz who (coincidentally, I'm sure) has a brand new internet-hating book coming out. The title of the piece is Free Speech Is Killing Us, so you just know it's going to be good (and by good I mean, really, really, really, bad). It delivers.

There has never been a bright line between word and deed.

Actually. There has. But, hey, you do you.

Yet for years, the founders of Facebook and Twitter and 4chan and Reddit — along with the consumers obsessed with these products, and the investors who stood to profit from them — tried to pretend that the noxious speech prevalent on those platforms wouldn’t metastasize into physical violence.

It's interesting that Marantz seems to know what was in the mind of the founders of all those companies. Impressive. Especially if you talk to some of them and find out that... this is not actually what they thought.

Having spent the past few years embedding as a reporter with the trolls and bigots and propagandists who are experts at converting fanatical memes into national policy, I no longer have any doubt that the brutality that germinates on the internet can leap into the world of flesh and blood.

Yeah, see, no one doubted this. Indeed, lots of qualified people have researched this in the past, including Susan Benesch who studied this issue in detail, but didn't conclude that free speech is the problem, but rather recognized that the ability of speech to lead to violence compels us to pay attention and then figure out ways to counter that speech. Marantz, on the other hand, leaps straight to censorship. First, of course, he mocks those who dares suggest that maybe censorship would be a problem.

The question is where this leaves us. Noxious speech is causing tangible harm. Yet this fact implies a question so uncomfortable that many of us go to great lengths to avoid asking it. Namely, what should we — the government, private companies or individual citizens — be doing about it?

Nothing. Or at least that’s the answer one often hears from liberals and conservatives alike. Some speech might be bad, this line of thinking goes, but censorship is always worse. The First Amendment is first for a reason.

After one of the 8chan-inspired massacres — I can’t even remember which one, if I’m being honest — I struck up a conversation with a stranger at a coffee shop. We talked about how bewildering it was to be alive at a time when viral ideas can slide so precipitously into terror. Then I wondered what steps should be taken. Immediately, our conversation ran aground. “No steps,” he said. “What exactly do you have in mind? Thought police?” He told me that he was a leftist, but he considered his opinion about free speech to be a matter of settled bipartisan consensus.

I imagined the same conversation, remixed slightly. What if, instead of talking about memes, we’d been talking about guns? What if I’d invoked the ubiquity of combat weapons in civilian life and the absence of background checks, and he’d responded with a shrug? Nothing to be done. Ever heard of the Second Amendment?

Using “free speech” as a cop-out is just as intellectually dishonest and just as morally bankrupt.

Yeah, but the thing is, people who actually have spent more time studying this than Marantz have long pointed out that they're not just using "free speech" as a cop out, but pointing out, in great detail, the actual harms that are done by chipping away at free speech.

From there, Marantz dips into some of the common ridiculous free speech tropes that people who have first discovered the subject jump to if they've never had to actually confront the reasons why we have a 1st Amendment.

For one thing, the First Amendment doesn’t apply to private companies. Even the most creative reader of the Constitution will not find a provision guaranteeing Richard Spencer a Twitter account. But even if you see social media platforms as something more akin to a public utility, not all speech is protected under the First Amendment anyway. Libel, incitement of violence and child pornography are all forms of speech. Yet we censor all of them, and no one calls it the death knell of the Enlightenment.

That's the "not all speech is protected" trope. As Ken White has noted, while this is true, it's not at all helpful in looking at if this particular speech is protected, and it assumes (incorrectly) that courts are adding new exceptions to the 1st Amendment all the time. They are not.

Free speech is a bedrock value in this country. But it isn’t the only one. Like all values, it must be held in tension with others, such as equality, safety and robust democratic participation. Speech should be protected, all things being equal. But what about speech that’s designed to drive a woman out of her workplace or to bully a teenager into suicide or to drive a democracy toward totalitarianism? Navigating these trade-offs is thorny, as trade-offs among core principles always are. But that doesn’t mean we can avoid navigating them at all.

This is more or less the “We must balance free speech with [social good].” / “There is a line between free speech and [social evil]." trope that White describes. Yes, free speech creates tension with other things, but the courts don't run a "balancing" test. And, yes, there are trade-offs. And, as a society we've long looked (mostly successfully) at ways of lessening the negative consequences of speech not by censoring, but by coming up with other ways to deal with that fallout. But Marantz, apparently, either doesn't know this or doesn't care.

In 1993 and 1994, talk-radio hosts in Rwanda calling for bloodshed helped create the atmosphere that led to genocide. The Clinton administration could have jammed the radio signals and taken those broadcasts off the air, but Pentagon lawyers decided against it, citing free speech. It’s true that the propagandists’ speech would have been curtailed. It’s also possible that a genocide would have been averted.

Yeah, this is exactly the kind of thing that Benesch studied, and what she found was that merely trying to censor the speakers, who are often getting out what many people are feeling, you have to figure out more constructive ways to change views to prevent violence. Censoring them doesn't tend to work.

I am not calling for repealing the First Amendment, or even for banning speech I find offensive on private platforms.

Oh sure you're not. You just have a whole NY Times article criticizing the 1st Amendment and an entire book coming out suggesting the same.

We can protect unpopular speech from government interference while also admitting that unchecked speech can expose us to real risks. And we can take steps to mitigate those risks.

Yeah. That's what lots of people have already been doing. Welcome to the party, Andrew. Nice of you to pretend you started it.

Congress could fund, for example, a national campaign to promote news literacy, or it could invest heavily in library programming.

I mean. Sure. But do you really think that the people who want to hate on this or that politician are doing so because they weren't taught "news literacy"?

It could build a robust public media in the mold of the BBC.

Why?

It could rethink Section 230 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act — the rule that essentially allows Facebook and YouTube to get away with (glorification of) murder.

Well, Andrew, I think I see your problem. There is no Section 230 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which makes me think that your research ability may not be up to snuff. It also makes me wonder why you're weighing in on this issue when you clearly haven't read the law since you don't even know what it is. You're actually talking about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which also is the law that allows Facebook and YouTube to moderate their platforms in exactly the way you're asking them to.

If Congress wanted to get really ambitious, it could fund a rival to compete with Facebook or Google, the way the Postal Service competes with FedEx and U.P.S.

How is this nonsense in the NY Times? This is such a dumb idea it's barely worth responding to.

Or the private sector could pitch in on its own. Tomorrow, by fiat, Mark Zuckerberg could make Facebook slightly less profitable and enormously less immoral: He could hire thousands more content moderators and pay them fairly.

Dude. Have you not been paying attention? The company already has over 10,000 content moderators and has said it's hiring at least another 10,000 and I'm betting that number would go up.

Or he could replace Sheryl Sandberg with Susan Benesch, a human rights lawyer and an expert on how speech can lead to violence.

So, you do know Susan! Then... don't you also know that she's against censorship and for more creative approaches to countering such dangerous speech online? And I think it would be great if Facebook hired her, but not in Sheryl's role. Susan is one of the smartest people in the world on these issues, but Sheryl is the company's Chief Operating Officer, and I'm unclear on Susan's experience in running one of the largest companies in the world.

Either way, this article is garbage. The NY Times is, of course, free to print such garbage, just as we're free to criticize it. And wonder who the hell is editing and fact checking stuff when it can't get basic facts like which law you're talking about correct.

Filed Under: 1st amendment, andrew marantz, cda 230, censorship, free speech, free speech tropes, ny times opinion, section 230
Companies: ny times


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2019 @ 12:10pm

    Set it straight.

    Mike, maybe you should contact them and let them know cause they just ain't getting it.

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

    • icon
      pblau (profile), 4 Oct 2019 @ 1:02pm

      Re: Set it straight.

      NYT is not allowing comments on this OpEd. Sadly, Marantz's POV reflects the conventional wisdom of NYT's millennial tech writers including Farhad Manjoo and Chris Hughes as well as older tech contributors including Kara Swisher and Jonathan Taplin. What is amazing is that, of course, if this POV were widely accepted, it would be the death of the free press as we know it, including the NYT. "Punch" Sulzberger and Abe Rosenthal -- the last of the greatest generation of NY Timesmen -- are certainly rolling over in their graves with this new direction the Gray Lady has taken.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 4 Oct 2019 @ 1:06pm

        Re: Re: Set it straight.

        NYT is not allowing comments on this OpEd.

        Can't possibly imagine why...

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2019 @ 4:53pm

        Re: Re: Set it straight.

        What is the point of mentioning millennials are involved?

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

        • icon
          Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Oct 2019 @ 5:10pm

          Re: Re: Re: Set it straight.

          To differentiate from the Baby Boomers who inhabit the editorial suite, that allowed the comment to go through. They, of course, are quiescing to the 'wokeness' of the subscribership (in however small amounts) in an attempt to placate them.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    I. M. DeBann, 4 Oct 2019 @ 12:15pm

    Hey, you're "chipping away at free speech" here, Maz!

    With your "hiding" by the alleged community.

    Now, READ this once:

    A) You have put in plain HTML an offer for anyone to comment.

    B) You make a form contract thereby. Read CRFA.

    C) My comments are always well within common law.

    The contentious point is that you claim to be PUBLISHER of all including my comments, therefore in control even though immune. That's just simply not the deal of Section 230 for PROVIDERS. Okay?

    NOW, this you could get me to help because I think that the gov't wil twist all into censorship.

    But you won't agree to even let my views be seen here!

    You are getting teh internets all wrong!

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      I. M. DeBann, 4 Oct 2019 @ 12:22pm

      Re: Hey, you're "chipping away at free speech" here, M

      Please SKIP saying can be seen after click. That's just a dodge. "Hidden" is not equal: it's CONTROLLED. You claim can remove, because again, you're a publisher. You're NOT.

      And again, my point is that you COULD be brave and let my quite mild text stand equal to others. Since you don't, I've no reason at all to be polite. See how that works? Can you grasp that you choose to let the site be toxic and lose readers, instead of a vibrant FORUM?

      Obviously you CAN but WON'T see that.

      And to again summarize: your notion of sites / providers empowered over users is WRONG, legally and practically.

      Then, you letting fanboys be toxic is STUPID. You don't have a "platform" any more, just a tiny bunch of echoes.

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

      • icon
        crade (profile), 4 Oct 2019 @ 12:43pm

        Re: Re: Hey, you're "chipping away at free speech" her

        If you really believe any of this why are you posting this instead of making your own site that does all that stuff "right" and puts the horrible echo chamber view censoring Techdirt out of business?

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 4 Oct 2019 @ 12:54pm

        Please cite the law, statute, or “common law” court ruling that says Techdirt is legally obligated to host your speech — or to avoid moderating it.

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

      • icon
        Gary (profile), 4 Oct 2019 @ 12:58pm

        Re: Re: Hey, you're Troll

        letting fanboys be toxic is STUPID

        Wait - what? Blue Balls is seriously calling for TD to censor the forum of the content critical of him in the SAME post decrying the existing user-based downvotes.

        How does that work actually?

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Oct 2019 @ 5:14am

          Re: Re: Re: Hey, you're Troll

          "Blue Balls is seriously calling for TD to censor the forum of the content critical of him in the SAME post decrying the existing user-based downvotes. How does that work actually?"

          Because your opinion is malicious garbage proposed in bad faith as part of a rhetorical power gambit whereas Blue/Baghdad Bob's comment is Divine Law and by circular argumentation, infallible and flawless.

          That's why when he calls for the marginalization, demonization, and actual rape of his gainsayers he feels no cognitive dissonance in his protests over the fact that few here take him seriously in any way at all.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2019 @ 3:16pm

        Re: Re: Hey, you're an ignorant motherfucker

        “Then, you letting fanboys be toxic is STUPID”

        We let you here bro.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2019 @ 6:58pm

        Re: Re:

        you letting fanboys be toxic is STUPID. You don't have a "platform" any more, just a tiny bunch of echoes

        If the Trichordist allows for the above, then why the hell can't Techdirt do the same?

        Clean your own house and get your own shit in order, then we'll talk.

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

      • icon
        bhull242 (profile), 4 Oct 2019 @ 7:49pm

        WTF are you on, and can I have some?

        Hey you’re “chipping away at free speech” here, Maz! / With your “hiding” by the alleged community.

        That is not “chipping away at free speech” in the sense that Mike means at all. First of all, choosing which speech gets more attention (that is giving some speech a higher profile than others) is not infringement of free speech. Second, what Masnick means by “free speech” is specifically “constitutionally free speech”, which does not restrict private companies or individuals from restricting speech on their own platforms.

        The contentious point is that you claim to be PUBLISHER of all including my comments, therefore in control even though immune. That's just simply not the deal of Section 230 for PROVIDERS. Okay?

        Not “okay”. §230 does not not immunize “publishers”, nor does it make “publishers” and “providers” mutually exclusive. What it says is that ISPs (providers) cannot be held liable for third-party content if doing so treats the ISP as a publisher of that content.

        A) You have put in plain HTML an offer for anyone to comment.

        I’m not sure what exactly you mean by “plain HTML”, but even giving you every favorable inference and assuming that 100% of what you’re claiming is 100% true, it is also irrelevant, as that only says that the site is offering a chance for you to comment, not that there are no restrictions or conditions on that offer or that the offer cannot be retracted under any circumstances from anyone by anyone. It also doesn’t say that your comment will have the same visibility as every other comment on the same article.

        B) You make a form contract thereby. Read CRFA.

        I had assumed that you were suggesting something like that in point A. As such, even if you’re right about that, my previous point notes that that doesn’t mean that you have an unconditional, unrestricted right to post whatever you want, or for that comment to have the same visibility, or that such a right is irrevocable.

        That said, I wouldn’t call that a “form contract”, which is something different from, say, a clickwrap agreement. It suggests a “fill-in-the-blank”-type contract or something along those lines.

        As for the CFRA, the only one I could find in law is the California Family Rights Act, which has absolutely nothing to do with what anyone is talking about here, so I have absolutely no clue what you’re referring to there.

        C) My comments are always well wishin common law.

        Once again, I don’t think you understand what “common law” actually means. However, it’s immaterial here. Assuming for the sake of argument that what you mean is that your comments are completely lawful and nonactionable, that has FA to do with whether Techdirt, a private organization, or its community, who are private citizens, are allowed to censor your comments on their privately owned platform. The fact is that a private organization or individual can block or hide any content on their platform, regardless of how lawful that content may be. There is also no contract, implied or otherwise, that guarantees that only unlawful or actionable comments can or will be blocked, removed, or hidden.

        The contentious point is that you claim to be PUBLISHER of all including my comments, therefore in control even though immune. That's just simply not the deal of Section 230 for PROVIDERS. Okay?

        Not okay. That is simply not what §230 says at all. On the contrary, it says that the provider simply cannot be held liable for its conduct as a publisher of third-party content. That doesn’t mean it’s not a publisher, or that being the publisher removes that immunity; it simply prevents them from being held liable as the publisher. That’s completely different.

        But you won’t agree to even let my views be seen here!

        Here I am, seeing your views.

        You are getting teh internets all wrong! [sic]

        No, you are getting both “teh internets” and the law all wrong.

        Please SKIP saying can be seen after click. That's just a dodge. "Hidden" is not equal: it's CONTROLLED.

        Please skip the all-caps. It’s not helpful, it’s annoying. Use bold text instead or something.

        More seriously, it’s not a dodge. No one is saying that hidden is equal, or that it’s not controlled by somebody. However, hidden isn’t the same as censorship, and free speech does not mean equally visible/audible speech. Free speech doesn’t guarantee the right to be heard. It only guarantees a right to speak. Furthermore, speech controlled by a private owner of the platform the speech occurs on is not against FA free speech and is exactly what CDA §230 was meant to protect.

        You claim can remove, because again, you're a publisher. You're NOT.

        According to the First Amendment and §230, they’re right and you’re wrong.

        And again, my point is that you COULD be brave and let my quite mild text stand equal to others. Since you don't, I've no reason at all to be polite. See how that works? Can you grasp that you choose to let the site be toxic and lose readers, instead of a vibrant FORUM?

        What is considered “mild” text and what is considered “toxic” are matters of opinion on which reasonable minds may differ. Also, “polite” isn’t the same as “quite mild” or “not toxic”. And again, nothing guarantees that your comments must or should be treated equally to others. Having some objectionable comments hidden from view but still available with a single click does not make this site less of a vibrant forum; on the contrary, hiding comments like yours actually makes the site seem less toxic while still allowing you to express your views and those who want to hear those views to do so.

        Regarding whether or not 1) Mike Masnick or Techdirt specifically are actually directly responsible for your comments being hidden, rather than it being the community of readers; 2) the site is toxic; 3) the site is losing readers; and/or 4) there is any connection whatsoever between any of points 1-3, I just have one thing to say: Plaintiff offers no evidence in support of his allegations, and so the complaint must be dismissed.

        Obviously you CAN but WON’T see that.

        Obviously, you can but won’t see that everything you’ve said has been refuted by many dozens of times, and you never offer any evidence in support of your claims other than whether or not you’re always hidden (or nearly so), which is self-evident. You also don’t seem willing to actually understand the legal principles you keep referring to.

        And to again summarize: your notion of sites / providers empowered over users is WRONG, legally and practically.

        And to again summarize, your notion of just about everything you talk about is wrong, legally and practically. Also, you don’t seem to understand any of the relevant law, and you haven’t demonstrated what is impractical about anything.

        Then, you letting fanboys be toxic is STUPID. You don't have a "platform" any more, just a tiny bunch of echoes.

        Not that what you’re saying has any merit or proof to it, but rather than address that allegation head on, I’ll just note that the argument is invalid, as even an echo chamber full of toxic fanboys is still a “platform”.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 4 Oct 2019 @ 8:04pm

          Why would you WANT to be on whatever they are?

          And again, my point is that you COULD be brave and let my quite mild text stand equal to others. Since you don't, I've no reason at all to be polite.

          While the rest of your deconstruction of their comment was great I can't help but feel you didn't give this gem the attention it deserves.

          'Since you won't keep people from flagging what I consider 'mild' I'll double-down and go full troll' has got to be one of the most pathetic excuses for dodging personal responsibility as well as proving the opposite point intended I've seen in a good long while.

          It's like watching a child who's been told not to throw a tantrum throw an even bigger one in an attempt to show just how 'mature' they are in an attempt to get their way. Pathetic, yet even then you can't help but laugh.

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

        • icon
          Matthew Cline (profile), 5 Oct 2019 @ 2:29am

          Re: WTF are you on, and can I have some?

          According to him common law is "the ancient traditions of We the People". Also according to him court cases that are based upon common law only rarely cite common law. So, yeah.

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

          • icon
            Matthew Cline (profile), 5 Oct 2019 @ 3:23am

            Re: Re: WTF are you on, and can I have some?

            Also according to him court cases that are based upon common law only rarely cite common law.

            Oops, that should be "only rarely source common law".

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

        • identicon
          Robert Beckman, 6 Oct 2019 @ 2:01am

          Re: WTF are you on, and can I have some?

          Just for fun (and because I can sleep).

          CFRA - I think he meant to CFAA, the computer fraud and abuse act, which lays out the definitions of authorized vs unauthorized access to a computer systems.

          In combination with the “form contract” he seems to be trying to say that Techdirt has written a contract of adhesion (a contract that’s not negotiated - a take it or leave it option) wherein any ambiguities are to be held against the drafter. Since he wins any ambiguity, and it’s not explicit in the contract of adhesion that he may be moderated, then techdirt is breaching the contract. Since the contract is what governs lawful access to the computer systems under the CFAA, that means that techdirt is unlawfully accessing a computer system in interstate commerce, committing a felony.

          I always like things like this, as I think it’s really important to be able to see things from other peoples perspectives, even if they’re crazy. You just have to reconstruct reality so that their actions wouldn’t be crazy (or evil) to figure out where they’re off.

          If only our politicians would try that.....

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2019 @ 3:15am

            Re: Re: WTF are you on, and can I have some?

            The other part of that implied contract is the existence of the buttons attached to each comment, which includes the ability to flag a comment. Therefore trying to claim hiding comments is a breach of implied contract is to ignore part of that contract.

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

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 4 Oct 2019 @ 12:23pm

      Re: Hey, you're hilarious!

      B) You make a form contract thereby. Read CRFA.
      C) My comments are always well within common law.

      Proving that you don't know what a contract is, OR common law...

      Why do you keep repeating this false narrative?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2019 @ 12:52pm

      Re: Hey, you're "chipping away at free speech" here, Maz!

      “You don’t agree to even let my views be seen here”

      It’s a spam filter Donnie I’m just going to call you that from now on weather it’s blue or any other one of those people lol
      One click and people can see it. Your not censored your not even kicked off the site lol or com et. Deleted. People can read and decide if they like and agree with you. Like the president. Or neighbors. Or anything. And apparently: your ideas suck here cuase they keep getting spammed so much and people don’t want to hear them anymore lol mike did not do that. That’s you. Be a republican and be responsible for it. Like I keep hearing Everytime on Fox News. Thank you god bless😁👍

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2019 @ 12:21pm

    Somebody else who supports free speech, so long as a censor, editor or publisher approves it before publication..

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2019 @ 12:27pm

    I like your website but I don't tell anyone about it because of the swearing. Just sayin'.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2019 @ 12:28pm

    "It's interesting that Marantz seems to know what was in the mind of the founders of all those companies. Impressive. Especially if you talk to some of them and find out that... this is not actually what they thought." So... they *did* think that all the noxious speech prevalent on those platforms *would* metastasize into physical violence? I'm a little unclear on what you're trying to say here.

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

  • icon
    pblau (profile), 4 Oct 2019 @ 12:42pm

    Absolutely right, Mr.Masnick. Aside from the stupidity you mention, there is also the fact that the worst recent acts of violent extremism - 9/11 and Oklahoma City - were committed before the advent of social media, and before the internet was a mass medium, in fact. Further, if we're willing to save lives by discarding with the Bill of RIghts, we could replace "proof beyond reasonable doubt" with "preponderance of evidence" in criminal jurisprudence, and lock up violent mentally ill people for life. That would save tends of thousands of lives...but, then again, saving lives has never been what the chattering classes of the left were concerned about.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2019 @ 5:00pm

      Re:

      "9/11 and Oklahoma City - were committed before the advent of social media"

      Don't think I read that correctly.
      Social media, does that include usnet or does social media start with AOL? AOL started early 90s, while the Oklahoma thing was '95 and 9/11 was 2001.
      I'm missing something.

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

      • icon
        bhull242 (profile), 4 Oct 2019 @ 7:53pm

        Re: Re:

        I think it means the ubiquity of social media. Even though I grew up during that time, I never knew about Usenet, and most people knew at the time had limited internet access, if any, during the 90s.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 4 Oct 2019 @ 1:02pm

    'We don't really do 'news' at the NYT these days.'

    Given the parade of idiots the NYT has been hosting lately I'm starting to think that classifying them as a 'news' company isn't really appropriate, and it would be better to see them as a company that will print whatever the hell someone hands them, regardless of what it is.

    At this point I honestly would not be surprised if a freakin flat earther was able to sneak an op-ed in, given how utterly non-existent the NYT's standards appear to be on what they will and will not publish.

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

    • icon
      keithzg (profile), 4 Oct 2019 @ 2:00pm

      Re: 'We don't really do 'news' at the NYT these days.'

      To be fair, there's a lot they wouldn't publish. Something very left-wing, or overly critical of D.C. power structures such that it might threaten their access? Never.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Oct 2019 @ 10:37am

      Re: 'We don't really do 'news' at the NYT these days.'

      To be frank they are spineless water carriers period. They carried Iraq War lead up propaganda, bothsidists propaganda, and now they carry anti Free Speech propaganda.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2019 @ 1:04pm

    Opinions are like assholes...

    Everybody has one, and the NYT has more than most.

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

  • icon
    keithzg (profile), 4 Oct 2019 @ 1:57pm

    The section that needs reform is the NYT opinions section

    Seriously, the world would be better off without the NYT opinions section at this point. Hell, it's getting to the level at which it's calling into question whether the New York Times itself is worth saving.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 4 Oct 2019 @ 2:04pm

    Freedom of speech and the health of a nation..

    Freedom of speech is pretty simple in the first place. Even with abit of Focus to the subject. But with an uncensored open forum, there is 1 thing we can learn. How sick is this nation/world. What needs to be fixed/helped.. Why hide what we are? We are all abit idiotic, even stupid. And the best way to see it is to be Open to it. then we can help everyone get around it. The only difficulty tends to be those wishing to Hide/erase/cover it up. Deny its there. its been pounded into our heads, that WE are the best. but after looking at the net, and hearing what other nations think of us...Being able to get translations(even google) tells us more then our OWN gov. will tell us sometimes. and I find that abit irresponsible of our gov. and some sites that never post EVERYTHING, that could be of interest. But there is tons of news everyday.. Such as we are in 7 countries in an Odd war.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2019 @ 2:23pm

    Andrew Marantz sounds an awful lot like Stephen T. Stone
    "I am not calling for repealing the First Amendment, or even for banning speech I find offensive on private platforms." But...
    "Please cite the law, statute, or “common law” court ruling that says ** is legally obligated to host your speech-" That I don't like and we squeaky wheels have shamed companies into believing that if they don't censor that speech, they are promoting that speech.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 4 Oct 2019 @ 2:48pm

      Re:

      I mean, other than the fact that they have almost nothing in common, sure, totally alike.

      There's a significant difference between 'companies have the right to choose who they will allow to use their platform to speak from, and if you want to force them to host particular content then point to the law that allows that(a challenge that as far as I know hasn't even been attempted to be met)' and 'companies should be pressured by the government to get rid of what they think is objectionable material, via such means as modifying/removing 230 to impose liability on them.'

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2019 @ 3:17pm

      Re:

      We know it’s you blue. You’re not very good at this at all bro.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 4 Oct 2019 @ 5:24pm

      For the sake of a hypothetical, let’s say you start a Mastodon instance and open it to the public. One of your instance’s rules says “no White supremacist propaganda”. For what reason should the government have the right to force you into hosting that content even if you don’t want to host it?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Oct 2019 @ 12:34am

        Re:

        I would ban illegal speech only

        There are things I have no desire to hear/see but that does not mean I think the same should apply to everyone else

        Ever hear of moving on? Don't like what OOTB is posting? Don't read it. Don't like Crowders' videos? Don't watch them

        I don't want to see the Christchurch incident so I don't watch it. If you want to watch it, go ahead

        I'd let people set their own filters. Not force my filter on them

        I'd be fine with hidden posts but it needs to be done openly showing +/- votes as well as having the options of "Never Hide This Users Posts From Me" and "Always Hide This Users Posts From Me"

        "For what reason should the government have the right to force you into hosting that content even if you don’t want to host it?"
        I'd rather people decided individually if they wanted to read your comments or not. I don't want to tell everyone they can't read your comments

        Do you think the Government should force ISPs to host/transmit content on their pipes it doesn't want to? If one decides it doesn't want anything to do with Facebook, you can use a different ISP or a different social site.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 5 Oct 2019 @ 1:12am

          Saying you would only ban “illegal speech” adds nothing to this discussion. Of course you would. But the real issue behind such an approach is simple to understand: You can’t refuse to ban legal speech and keep your platform free of spam. When your platform becomes overrun with spam — not to mention other speech people find objectionable — giving people filters won’t matter. They won’t bother with those; they’ll simply stop using your platform.

          A similar principle applies to White supremacist propaganda. If your platform becomes overrun with such speech to the point where your platform becomes associated with that speech more than any other, people who aren’t White supremacists will stop using your platform. If you want to run a platform for White supremacists, do it — but if you don’t, the only way you can stop your platform from turning into another Stormfront is to ban White supremacist propaganda.

          A refusal to moderate speech on your platform will lead to a takeover of your platform by trolls, spammers, bigots, and other miscreants. They will chase away your “normal” users and leave you with a festering pile of shit. If that is what you want, well, I hope you enjoy the stench.

          Oh, and before I forget:

          Do you think the Government should force [Internet access providers] to host/transmit content on their pipes it doesn't want to?

          …yes. IAPs are supposed to be “dumb pipes”. Facebook isn’t.

          If one decides it doesn't want anything to do with Facebook, you can use a different [IAP] or a different social site.

          If your IAP bans access to Facebook and your only options are “find a new IAP” or “move to another site”, you’re in a bullshit situation. You can move to another social interaction network, but that won’t bring all your followers/friends from Facebook along with you. You can move to a new IAP, but only if you’re in a place that has more than one. But neither option should even be on the table in the first place because IAPs shouldn’t have the right to control what sites you can or can’t visit.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 5 Oct 2019 @ 4:34pm

            Neither Zuckerberg or yourself should be in charge of anything called "social."

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 5 Oct 2019 @ 5:51pm

              Thank you for confirming that you lack a proper counterargument.

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

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2019 @ 12:22am

                Re:

                My apologies for having to leave and being away.

                Social sites are supposed to be social.

                "Living organisms including humans are social when they live collectively in interacting populations, whether they are aware of it, and whether the interaction is voluntary or involuntary."

                Having involuntary interactions is part of being "social." You want private clubs.

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

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2019 @ 5:19am

                Re:

                "You can move to another social interaction network, but that won’t bring all your followers/friends from Facebook along with you."

                And all of theirs as well. So me thru Kevin Bacon have to make a change

                "You can move to a new ISP, since everywhere has more than one."

                Everyone else, including Kevin Bacon, can stay with their own provider

                So you do get it, you just like being obtuse

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2019 @ 2:48pm

            Re:

            "…yes. IAPs are supposed to be “dumb pipes”. Facebook isn’t."

            Why is that?

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2019 @ 1:46am

            Re:

            "A refusal to moderate speech on your platform will lead to a takeover of your platform by trolls, spammers, bigots, and other miscreants. They will chase away your “normal” users and leave you with a festering pile of shit."

            Is this how you really feel about Techdirt?

            If there is that many of them that they can do this to every site, maybe "normal" needs to be redefined. Do you wish only "normal" people populated sites? Define "normal" people.

            We need to use the same definitions/terms. What you call IAP, I call ISP while others may call it PSI, Pi (condensed from PAI), RPM, REM, or REO Speedwagon (Depending on their age and type of connection). It gets confusing!

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 12 Oct 2019 @ 2:34pm

              This is just sad.

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

            • icon
              bhull242 (profile), 13 Oct 2019 @ 5:59pm

              Re: Re:

              The reason we’re calling them IAPs is they are not what is meant by ISP in §230, so we don’t want to confuse the issue.

              Also, by “normal people”, we mean “people who use the comments section as it should be used”, as opposed to trolls, conspiracy theorists, harassers, or spammers.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2019 @ 3:00pm

    Over and over

    So you might think that the NY Times and especially its Opinion section editors would be a bit more careful any time Section 230 came up, but... nope.

    Um, are you familiar with the word people use for trying the same thing over and over (e.g. reading NYT CDA 230 op-eds) and expecting a different result?

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

    • identicon
      TFG, 4 Oct 2019 @ 3:49pm

      Re: Over and over

      Yes: "Testing."

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2019 @ 8:15pm

        Re: Re: Over and over

        Speaking as someone who has done quite a bit of testing...

        • If something has been working fine and I'm testing it just to ensure it's still working, then I'm expecting it to keep working (not expecting a different result)
        • If something has changed and I'm testing it to make sure nothing has broken, then, sure, it might have broken, but it breaking is related to the change (not trying the same thing over and over)
        • If something is already broken, and I'm haven't fixed it yet, generally I expect it to keep breaking until I fix it (not expecting a different result)
        • If something is already broken and I've fixed it, then maybe I'll expect it to work, but the fix means I've changed something (not trying the same thing over and over)
        • If it's an intermittent error, then there isn't a single result to expect.

        I honestly can't imagine a situation where you'd be running exactly the same test over and over, getting the same result every time, and you expect a different result on the next iteration of the test without changing the parameters.

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

        • identicon
          TFG, 4 Oct 2019 @ 9:06pm

          Re: Re: Re: Over and over

          It was a non-serious answer to an old and tired saw. The word they were looking for is "insanity" but I'm rather sick of that one being trotted out all the time.

          Also, I can actually a think of a case where I'd run the same test over and over and expect different results: testing different groups of people at the same task. The control, in this instance, would be the test itself, which doesn't change - but the input parameters, in the sense of how people differ from each other, does.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2019 @ 3:57pm

      Re: Over and over

      ... but if you say it often enough, people believe it?

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

  • icon
    Stan (profile), 4 Oct 2019 @ 3:47pm

    robust public media

    "...It could build a robust public media in the mold of the BBC. "

    Splendid idea! Let's call it PBS and NPR.

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

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 4 Oct 2019 @ 5:29pm

    the founders of Facebook and Twitter and 4chan and Reddit — along with the consumers obsessed with these products, and the investors who stood to profit from them

    Wait wait wait wait wait. Hold up.

    …someone stood to profit from 4chan? Shit, I don’t think Moot himself profited from it.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2019 @ 6:59pm

      Re:

      It's funny how everyone mocks such websites as being run by nerds in the parents' basements with no hope of riches or desirable companionship, and yet they're apparently significant enough to warrant regulation because money? Google? I don't fucking know anymore...

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

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 4 Oct 2019 @ 7:57pm

      Re:

      Also, they forgot about 8chan and YouTube, but then those weren’t exactly profit-centers for their owners, either.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Oct 2019 @ 11:01am

      Re:

      People profit from 4chan only if /b/ and others feel like it at the moment.
      Also I’m 99% sure the majority of the scare around it is outsiders not knowing Thats the ENTIRE MOTIVE OF EVERYTHING THEY DO.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 5 Oct 2019 @ 1:54pm

        /b/ stopped being the site’s primary board for shenanigans and coördinated bullshit years ago. /pol/ took that spot, for better or (in most cases) worse.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2019 @ 11:38am

          Re: figures

          Majority of political runnings in this country are a reaction to the the lulz of /pol/ in the dankest op ever.

          I should be horrified but i only feel shame.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2019 @ 8:56am

    Zere vunce vos an oot of ze bloo
    Who hated ze process of due
    Each comment he'd made
    Vos DMCAed
    Und shoved up his ass vif ze screw

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

  • identicon
    bobob, 7 Oct 2019 @ 11:36am

    I don't know what the deal is with the New York Times, but getting section 230 wrong is just the tip of the iceberg of the their decline in news quality. Their reporting has gone to shit all around. Unlike fox news, which obviously has an agenda that they support with factual errors and selective omission, (but are at least competent in the propaganda nutwing bias business), the times seems to just fuck things up through incompetence and laziness and perhaps to pander to some select set of po politicians that they hope will help them from going bankrupt.

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


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