No, CDA 230 Isn't The Only Thing Keeping Conservatives Off YouTube

from the it's-the-constitution-people dept

Over the last year or so, there’s been a surge of claims that Google, Twitter, YouTube, etc. are “biased against conservatives.”

The starting point of this bad faith argument is a presumption that sites should be “neutral” about their content moderation decisions — decisions like which accounts Twitter suspends, how Google or Facebook rank content in search results or news feeds, or how YouTube promotes or obfuscates videos.

More about this “neutrality” nonsense in a later post, but let’s move on with how this performative mewling works.

So after setting up the strawman standard of “neutrality,” these self-styled “conservatives” turn to anecdotes showing that their online postings were unpublished, de-monetized, shadow-banned, or otherwise not made available to the widest audience possible.

These anecdotes are, of course, offered as evidence that sites haven’t been “neutral.”

And it’s not just some unfocused wingnut whining. This attitude is also driving a number of legislative proposals to amend and scale back CDA 230 — the law that makes the internet go.

Conservative Senators like Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, and Lindsey Graham — lawyers all, who surely know better — bitch and moan about CDA 230’s content moderation immunity. If only sites didn’t have this freebie, they say — well, then, we’d see some neutrality and fair treatment, yessiree.

This is total bullshit.

Sure, CDA 230(c)(2) makes sites immune from being sued for their content moderation decisions. But that’s only important to the extent it keeps people from treating “community guidelines” and “acceptable use policies” as matters of contract that can be sued over.

Moderation? Curation? Promotion? All of that stuff is fully protected by the First Amendment.

Really, I can’t stress this enough:

CONTENT MODERATION DECISIONS ARE PROTECTED BY THE FIRST AMENDMENT.

Eliminating content moderation protections from CDA 230 doesn’t change this fact.

It can’t change this fact. Because CDA 230 is a statute and not the FIRST AMENDMENT.

So why all the arguing for CDA 230 to be carved back? Some of it is surely just bad-faith angst about “big tech,” misplaced in a way that would unduly harm small, innovative sites. But a lot of of it is just knee-jerk reaction from those who actually think that removing the immunity-for-moderation found in CDA 230(c)(2) will usher in a glorious new world where sites will have to publish everything.

Which, by the way, would be awful. Any site that just published virtually everything users posted (that’s the true “First Amendment standard”) would be an unusable hellhole. No site is going to do that — and, again . . .

They don’t have to BECAUSE THE FIRST AMENDMENT PROTECTS CONTENT MODERATION DECISIONS.

Reposted from the Socially Awkward blog.

Filed Under: 1st amendment, cda 230, conservative censorship, conservatives, content moderation, free speech, neutrality, section 230
Companies: facebook, google, twitter, youtube


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2020 @ 1:43pm

    If only sites didn’t have this freebie, they say — well, then, we’d see some neutrality and fair treatment, yessiree.

    This is total bullshit.

    It's not really bullshit, it's completely true. If there was no CDA230 then there would be no moderation (and Facebook et. al. would be blamed for what was posted). That would be a completely neutral and fair -- in the most basic sense -- social environment.

    But this also means that everyone would be exposed to hate of all stripes, exactly the kind of thing that gets banned today resulting in complaining conservatives. They have all but admitted that "conservative speech" is equal to "homophobic, racist, misogynistic and otherwise discriminatory speech".

    We don't need a neutral and fair internet. We need non-violent, rational discussion. For that to happen we need CDA230 keeping those trolls out of our feeds.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 May 2020 @ 1:54pm

      everyone would be exposed to hate of all stripes

      …which means marginalized communities who use social media and other such services (e.g., forums) would end up taking the brunt of this newfound “neutrality”. If someone wanted to silence the speech or marginalized peoples on a given platform, “true neutrality” combined with the worst aspects of human nature would do the trick. After all, if Twitter could be overrun with anti-queer bullshit that Twitter couldn’t stop, what queer person would want to keep using Twitter?

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 19 May 2020 @ 3:09pm

        'Finally, all those deviants are silent and gone.'

        After all, if Twitter could be overrun with anti-queer bullshit that Twitter couldn’t stop, what queer person would want to keep using Twitter?

        Pretty sure that would be a feature, not a bug, for a lot of the 'conservatives' that are complaining about how social media is 'persecuting' them.

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2020 @ 1:58pm

      Re:

      When you have Tim Pool, Joe Rogan, Carl Benjamin, ALL liberals mind you, saying that "conservative speech" is being suppressed on Youtube and Twitter, it's bad.

      The fact that John Stewart would be labeled a conservative today for his views shows you how far left the left has gone. They're so far left that they're considered to be left wing in Europe, which is INSANELY far left in America is amazing. As Reagan once said "I was once part of the left, but the left kept going to the left, I stood still."

      And if you think there's no bias or anything, I have some beautiful ocean front property in Utah for sale.

      FFS, Youtube took down a video that was on CSpan of Rand Paul or Ted Cruz, can't remember which, during the impeachment trial asking about a specific person.

      Yeah, no bias here, right?

      Also, keep throwing out those words, they don't mean anything anymore. Everyone who's to the right of Bernie Sanders is a Homophobic, Racist, Misogynist, right?

      Yeah, whatever. If everyone is X, then no one is X, and since, as Anita Sarkeesian loved to point out, "Everything is racist, everything is sexist, everything is homophobic and you have to point it all out", then NOTHING is racist, sexist, homophobic.

      Sorry, just the way it goes.

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 May 2020 @ 5:10pm

        Even if I buy into the idea of an anti-conservative bias at companies like YouTube…so what? The law doesn’t say such companies can’t have such biases. YouTube could literally ban every self-proclaimed conservative from the platform and the law could do nothing to stop it.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2020 @ 6:42pm

          Re:

          And that ONLY gives people who are bitching about it right now even MORE ammo to attack Youtube, Facebook, Twitter over it.

          And what happens when you have enough politicians on both sides going "Yeah, time to do something about this" and decide to gut the law that protects the internet?

          You can blame the politicians all you want, but the fact is, it's Youtube, Google, Twitter and Facebook's fault if this happens. They could EASILY stop this from happening, but they won't, they're too far gone. So when the laws get repealed, it's big tech's fault. Because eventually you get enough people fed up and demand change.

          And, as the meme goes "you could have prevented all of this".

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 May 2020 @ 5:35pm

            They could EASILY stop this from happening

            How? The platforms don’t necessarily target conservative speech. They target misinformation, racism, homophobia, sexism, and other forms of bigotry. If people want to conflate such speech with conservatism, the problem isn’t with an imagined “anti-conservative bias”.

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          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 20 May 2020 @ 7:16pm

            Re: Re:

            Exactly what do you think the 'problem' is that YouTube, Google, Twitter and Facebook could 'easily' solve, and what part of pointing out that even if a platform was biased against 'conservatives' that would still be entirely legal gives anyone 'ammo' to use against those platforms?

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 21 May 2020 @ 1:38am

            Re: Re:

            "They could EASILY stop this from happening"

            You should call them and offer them your magic wand, as this stuff isn't anything like easy in the real world and they would probably need one.

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2020 @ 8:04am

            I Must Be Seeing Things

            … is this an actual sensible commenter on Techdirt?

            I mean the person at 6:42 pm, 19 MAY (probably the same guy who's perfectly reasonable comment above was CENSORED … yep, don't know where anyone gets the crazy idea that conservative voices are being silenced all over the internet.)

            But to your point, this gentleman/lady is exactly right … the corporate cowards who are banning any speech to the right of Bernie Sanders will be the ones responsible for bringing the inevitable backlash that will see sensible regulations like CDA 230.

            CEOs, you to make anything said by a normal White American anathema? It'll be your fault when someone in the government brings the hammer down.

            We don't want to hear the whining when it happens, because it'll be your doing .

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2020 @ 8:08am

              Re: I Must Be Seeing Things

              • I meant to say "backlash that will see sensible regulations like CDA 230 changed to something forcing Google, et al to host all legal speech".

              In other words, the corporations giving in to the de-platforming demands from the SPLC, ADL, Vox, pick your anti-American leftist propaganda outfit will be bringing it on themselves. It's "why we can't have nice things".

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 May 2020 @ 10:38am

              Platforms like Twitter are not banning “any speech to the right of Bernie Sanders”. People don’t get banned for talking about trickle-down economics or “small government”. As I pointed out above, the speech that platforms punish the most falls under the categories of bigotry and mis- or disinformation. If you think banning such speech means platforms are/have been targeting conservatives, the problem lies not in the fact that platforms ban such speech, but that you conflate such speech with conservatives and act accordingly so you can play the victim.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 21 May 2020 @ 11:17am

                Re:

                "People don’t get banned for talking about trickle-down economics or “small government”"

                No, they get banned for attacking gay people and spreading false propaganda that stands to kill people.

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          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 25 May 2020 @ 2:01am

            Re: Re:

            "...the fact is, it's Youtube, Google, Twitter and Facebook's fault if this happens. They could EASILY stop this from happening..."

            ...and here we have it again, the assumption that if actual magic existed, a number of tech companies could easily separate the "conservatives" using the n-word and assorted other triggerwords too frequently from the apparently entirely different group of bigots and racists trying to put their message out on FB and Twitter.

            I'm afraid that in the real world when the Very Fine People go online to write a political essay on their facebook page the moderating algorithm is unable to tell the difference between the "conservative" who calls black people n_____s because they've got a..."good" argument around it, and outright bigots and racists who just post out of hatred.

            "And, as the meme goes "you could have prevented all of this"."

            In other words as long as the annoying wench stops dodging the beatings will become less frequent. Got it.

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      • icon
        Bloof (profile), 20 May 2020 @ 1:16am

        Re: Re:

        Tim Pool, Joe Rogan and Sargon of Akkad are liberal minds? Are you kidding me? You have guy who dedicates most of his energy to attacking the left on virtually every issue without fact checking, without reading articles he's irate about, a libertarian who gives rightwing lunatics like Alex Jones an audience with no pushback and Sargon of Akkad, fascist sympathiser and failed candidate for a RIGHT WING POLITICAL PARTY. Not left wing, not by any stretch of the imagination.

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      • icon
        Mike Masnick (profile), 20 May 2020 @ 1:23am

        Re: Re:

        When you have Tim Pool, Joe Rogan, Carl Benjamin, ALL liberals mind you,

        None of them are liberals. Don't be silly.

        saying that "conservative speech" is being suppressed on Youtube and Twitter, it's bad.

        Anecdotes is not proof. Especially from that crew.

        The fact that John Stewart would be labeled a conservative today for his views shows you how far left the left has gone.

        What does that have to do with anything? The whole "left / right" thing is nonsense anyway. It's just about which team you're on. Focusing on left or right is just signalling.

        FFS, Youtube took down a video that was on CSpan of Rand Paul or Ted Cruz, can't remember which, during the impeachment trial asking about a specific person.

        Citation needed -- along with proof that it was because of anti-conservative views. You won't provide it because you can't.

        Yeah, no bias here, right?

        No. No bias. There may be some questionable content moderation decisions, but let me give you 500 million decisions to make in a day, and let's see you not make a few bad calls.

        Sorry, just the way it goes.

        You spew a lot of keywords, but very few of them are coherent.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2020 @ 1:29am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "FFS, Youtube took down a video that was on CSpan of Rand Paul or Ted Cruz, can't remember which, during the impeachment trial asking about a specific person.

          Citation needed -- along with proof that it was because of anti-conservative views. You won't provide it because you can't."

          I believe this is referring to Sen. Paul trying to get the name of the alleged whistleblower into the trial record. A tactic that was shut down by Chief Justice Roberts presiding over the trial, not by YouTube.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 20 May 2020 @ 1:59am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "The whole "left / right" thing is nonsense anyway. It's just about which team you're on"

          No, it is useful in a reasoned intelligent discussion that takes into account the breadth of the political spectrum. It's just that such things never seem to happen online, especially in US politics.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2020 @ 3:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It is less useful that a totalitarian to anarchist scale, especially as politics is drifting in the totalitarian direction.

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2020 @ 8:15am

          Ha Ha Ha

          See, this is why far leftists (like Techdirt now, apparently) have become such a joke to normal Americans.

          "Tim Pool is not liberal." Masnick, what the hell are you talking about? Pool is a self identified liberal. He may not be a far leftists like you and your groveling acolytes on this comment board, but Pool is very much a liberal.

          So is Rogan. He doesn't identify himself that way as far as I know, but he endorsed Bernie Sanders . Sanders was the most left-wing candidate in the last two presidential races. You're absurd.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 21 May 2020 @ 9:48am

            Re: Ha Ha Ha

            "Pool is a self identified liberal."

            Ted Haggard was a self-identified straight man. That didn't make it true.

            "He doesn't identify himself that way as far as I know, but he endorsed Bernie Sanders"

            Sanders is only left-wing in terms of the idiotic situation you have in the US. In the UK, he'd be a Tory, literally a member of the Conservative Party. The things he is so controversial about there are standard in the UK.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 20 May 2020 @ 1:56am

        Re: Re:

        "When you have Tim Pool, Joe Rogan, Carl Benjamin, ALL liberals mind you"

        I knew that Rogan was nowhere near a liberal, but I had to look up Benjamin as I'm never heard of him before. He's described like this on Wikipedia:

        Carl Benjamin (born 1979) is a British anti-feminist YouTuber with the online pseudonym Sargon of Akkad. A former member of the Eurosceptic right-wing UK Independence Party (UKIP)

        FFS, if you think that a UKIPer is liberal, especially one best known for hating women, you've just destroyed any chance of credibility that the rest of what you said might have had.

        "The fact that John Stewart would be labeled a conservative today for his views shows you how far left the left has gone"

        By who? The voices in your head?

        "can't remember which"

        Then your example is worthless as evidence.

        "Everyone who's to the right of Bernie Sanders is a Homophobic, Racist, Misogynist, right?"

        No just the bigoted assholes.

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      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 May 2020 @ 2:18am

        Re: Re:

        "Also, keep throwing out those words, they don't mean anything anymore. Everyone who's to the right of Bernie Sanders is a Homophobic, Racist, Misogynist, right?"

        No, being a card-carrying member of the KKK, shouting ethnic, racial, or gender-based slurs, or waving placards that call for the reinstitution of the confederacy is racist no matter what sanders says.

        I'm not sure how to dumb this down to where the current self-styled "republican" gets it...but if you speak and act like a racist or homophobe people will treat you like one and show you the door.

        "They're so far left that they're considered to be left wing in Europe..."

        Not really, no. Even sanders would be considered centrist here in europe - mainly because most of us realize that core infrastructure is everybody's business since it's always in some form or other a natural monopoly.

        Pro tip, bro? If you need to outright lie in every sentence while trying to make an argument then consider that argument lost.

        If you really hate factual reality that much then I can only recommend you climb right back into that echo chamber where calling a black man a n____r is somehow not racism and fondling a woman's genitals without express consent is magically not misogynistic.

        The rest of us will just flag your comment for trying to defend the rights of racists and bigots to stand on other people's private property and shout with a pack of lies and falsehood.

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2020 @ 8:30am

        Racist, Misogynistic, Homophobic

        This is what the left is extremely good at. This is why the Overton Window has shifted hard left in the last 40 years.

        Racist used to be hatred of another race. Now, just take the normal conservative position that discrimination against Whites (and Asians, actually) in, say, college admissions or jobs is unjust, define that as racist. Ergo, "conservative" becomes "racist".

        Homophobic used to be hatred of homosexuals. Now, just take a normal conservative position that marriage is only between a man and a woman, or that nobody should be forced to bake "gay wedding cakes", define that as homophobic. Ergo, "conservative" becomes "homophobic".

        Misogynistic used to be hatred of women. Now, just take the normal conservative position that the federal government shouldn't tell the states what their laws can be vis-à-vis abortion, define that as misogyny. Ergo, "conservative" becomes "misogynistic".

        Transphobic … conservatives think it's horrifying that male pedophiles in female blackface - aka "drag" - grooming children is disgusting and outrageous. Make that "transphobic".

        Etc etc.

        Simply define the way normal Americans think as "-phobic", "fascist", "hatred", "Nazi" … it becomes very easy for the leftist hegemony over all media to simply ban conservative speech but then play dumb when it's only conservative voices being silenced.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 21 May 2020 @ 9:52am

          Re: Racist, Misogynistic, Homophobic

          "Now, just take a normal conservative position that marriage is only between a man and a woman, or that nobody should be forced to bake "gay wedding cakes", define that as homophobic."

          Why would you not choose to bake the same cake for a homosexual couple that you would for a straight couple unless you were a homopobic bigot?

          "Transphobic … conservatives think it's horrifying that male pedophiles in female blackface - aka "drag" - grooming children is disgusting and outrageous"

          Yeah... that just makes you a hateful idiot who doesn't understand the argument.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 May 2020 @ 11:16am

          take the [average] conservative position that discrimination against Whites (and Asians, actually) in, say, college admissions or jobs is unjust, define that as racist

          It isn’t racist per se to say such discrimination is unjust. (Side note: Since when do conservatives stump for Asians in that regard, other than to hold them up as a “model minority”?) But it is racist to say, or imply, that such discrimination should be “reversed” out of “fairness”. (Fairness doesn’t exist in the U.S., at least in that regard. If it did, we wouldn’t have had only one Black president.) It’s also racist to say, or imply, that people of color don’t deserve some form of help as an offset for the systemic racism present in virtually every facet of U.S. society.

          take a[n average] conservative position that marriage is only between a man and a woman, or that nobody should be forced to bake "gay wedding cakes", define that as homophobic

          It is homophobic to believe marriage should be limited to heterosexual couples. (I can think of no non-religious reason that gay couples should be denied a right to marry.) And it is homophobic to deny gay people the same services that would be offered to straight people. (Cakes can’t be “gay”. And if a baker offers a basic-ass non-decorated wedding cake to the general public in places with LGBTQ-inclusive NDOs, they don’t get to decide whether gay people are part of the general public.)

          take the normal conservative position that the federal government shouldn't tell the states what their laws can be vis-à-vis abortion, define that as misogyny

          It is misogynistic for the federal government to stop protecting every woman’s right to make decisions about their reproductive care. (Should government bodies made up largely of men really get to decide whether a woman can have an abortion if she wants one?)

          conservatives think it's horrifying that male pedophiles in female blackface - aka "drag" - grooming children is disgusting and outrageous. Make that "transphobic".

          Two things.

          1. You’re conflating men performing in drag with transgender people being transgender. And even if you weren’t…
          2. It is transphobic to believe trans people are all male, all pedophiles, and all “grooming children” for whatever reason. (And you’re a piece of shit for thinking the last two descriptors apply to all drag performers, too.)

          define the way [average] Americans think as "-phobic", "fascist", "hatred", "Nazi" … it becomes very easy for the leftist hegemony over all media to simply ban conservative speech but then play dumb when it's only conservative voices being silenced

          Gee, it’s almost as if defining hatred as anything but “conscious and open hatred towards people based on who they are” means people who weren’t pegged as bigots in the past will be pegged as bigots now because of cultural shifts toward inclusivity and tolerance within American society. Imagine that~.

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2020 @ 11:53am

            Stone, Thanks For Proving My Point to a 'T'

            Yep, you just repeated what I just said.

            Redefine normal conservative positions - in fact, normal American positions up to a few years ago - as "hateful", "bigoted", etc. Ban (or to use your watchword, "moderate") those (conservative) positions because they're (now considered) "hateful", "bigoted'.

            You didn't even try to deflect. Perfect, thank you.

            So, can you finish it up with the final part? The lie that "there's no bias against conservative positions on Twitter/YouTube/Google/etc"?

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 May 2020 @ 12:48pm

              If you think of the kind of hateful language that platforms usually punish for violating their Terms of Service as examples of conservative speech, the problem doesn’t lie with some imagined “bias against conservatives”. Or, to put it more bluntly...

              Conservative: I have been censored for my conservative views
              Me: Holy shit! You were censored for wanting lower taxes?
              Con: LOL no…no not those views
              Me: So…deregulation?
              Con: Haha no not those views either
              Me: Which views, exactly?
              Con: Oh, you know the ones

              (All credit to Twitter user @ndrew_lawrence for that bit.)

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        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 21 May 2020 @ 12:59pm

          "Normal" conservative positions

          Marriage (which conveys a fuckton of state and federal benefits, not to mention the social ones) that is confined only to man/woman couples still creates a significant marginalized group. If this is accepted in normal or typical US conservatism, it's an indictment of the ideology of being against equality of the the people, and in favor of a stratified society.

          As for requiring businesses to accommodate the entire public (rather than say the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints discriminating against blacks, or Muslims charging a higher price to infidels), it makes no sense that Christians would get exceptions, say, refusing to accommodate a same sex wedding, or to fulfill a birth-control prescription. Again, the argument that they should be allowed to do this (and not others) creates a stratified-caste society in which some people are more equal than others.

          Again, not a good look for conservatism.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2020 @ 1:59pm

      Re:

      (and Facebook et. al. would be blamed for what was posted)

      If that meant that they could be sued, they would cease to operate before they died a death of a million court cases.

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    • identicon
      cpt kangarooski, 19 May 2020 @ 2:45pm

      Re:

      Well, there are four options

      First, there might be no moderation and it would be a free-for-all.

      Second, there might be no user posts allowed; comments would be shut down, which doesn't bode well for sites that are nothing but comments.

      Third, sites might try to work around it by employing user agreements. But this couldn't bind any third parties, so it's not really effective.

      Fourth, the point could be rendered moot. Pretty much all the fears over liability stem from the Stratton Oakmont case. Courts, now having greater familiarity with the net, could just start ruling that sites aren't liable as publishers for third party material anyway, at least in the absence of actual knowledge as to the material and the quality of it by which it might cause liability. And then we've got a judicial safe harbor. The problem is that this can't be expected to happen for sure, state judges are often not very good, and it's still harder to use than a black letter safe harbor.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2020 @ 5:03pm

        Re: Re:

        The fourth bit is absolutely true, and we shoukd not need Section 230 whatsoever. Unfortunately, we did, and likely still do. The rule of law in this country is severely compromised.

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    • icon
      crade (profile), 19 May 2020 @ 3:25pm

      Re:

      more likely you would have most places just not allow user content at all. section 230 protects them from liability for stupid crap that users post on their sites. Only the facebooks and such who can afford the liability would be able to keep having user content without it.

      Everyone is already allowed to censor the hell out of the stuff on their own sites because the government can't compel their speech by telling them otherwise.

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2020 @ 2:03pm

    Hmm...

    "CONTENT MODERATION DECISIONS ARE PROTECTED BY THE FIRST AMENDMENT."

    But I thought that these were platforms, not publishers.

    Which are they? Platforms or Publishers? They want the benefits of both. They want to be able to moderate content, which makes them publishers, which means they aren't supposed to get the "can't sue for what people put up" protection, but they also want to have the "we're just a platform" to protect themselves, but in that case, they aren't supposed to be able to act like publishers.

    Oh, and the First Amendment says that the government can't take away your free speech. The First Amendment does NOT GIVE YOU FREE SPEECH.

    Why does everyone get that wrong? Free speech is an ideal where everyone has a voice to be heard. It's not a law. The 1st Amendment PROTECTS that right, something you already have, from being taken away from you by laws passed by Congress.

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    • icon
      Cdaragorn (profile), 19 May 2020 @ 8:19pm

      Re: Hmm...

      Repeating these lies does not make them suddenly facts.
      Filtering out content does not magically make a site a publisher of other content simply because they chose not to filter it.

      Even if that somehow applied, it wouldn't matter. CDA 230 says nothing about anyone needing to act like a platform or publisher. It literally says they cannot be considered the publisher if the content came from someone else. Your attempt to debate which one they are is not relevant because the law literally says they cannot be a publisher. Period.

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 20 May 2020 @ 1:30am

      Re: Hmm...

      But I thought that these were platforms, not publishers.

      A meaningless distinction that somehow has gained traction among ignorant people. Don't be one.

      Which are they? Platforms or Publishers? They want the benefits of both.

      No. It's very consistent. They don't want to be held liable for user-generated content and they don't want to be held liable for errors in moderation, because that would make all content moderation impossible. Perfectly consistent. There is not "platform/publisher" distinction in the law or in common sense.

      They want to be able to moderate content, which makes them publishers, which means they aren't supposed to get the "can't sue for what people put up" protection, but they also want to have the "we're just a platform" to protect themselves, but in that case, they aren't supposed to be able to act like publishers.

      Your understanding of the law is not just wrong, it's backwards.

      Oh, and the First Amendment says that the government can't take away your free speech. The First Amendment does NOT GIVE YOU FREE SPEECH.

      Um. Right. And that includes your free speech about what you allow or don't allow on your own site. The government can not mess with that.

      Why does everyone get that wrong?

      You're the one who got it wrong.

      The 1st Amendment PROTECTS that right, something you already have, from being taken away from you by laws passed by Congress.

      Including Congress taking away a website's right to decide what speech it allows and what it doesn't.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2020 @ 2:09pm

    If Only

    "...claims that Google, Twitter, YouTube, etc. are 'biased against conservatives.'”

    I'd sacrifice a goat to help that prayer along.

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  • identicon
    christenson, 19 May 2020 @ 2:16pm

    It's MY platform cuz you said it was FREE!

    (spluttering) But...but...they said the platform was free so it has to allow EVERYONE to post ANYTHING!

    Especially my entitled and privileged brand of awfulness! You can't be deleting MY stuff! CDA230 has to go! Prodigy has to be liable for my stock scams, and the phone company has to be liable for my phone spam scheme!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2020 @ 2:19pm

    wait what? your saying the first amendment allows you to quote only the people you want to?
    That's crazy talk.

    /s

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  • icon
    JoeCool (profile), 19 May 2020 @ 2:42pm

    Someone would

    But a lot of of it is just knee-jerk reaction from those who actually think that removing the immunity-for-moderation found in CDA 230(c)(2) will usher in a glorious new world where sites will have to publish everything.

    Which, by the way, would be awful. Any site that just published virtually everything users posted (that’s the true “First Amendment standard”) would be an unusable hellhole. No site is going to do that

    Well, the chan sites try to, and yes, they really do turn into unusable hellholes.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 19 May 2020 @ 3:16pm

      Re: Someone would

      Seems like another 'put up or shut up' opportunity.

      'Not a fan of moderation, and think that social media shouldn't be allowed to moderate as they feel free? Great, how about you go to one of the chans, and for a good week or so you look through every post made there. You don't need to open every thread, but you have to go through all of the content posted and you're not allowed to minimize any of them, so any image or content that's visible when you pass you see.

      As that is what you are saying social media should turn into, for everyone, you should have no problem doing so, so tell me how it went after you've done so, because until then I see no reason to take anything you say seriously.'

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 May 2020 @ 4:39pm

        As a former veteran of 4chan — and specifically of /b/, back when you could kinda follow threads on that board to some degree — I wouldn’t want anyone to do that to themselves. I’d consider it a form of psychological self-harm.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 20 May 2020 @ 12:34pm

          Re:

          Oh it would be mostly a bluff, the goal is to either get them to admit that they wouldn't be willing to even temporarily wade through the sort of content that they would foist on everyone else or, assuming they took a recent blow to the head have them try to call the bluff only to get a good look at just what that content would look like, hopefully horrifying them enough to realize how monumentally bad their idea is.

          (And if they wade through that and come back with 'what's the problem?', well, you just learned a whole lot about the kind of person they are.)

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2020 @ 1:56am

            Re: Re:

            So far all the comments I've read are from reasonable minded adults that are about how bad things would be for them if the right had their way. However, perhaps we should start to inform the right wingers how their favourite spots would be 'corrupted' as well. I for one would be posting all the gay porn, black civil rights and feminist propaganda I can find on their favourite sites :)

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 21 May 2020 @ 3:02am

              Re: Re: Re:

              "I for one would be posting all the gay porn"

              The issue with that is, a lot of them are really into that stuff already, they just won't admit it.

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2020 @ 8:48am

      Re: Someone would

      Some extremists say "it'd be good if the government forced all websites to stop moderating comments".

      Other extremists say "there's no anti-conservative bias on Google/Twitter/YouTube/etc."

      Both are silly, and are (barring a few functionally retarded dummies) deliberately lying.

      No, the actual solution really is quite simple. And you don't need to surrender to the cowardly excuse-making of "content moderation is hard at scale".

      Google/Twitter/YouTube/etc, stop giving in to the leftist demands to filter out and de-platform right wing speech. Make it simple. If it's not a threat of violence or a racial slur, leave it alone. For example, if Steven Crowder makes Carlos Maza uncomfortable but doesn't threaten him, Maza will just have to deal with it.

      Because the alternative - and since these corporations seem dead-set on banning all speech that doesn't adhere to a leftist worldview, it's likely to happen in the next 5-10 years - is the normal conservatives are going to get tired of being banned as "bigots", "Nazis", "haters" and will demand the government do something, and the backlash is going to be very unpleasant.

      And when these corporations don't take these reasonable steps and the government forces them to become 4chan/8chan-like, it'll be the fault of the left wing and the corporations who kowtowed to them.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2020 @ 9:25am

        Re: Re: Someone would

        And when these corporations don't take these reasonable steps and the government forces them to become 4chan/8chan-like,

        You will find that they have become sites with a small user base, and you will still be struggling to get your raving in front of an audience. Hint, if the corporations were moderating speech that that the majority of their users wanted to post and hear, they would have gone out of business.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 21 May 2020 @ 9:55am

        Re: Re: Someone would

        "If it's not a threat of violence or a racial slur, leave it alone"

        Bu, most "conservative" talk in question in here would still be banned...

        "is the normal conservatives are going to get tired of being banned as "bigots", "Nazis", "haters" and will demand the government do something, and the backlash is going to be very unpleasant"

        Then they should stop being such hateful Nazi morons...

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 21 May 2020 @ 12:09pm

          Re: Re: Re: Someone would

          Then they should stop being such hateful Nazi morons...

          That sounds a lot like accepting personal responsibility, and I'm not aware of any party that prides itself on that...

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      • icon
        gamesjon (profile), 21 May 2020 @ 11:05pm

        Re: Re: Someone would

        If it's not a threat of violence or a racial slur, leave it alone. For example, if Steven Crowder makes Carlos Maza uncomfortable but doesn't threaten him, Maza will just have to deal with it.

        Just out of curiosity why the exception for the racial slur? I mean the threat of violence you can argue because that is an illegal act in itself, but you can't say that about racial slurs. How do you simultaneously justify moderating something that makes some people "uncomfortable" when it is in the form of racial slurs, but then claim it is discriminatory when it is done for other forms?

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        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 1:55am

          Re: Re: Re: Someone would

          I think the matter with racial slurs (or other identity-related pejoratives, not all of them are related to race) is twofold.

          The first is that they can be hurtful directly by expressing the speaker's intent to deride.

          The second is that they imply social permission to discriminate against others, which can have a demagogic effect when used by someone who has authority or standing in their community.

          President Trump's 2016 campaign was pretty much based on the platform of making it acceptable to hate marginalized groups again. It's a demonstration that large societies (such as the United States) only work well if everyone generally is willing to accept a plurality. When that fails, the society only serves the top tiers, and history has shown us how that generally goes.

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          • icon
            gamesjon (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 7:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Someone would

            I don't have an issue with websites moderating content like this. My question was to the person posting the comment I responded to who made an explicit exception to this being done for threats of violence & racial slurs, while also explicitly saying it should not be done for other non-racial forms of pejoratives/slurs. I was just wondering how that person justified these contradictory positions.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 11:28pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Someone would

              Even the dumbest of these bigots realise that some speech is by nature unacceptable in any kind of mature setting. So, they drop a few terms here and there to pretend that their argument works, not realising that they just exposed how badly it will fail.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2020 @ 3:06pm

    The people clinging to that platform still haven't gotten any more credibility than the last time everyone told them it's not usually a first amendment issue.

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  • icon
    ECA (profile), 19 May 2020 @ 3:13pm

    ".. otherwise not made available to the widest audience possible. "

    Lets see.. THEN PAY FOR THE ADVERTISING if you want more then THOSE few, that listen to your crap.

    I have persons that express their opinions to me, and I contest them, and ask, HOW do you see it that way. Can you show me that you had no influence to THINK that way...DID you live it? Did you see it personally?
    Did you compare it to every other group/race/religion/red/green/purple, and the rest of the idiots out there, as well as your OWN.. Can you SAY, and not be proven WRONG that you and those that think the SAME, arnt doing/acting/expressing the same BS..

    But, But he said..But but I was told.. But but I saw it, that 1 time on TV..

    I can tell you the history of your OWN people, and how much of an idiot they are, and you are saying you ARNT any worse? Better? dont look into the past, you will be Faithfully abused.

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  • icon
    Avatar28 (profile), 19 May 2020 @ 3:16pm

    Any site that just published virtually everything users posted (that’s the true “First Amendment standard”) would be an unusable hellhole. No site is going to do that — and, again . . .

    So...4chan then?

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 20 May 2020 @ 2:08am

      Re:

      No, 4chan is the one that had users leave to found 8chan because they found it too restrictive. 8chan is the one that voluntarily shut down after becoming a breeding ground for mass shooters. I'm sure something else popped up, but 4chan is looking tame by some standards.

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  • icon
    Code Monkey (profile), 19 May 2020 @ 3:29pm

    I thought the First Amendment...

    ...was designed to promote discourse among people. There are SCOTUS limits (for example, yelling 'fire' in a crowded movie house, thus inducing panic).

    If you want to post something online that I don't agree with, I can:

    1. Ignore your stupidity.
    2. Argue my position with facts (or, just my opposite opinion)
    3. Watch while 100 other people who think what you posted was "hate speech" rip you apart with words on that site.

    You have to RIGHT to say whatever you like, but there is NOTHING in the Constitution that says there won't be consequences.....

    Case in point: I don't like Brussel sprouts. I'm not advocating the banning of them, nor am I saying that people who DO like them are lesser human beings. You like 'em? Here, you can have mine. :)

    So, if you happen to like Brussel sprouts, you have the RIGHT to disagree with my opinion.

    I'll certainly listen to why you like them, but it won't persuade me to like them..... :)

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 May 2020 @ 3:32pm

      There are SCOTUS limits (for example, yelling 'fire' in a crowded movie house, thus inducing panic).

      No. Unacceptable.

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      • identicon
        TFG, 19 May 2020 @ 3:38pm

        Re:

        Stephen beat me to it.

        You're on the money with the REST of your comment, Code Monkey, but the "Fire in a crowded theater" line is a bit of frippery that keeps getting use when it really shouldn't, and really shouldn't have been brought up in the first place. Stephen's link is a treatise on why.

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      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 19 May 2020 @ 5:01pm

        Incitement and Hate Speech

        There are more than a few things I'd like to be able to argue, such as the necessary-if-messy alternatives to impeachment now that we've seen elected officials politically defended from impeachment by a system of voter suppression.

        Or the equally necessary, messy courses of action the public will have to consider if it wants a legal system that hasn't been hijacked by the Federalist Society.

        Or for that matter the rising evidence that a public-serving federal government is impossible to achieve by trying to do so within the system. It would take centuries of facing insurmountable resistance from monied interests who are only going to hoard more of the wealth in time -- and they're happy to let the human species drown in their own toxic waste first.

        As things are right now, it's illegal enough for me to talk about these things, that a prosecutor or law enforcement officer so inclined could arrange to have me imprisoned for doing so, if not for specific codes against incitement, then conspiracy to commit espionage, which could get me 25+ years.

        Or at least that's the plot of my next political / legal thriller bestseller next year!

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 May 2020 @ 2:35am

      Re: I thought the First Amendment...

      "Case in point: I don't like Brussel sprouts. I'm not advocating the banning of them, nor am I saying that people who DO like them are lesser human beings. You like 'em? Here, you can have mine. :)
      So, if you happen to like Brussel sprouts, you have the RIGHT to disagree with my opinion.
      I'll certainly listen to why you like them, but it won't persuade me to like them..... :)"

      That's not an issue the way you describe it.

      It rapidly becomes one when you climb on top of a sopabox in someone elses living room and use a bullhorn to repetitively and very loudly announce the demerits of brussel sprouts to the room at large, effectively drowning out every sensible argument going on there.
      And then when the home owner shows you the door you complain that your rights to be heard are infringed upon.

      That, in a nutshell, is the issue we have currently. Only that the people claiming they are being biased against are talking about non-white people, homosexuals and women rather than brussel sprouts.

      And are quite upset not because they are not allowed to speak - but that they are not allowed to stand in someone elses living room and force other people to hear their arguments.

      The entire debate has been forcibly moved from being a "freedom of speech" argument by people who feel personally oppressed at not being able to walk into other people's private property and start shouting "Fsck all you N____RS!!".

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    • icon
      Thad (profile), 20 May 2020 @ 10:34am

      Re: I thought the First Amendment...

      So, if you happen to like Brussel sprouts, you have the RIGHT to disagree with my opinion.

      I also have the right to tell you to get out of my house and take your opinions somewhere else.

      The First Amendment allows racists to say racist shit. It also allows YouTube to tell them to take it somewhere else.

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  • icon
    tz1 (profile), 19 May 2020 @ 3:55pm

    But the underlying content is NOT protected by #1A

    There is a difference between a publisher and a platform (cluebat available). If you are a "common carrier", you aren't responsible for what is in packages you don't rip open to inspect, including USPS, USP, FedEx, and the other shipping services. They are shipping "platforms" When you start editing content - opening the packages - and deciding what you think is acceptable to ship - you are a publisher and are responsible for what you let through because the act of editing makes it YOUR content, not some 3rd party's.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 May 2020 @ 4:28pm

      There is a difference between a publisher and a platform

      And the Supreme Court itself doesn’t give a shit. The First Amendment and 47 U.S.C. § 230 protect all interactive web services regardless of how you classify them under the publisher/platform dichotomy.

      If you are a "common carrier", you aren't responsible for what is in packages you don't rip open to inspect, including USPS, USP, FedEx, and the other shipping services.

      In re: the Internet, Internet access providers (i.e., Internet service providers or ISPs) play the role of “common carrier”. They give you access to the Internet with the assumed role of acting as a “dumb pipe” for information. Only fools and people who work for cable companies think IAPs (or ISPs, whichever you prefer) should police people’s connections for the content they access.

      you are a publisher and are responsible for what you let through because the act of editing makes it YOUR content

      Can you cite a single law, statute, or court ruling that backs up this assertion?

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      • identicon
        cpt kangarooski, 19 May 2020 @ 5:03pm

        Re:

        The article was capable of bearing a defamatory meaning for two reasons: it contained explicit statements and fair implications by the writer which could be considered defamatory, and it also republished defamatory statements made by others, for which a defendant, unless protected by a privilege, is as liable as if he had made the statements himself.
        ...
        The second point is even plainer. A federal court has recently referred to the "black-letter rule that one who republishes a libel is subject to liability just as if he had published it originally, even though he attributes the libelous statement to the original publisher, and even though he expressly disavows the truth of the statement." Hoover v. Peerless Publications, Inc., 461 F.Supp. 1206, 1209 (E.D.Pa. 1978). This rule has been widely recognized. See, e.g., Restatement, Second, Torts § 578 (1977) ("one who repeats or otherwise republishes defamatory matter is subject to liability as if he had originally published it"); 1 Harper James, supra, § 5.20 at 417; Prosser, Torts § 113 at 768 (4th ed. 1971). A good example of the application of this rule is Olinger v. American Savings and Loan Assoc., 409 F.2d 142, 144 (D.C. Cir. 1969). Defendant had sent a letter to plaintiff Olinger's military superiors containing the statements "Mrs. Olinger reports that Col. Olinger is unwilling to permit her to sell the property and he will not keep the payments current on the first and second trust." As the court noted, this statement "was true' only because it was prefaced byMrs. Olinger reports that . . .'" Id. at 144. Stating that "[t]he law affords no protection to those who couch their libel in the form of reports or repetition" and that "the repeater cannot defend on the ground of truth simply by proving that the source named did, in fact, utter the statement," the court reversed a grant of summary judgment for the defendant. The republication rule applies to the press, as it does to others, although the press may deprive particular benefit from certain privileges discussed below. See Dixson v. Newsweek, Inc., 562 F.2d 626, 630-31 (10 Cir. 1977); Cepeda v. Cowles Magazines and Broadcasting, Inc., 328 F.2d 869, 871 (9 Cir.) (dictum), cert. denied, 379 U.S. 844, 85 S.Ct. 51, 13 L.Ed.2d 50 (1964); Pittsburgh Courier Pub. Co., Inc. v. Lubore, 200 F.2d 355 (D.C. Cir. 1952); Tilton v. Cowles Publishing Co., 76 Wash.2d 707, 459 P.2d 8, 16 (1969), cert. denied, 399 U.S. 927, 90 S.Ct. 2238, 26 L.Ed.2d 792 (1970); Lancour v. Herald Globe Ass'n, 111 Vt. 371, 17 A.2d 253, 256-57 (1941). Cf. St. Amant v. Thompson, 390 U.S. 727, 88 S.Ct. 1323, 20 L.Ed.2d 262 (1968); Greenbelt Cooperative Publishing Ass'n v. Bresler, 398 U.S. 6, 90 S.Ct. 1537, 26 L.Ed.2d 6 (1970). Any different rule would permit the expansion of a defamatory private statement, actionable but without serious consequences, into an article reaching thousands of readers, without liability on the part of the republisher. See Eldredge, supra, § 44 at 233; Venn v. Tennessean Newspapers, Inc., 201 F.Supp. 47, 56-57 (M.D.Tenn. 1962), aff'd mem. 313 F.2d 639 (6 Cir.), cert. denied, 374 U.S. 830, 83 S.Ct. 1872, 10 L.Ed.2d 1053 (1963); Metcalf v. Times Pub. Co., 20 R.I. 674, 40 A. 864, 865 (1898) ("If a man has not the right to go around [and] tell of charges made by one against another, much less should a newspaper have the right to spread it broadcast and in enduring form.")

        Cianci v. New Times Pub. Co., 639 F.2d 54 (2d Cir. 1980).

        Editing isn't actually required, though a publisher has an opportunity to do so and clearly has actual awareness of what they publish, which is what basically gives rise to the liability. A retailed OTOH doesn't have an opportunity to review and fact check everything they sell, nor to edit it. Thus they lack actual awareness and an opportunity to do more than not sell an entire book or periodical which may have only one or two defamatory elements in it.

        BUT it doesn't matter. Section 230 clearly states that no online user or provider shall be responsible for any information provided by another. Period. The end.

        So it is impossible to be a "publisher" online unless you are really creating the content. A news site can be responsible for the news it posts. A blog like this one can't be responsible for reposting that information, however. Even if it does so in bad faith.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2020 @ 5:04pm

      Re: But the underlying content is NOT protected by #1A

      If you make the platforms responsible for what appears on them, then they only allow letters to the editor, that is a fraction of a percent of today's output, or none at all. Alternatively the let anything go, and soon they have a small number of trollish users, with everybody else ignoring anything but curated sites. Either way, you shutdown the Internet as a means of human discourse, and return to the days of a selected few being able to reach an audience, with everybody else being the silent majority.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2020 @ 9:17am

      Re: But the underlying content is NOT protected by #1A

      So when FedEx opens Cisco equipment to install backdoors mid-shipment, they are a publisher and not a platform at that point, right?

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    icon
    tz1 (profile), 19 May 2020 @ 3:58pm

    Publisher or Platform?

    The first amendment protects publishers, who can be held responsible for what they publish (after the fact, see "prior restraint"). A Movie theatre is NOT responsible for someone shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre, unless they "moderate" and tell people who enter they are free to yell "fire".

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 May 2020 @ 4:32pm

      The first amendment protects publishers

      No, the First Amendment protects everyone.

      who can be held responsible for what they publish (after the fact, see "prior restraint")

      Uh…that isn’t what “prior restraint” means. “Prior restraint” refers to the act of stopping someone’s speech before they speak/publish it. Devin Nunes suing a Twitter account for posts already made by that user doesn’t count as prior restraint; Devin Nunes using his position in the government to stop someone from making new posts on that Twitter account altogether would.

      A Movie theatre is NOT responsible for someone shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre, unless they "moderate" and tell people who enter they are free to yell "fire".

      …what did I already say about this shit to someone else in these comments?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2020 @ 4:16pm

    One thing that keeps coming up in the defense of 230 is the way that it’ll harm “small, innovative” websites. You need to find some other way to defend 230 than that. Are you taking the angle that 230 enables these smaller websites to innovate in ways that enable them to compete against bigger ones? Because if so, asmuch as I’d like for 230’s protections to have served as a way for smaller platforms to experiment, grow, and ultimately compete against the massive, entrenched incumbents, that just doesn’t happen.

    Not enough people care about the smaller/newer sites that have one or two things that they do better than others. The only thing they care about is when their chosen massive tech platform copies the smaller platform’s innovations.

    Look at Mixer. It was looking to compete with Twitch via concepts and features they rolled out like interactivity, multi-streams, clear-cut rules for streamers and users to follow To ensure good moderation and a non-toxic environment, a progression system that makes people feel like they’re part of a streamer’s community regardless of if they’re a subscriber or not, and so forth. Nobody gave a damn. Twitch started copying some of Mixer’s features, YouTube streaming and Facebook streaming started to take off. As every other service saw massive growth in streaming numbers thanks to the pandemic, Mixer stagnated. Even with the backing of Microsoft for years, the platform’s numbers remain dismal and puny in spite of the innovations it pushed out.

    Defend Section 230 all you want with other examples, cause it’s really important, but from where I’m standing, the idea that the freedom to experiment that it gives to websites can enable them to grow and outcompete Big Tech is unusable as a defense of 230.

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    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 19 May 2020 @ 4:22pm

      Re:

      Maybe you should read this.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2020 @ 4:58pm

        Re: Re:

        TikTok didn’t succeed in spite of FB copying it. TikTok succeeded because it found its niche in the void that the former incumbent in that niche, Vine, left behind. That, and TikTok started its massive growth in China, where 230 doesn’t exist and Facebook/Instagram are locked out via the Great Firewall. The only hope for Mixer is that Twitch sputters and fails due to inability to figure out how to make money off if it, like Vine did.

        My point still stands: If you want to defend Section 230 (which you should), you need to use better arguments than “The freedom to experiment and innovate that S230 allows will enable disruption and competition of the biggest platforms.”

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2020 @ 5:23pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          It isn't a bad argument. Regardless as to how corporate incumbents and popular perception keep new services from blossoming, new services absolutely could not even begin to grow without Section 230.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 20 May 2020 @ 2:18am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "TikTok succeeded because it found its niche in the void that the former incumbent in that niche, Vine, left behind."

          ...which they would not have been able to do if they were held directly liable for the output of its users.

          "That, and TikTok started its massive growth in China, where 230 doesn’t exist"

          In most countries, section 230 doesn't exist because it was not necessary to explicitly state what it covers, either through existing law being adequate or a less litigious society meaning that random strangers don't get sued for someone else's actions. There's also the possibility that the Chinese government allows the app to flourish for reasons of surveillance and other nefarious activity, so they might not be the best example here.

          "The only hope for Mixer is that Twitch sputters and fails due to inability to figure out how to make money off if it, like Vine did."

          No, the main hope is that it gets a boost from the next XBox generation and that its inclusion in the XBox ecosphere is attractive enough for people to use it instead of defaulting to Twitch. There are other things that will help, but that's the main one.

          "My point still stands: If you want to defend Section 230 (which you should), you need to use better arguments than"

          How about the ones always used - people should not be held responsible for the actions of others over which they had no control? All that section 230 says is that you have to go after the person who actually did something rather than the nearest target. If you want to abolish it, then you state the reason why you think innocent 3rd parties should be held liable for something not done by them just because it happened on their property.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 May 2020 @ 4:37pm

      Defend Section 230 all you want with other examples, cause it’s really important, but from where I’m standing, the idea that the freedom to experiment that it gives to websites can enable them to grow and outcompete Big Tech is unusable as a defense of 230.

      Mastodon has a per-post privacy system where a user can choose to have their posts listed to the full Fediverse, listed only on their instance’s home timeline, shown only to that user’s followers, or sent as a direct message between users. While I would bet on other social media platforms having something like that, the one that Mastodon most acts like — Twitter — doesn’t.

      But Mastodon instances, all of which have far fewer users than Twitter, wouldn’t have the freedom to experiment with improvements to that system without first having the freedom to exist. And Mastodon instances, like most other social media platforms, wouldn’t exist without Section 230.

      Try again.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2020 @ 5:11pm

        Re:

        As was reported a while back, Twitter is flirting with decentralization. The clearest and most profitable path for Twitter to take is to become its own separate version of the Fediverse that doesn’t interoperate with Mastodon et al. When Twitter moves forward with its decentralization plans, I fully expect it to copy Mastodon’s best features.

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

    • identicon
      Rocky, 19 May 2020 @ 4:59pm

      Re:

      Defend Section 230 all you want with other examples, cause it’s really important, but from where I’m standing, the idea that the freedom to experiment that it gives to websites can enable them to grow and outcompete Big Tech is unusable as a defense of 230.

      The point is that without 230 there will be almost no one willing to invest money into any kind of venture that is based on UGC and interactivity. It's not about out-competing, it's about innovating - and sometimes that can translate into an idea that relegates the entrenched players to the dust-heap or disrupts their market-niche.

      Can you honestly say it will be easier to "compete" against "BigTech" without 230? Because that's the only valid position you can take if you stand by your argument above.

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

    • icon
      Cdaragorn (profile), 19 May 2020 @ 8:27pm

      Re:

      Defend Section 230 all you want with other examples, cause it’s really important, but from where I’m standing, the idea that the freedom to experiment that it gives to websites can enable them to grow and outcompete Big Tech is unusable as a defense of 230

      That's because you've locked your examples to a ridiculously limited worldview spanning maybe 10-15 years. You need to go look up history before Facebook, not to mention plenty of examples people have already given you in response to this post.

      You also ignore the basic economics of the issue. Most people don't look for other services because big tech is still doing a good job at giving people what they want for a price they're willing to pay. The fact that 230 allows someone to potentially come in and replace them is a factor and does help keep them from straying too far away from what people are willing to accept.

      The fact that you can show examples of startups failing is not evidence against this argument. It's anecdotal and ignores everything else surrounding the issue.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 20 May 2020 @ 1:36am

      Re:

      Look at Mixer. It was looking to compete with Twitch via concepts and features they rolled out like interactivity, multi-streams, clear-cut rules for streamers and users to follow To ensure good moderation and a non-toxic environment, a progression system that makes people feel like they’re part of a streamer’s community regardless of if they’re a subscriber or not, and so forth. Nobody gave a damn.

      One single example is not evidence that the premise is wrong.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 20 May 2020 @ 2:22am

        Re: Re:

        It's also a bad example anyway. One of the issues with Mixer is that Microsoft have never quite known what to do with it other than build it into the XBox ecosphere, which didn't attract people from the much larger Sony market. They got off to a rocky start as well, being rebranded not long after it was bought then they tried buying parts of Twitch's market to build their userbase rather than build their own naturally. The nature of the moderation has almost nothing to do with what's happening there.

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 19 May 2020 @ 4:49pm

    Conservatives are being kept off Youtube?

    Thanks to my range of not-fully-aligned opinions, Google / YouTube keeps throwing at me conservative videos I'm not all that interested in seeing. (YouTube political pieces tend to rehash a lot of old arguments over and over again, so these are not useful to me.)

    So, if conservatives are actually being blocked by YouTube (say on the grounds of hatespeech or incitement to violence) that's news to me.

    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, 19 May 2020 @ 6:07pm

    wireless technology isn't a traditional press....

    Content moderation is protected as long as you don't use wireless technology or have wireless technology in your supply chain

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 20 May 2020 @ 7:59am

    Strange times

    I've noticed lately that when I hear the word "conservative", what I hear is, homophobic, racist, xenophobic, angry person that views themselves as a victim.

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

    • identicon
      Rocky, 20 May 2020 @ 4:51pm

      Re: Strange times

      I've noticed lately that when I hear the word "conservative", what I hear is, homophobic, racist, xenophobic, angry person that views themselves as a victim.

      And the conservatives that actually have opinions grounded in reality can't voice them any longer because they will either be associated with the "deplorables" and not taken seriously, or the other "conservatives" will ostracize and pummel them for not toeing to the "correct" narrative.

      So it's no wonder that many think like you do...

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

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 20 May 2020 @ 9:59pm

        Re: Re: Strange times

        And the conservatives that actually have opinions grounded in reality can't voice them any longer because they will either be associated with the "deplorables" and not taken seriously, or the other "conservatives" will ostracize and pummel them for not toeing to the "correct" narrative.

        If you choose not to speak because you're worried about how people will react, is that their fault, or yours?

        Conservatives are supposed to believe in personal responsibility.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2020 @ 9:02am

      Re: Strange times

      Yes, again … the modern left simply defines someone like, say, Bill Clinton in the 1990s as a "reasonable conservative", and anyone further to the right of him as "homophobic, racist, xenophobic, angry, bigot, hater" … makes it very easy to ban normal conservative speech and then claim "no, there's no bias against conservatives on Twitter/YouTube/etc."

      When Techdirt writers say "there's no bias against conservatives", they're deliberately lying and they know they're lying. It makes this site look vapid.

      Have the courage of your convictions, Techdirt, and admit - as some commenters here do - that there definitely is a bias against conservatives on the big websites, and you think it's a good thing.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 21 May 2020 @ 9:58am

        Re: Re: Strange times

        "When Techdirt writers say "there's no bias against conservatives", they're deliberately lying and they know they're lying. It makes this site look vapid."

        No, they just live in the real world rather than whatever hellhole you call home.

        As I often say - if your problem is that racist, white supremacist, homophobic, transphobic speech is being blocked, maybe it's not the blocking that's your min problem...

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

  • identicon
    Professor Ronny, 20 May 2020 @ 10:11am

    Liberal Bias

    We need to do something about the conservative bias at Fox News.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 20 May 2020 @ 12:25pm

      Re: Liberal Bias

      Ah but you see, that's not bias, it's just 'telling it as it is'. The fact that they are blatantly against one side is totally different than when that dastardly social media does it(in the hypothetical world they imagine).

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 21 May 2020 @ 1:32pm

    The ultimate problem with conservatism

    I assume conservatism continues to be a principle of conservatism that the society generally works okay with self-serving oligarchs and courtiers and just needs to be tweaked now and then, if not dragged back to the era of feudal lords during the middle ages. (US policy is winding its way back to constitutional monarchy.)

    In the end it still comes down to the matter that a profound number of people are miserable if not in suck in life-threatening hazardous circumstances (while we also have vast resources vaulted away or earmarked for luxuries of a few.) We've even heard from successful capitalist enterprisers now and then that to keep their position, elites need to practice more social responsibility to the societies they exploit. It's a commons that has already become an inescapable tragedy.

    And every day that the society fails to acknowledge the marginalized at their lot, and fails to act to save them (often with vast resources vaulted away or earmarked for luxuries of a few) should be regarded as nothing less than an act of betrayal. These are people who the government is sworn to serve and yet no representative actually does. That's betrayal of the people. That's treason. Granted, it's treason by the institutions that were once intended to serve the public.

    Remember that when you advocate personal responsibility for those whose circumstances preclude any kind of survival. In that case personal responsibility starts looking like sending a message by making an insufferable mess that the institutions have to clean up, so that the remaining survivors might get noticed.

    Don't let the Others come to realize they have nothing left to live for. They might come to realize they have something to die for.

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

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


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