Newsweek Publishes Facts Optional, Wronger Than Wrong, Piece About Section 230

from the that's-not-how-it-works dept

It's getting absurd to have to do this every few weeks, but the media keeps publishing blatantly wrong things about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. You would think that after the NY Times had to roll back its own ridiculous headline blaming "hate speech" on the internet on Section 230, only to have to say "oops, actually, it's the 1st Amendment," that other publications would take the time to get things straight and recognize that nearly everything they're complaining about is actually the 1st Amendment, not Section 230. Section 230 merely protects the 1st Amendment, by making it easier to get out of SLAPPish lawsuits earlier in the process.

Yet, Newsweek apparently did not take note, and agreed to publish an op-ed by a group that was set up with former Republican Congressional staffers to deliberately push FUD and nonsense about successful internet companies called the "Internet Accountability Project" (which is not accountable for its own funding). IAP has been targeting Section 230 pretty much from day one, and this Newsweek op-ed is par for the course in that nearly everything it claims is wrong, misleading, or just ridiculous. First it describes a few examples of both Facebook and Google moderating potentially dangerous misinformation campaigns about COVID-19 and claims that this is some sort of evil censorship:

For speech, in particular, the consequences of tech's growing power have become increasingly plain. In April, Facebook began removing content promoting anti-lockdown events. From ABC News to Politico, it was reported that this was being done at the behest of state governments. By the evening, Facebook clarified that it would only be removing from its platform content pertaining to groups whose activities violated governments' social distancing guidance.

In other words, Facebook is not removing protest content that is unlawful—but rather, content that goes against state government "advisories." That is, guidance without the force of law.

On YouTube, owned by Google, a video of two emergency room doctors publicly questioning the official narrative about COVID-19 reportedly had over five million views before YouTube snatched it down, stating the video "violat[ed] our Community Guidelines, including content that explicitly disputes the efficacy of local healthy [

sic] authority recommended guidance on social distancing that may lead others to act against that guidance."

Note how this is framed -- as if removing disinformation or recommendations that will likely lead to people dying due to ignoring health advice regarding COVID-19 is somehow a bad thing. Meanwhile, of course, you have people at the other end of the political spectrum insisting (also incorrectly) that these platforms leave this kind of content up because of 230. So, which is it? Does 230 lead to platforms feeling comfortable leaving up dangerous nonsense or is it responsible for platforms taking down content?

This type of private company censorship is allowed because of Sec. 230—the part of the Communications Decency Act, passed by Congress in 1996, which provides Big Tech special legal treatment.

1. A private platform moderating nonsense is not censorship. 2. It's allowed because of the 1st Amendment. 3. It provides no special legal treatment to "big tech." Literally every single thing in this is outright false. Newsweek's fact checkers apparently are on vacation.

Sec. 230 was designed to allow platforms to remove "obscene, lewd, lascivious...or otherwise objectionable" content without being sued for doing so. But with the help of the courts, that targeted immunity privilege has been stretched to include, among other things, the enforcement of government-determined narratives against speech that would otherwise be constitutionally protected if it occurred outside these platforms and away from Sec. 230.

This is a neat little attempt to rewrite the law, the legislative history, and the judicial rulings on the law all in one shot. Section 230 was designed to enable the platforms to make their own decisions with regards to moderation, without facing legal liability for those choices. And, honestly, is IAP's position that encouraging people to ignore important health information should not be seen as "otherwise objectionable"? Because that sure would be fascinating. And whether or not the speech is "constitutionally protected" is meaningless. The limitations on regulating speech apply to the government, not a private company. Indeed, a regulatory regime that required the hosting of speech would raise its own constitutional questions -- which IAP refuses to acknowledge.

"For a private company to simply delete the promotion of protests it deems unacceptable is a remarkable expansion of its power over what was once a sacrosanct and constitutionally protected freedom," wrote one commentator recently. "Through these private companies...government officials can in effect restrict speech they are obligated to protect."

Notice that they say "one commenter" but don't note that it's a college student who apparently should go back and study the Constitution some more. A platform has every right to block the promotion of protests on its own platform. There are many other places that anyone who wants to protest can publish their protests, whether those are smart and useful protests, or dangerous lunacy (as the protests in question were).

The companies and their advocates say this type of moderation is necessary to ensure free speech. But what does it mean for free speech when the major communications platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Google align themselves with the government to deem certain speech, which would otherwise be constitutionally protected, too dangerous?

It means that every platform gets to choose. Some align themselves with government reports highlighting that the promotion of not social distancing might kill thousands of people. Some align themselves with ridiculous people who think that killing people and spreading a diseases is their god-given right. That's the nature of free-enterprise. I thought Republicans used to support that kinda thing? What happened?

Rhetorically, it's an odd turn, as the antidote to bad or misleading speech is actually more speech—the robust debate and engagement that shapes ideas, rebuts other ideas and reforms narratives. This is especially true in the sciences, whose entire history is an arc composed of overturning ideas once considered "settled."

It's true that the antidote to bad or misleading speech is more speech, but it doesn't mean that every platform must host that speech. They have other places they can speak, and they can (and have) build their own spaces as well.

The most sinister thing about these decisions, however, is that when it comes to deciding what COVID-19 information we get to see, Big Tech companies have now become a de facto arm of the state.

No. They haven't. Of course, if you get rid of CDA 230, then actually they might. Because then they may face liability for not pulling down enough content -- and if someone does something preternaturally stupid, like encouraging people to gather in large numbers without face masks and without social distancing in the midst of a deadly pandemic, then, you know, a platform without CDA 230 protections might face some amount of liability for the chaos that produces.

That's part of what's so ridiculously frustrating here. If they got what they "want" it would make what they claim is the problem significantly worse. Of course, the reality is they don't actually want to get rid of Section 230. They just want to cause trouble for Google because their funders hate that they've been out innovated by internet companies.

Far from private companies merely initiating their own content moderation, these platforms are now acting as enforcement wings for government-approved information campaigns. In Facebook's case, this means removing the ability of citizens to organize in a constitutionally protected activity—an activity that is not illegal, but is merely advised against.

Again, they're not. You want to know how I know? Because all of these platforms leave up tons of content that involves these kinds of protests and gatherings. Just because they pulled down some of the most ridiculous and most dangerous -- because they don't want people to fucking die -- does not mean that they are "enforcement wings for government-approved information campaigns." And again, without 230, if someone died because they went to one of these protests, how quickly do you think Facebook would get sued because it hosted the details of the protest?

Sec. 230—the sweetheart deal that allows tech to censor content without the same consequences as, say, the newspaper industry—is, at its root, a congressionally authorized tech industry subsidy. It has allowed the industry to grow from dorm rooms and garage basements to billion-dollar omnipresent mega corporations.

Section 230 was not a sweetheart deal, and it does not apply to just tech. Newspapers rely on Section 230 too. It is not a "subsidy" it's about the correct application of liability to avoid nonsense lawsuits (also, weren't Republicans historically against frivolous lawsuits and ambulance chasing? Without 230 you'd open up a huge rush of tort cases).

And in that regard, Sec. 230 is not unlike the host of other subsidies the government provides to various industries: expensing provisions given to manufacturers, the federal assistance we provide farmers to purchase crop insurance and so forth. These industries will tell you that these provisions are vital to their survival—and they might be right. But that hasn't prevented them from being routinely debated, updated or otherwise modified.

But it's not even remotely a subsidy. It's just making it clear who has the liability. That's it. That's all it is. And, again, the 1st amendment protects the activities that this article mistakenly thinks 230 protects. All 230 does is a procedural move to help identify who should be liable for what. That's it.

If COVID-19 has proven anything about Big Tech, it is that these companies have accumulated orders of magnitude more power than politicians could have imagined just a decade ago. That power has benefited us, but it has also threatened us. An intellectually honest assessment of its ramifications is now desperately needed.

And one thing you will never get from the Internet Accountability Project is even a sliver of "an intellectually honest assessment." It is a bad faith player, funded by bad faith companies, to do bad faith things -- like publishing this utter nonsense piece of pure fiction in a mainstream publication. Newsweek should not have taken the bait.

Oh, but let me save the final nonsense for last. Right beneath this post, Newsweek is advertising medical nonsense and miracle treatments.

Of course, Newsweek isn't liable for pushing people to that medical snake oil... because of Section 230's protections. Which it has now apparently decided it's okay to get rid of. Good one, Newsweek. Good one.

Filed Under: 1st amendment, cda 230, liability, section 230
Companies: facebook, google, internet accountability project


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  • icon
    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 11:13am

    Newsweek isn't news any more

    I wish they'd change their name to "Entertainmentweek" since they're not providing actual news. Shame on them!

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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 11:33am

    Section 230 was designed to enable the platforms to make their own decisions with regards to moderation, without facing legal liability for those choices.

    Hell, the people who wrote Section 230 intended to help “family-friendly” spaces on the Internet stay that way. We now go to the actual, factual, on the Congressional record words of Republican(!) lawmaker Chris Cox, who helped craft 47 U.S.C. § 230:

    We want to encourage people like Prodigy, like CompuServe, like America Online, like the new Microsoft network, to do everything possible for us, the customer, to help us control, at the portals of our computer, at the front door of our house, what comes in and what our children see.

    [O]ur amendment will do two basic things: First, it will protect computer Good Samaritans, online service providers, anyone who provides a front end to the Internet, let us say, who takes steps to screen indecency and offensive material for their customers. It will protect them from taking on liability such as occurred in the Prodigy case in New York that they should not face for helping us and for helping us solve this problem. Second, it will establish as the policy of the United States that we do not wish to have content regulation by the Federal Government of what is on the Internet, that we do not wish to have a Federal Computer Commission with an army of bureaucrats regulating the Internet because frankly the Internet has grown up to be what it is without that kind of help from the Government. In this fashion we can encourage what is right now the most energetic technological revolution that any of us has ever witnessed. We can make it better. We can make sure that it operates more quickly to solve our problem of keeping pornography away from our kids, keeping offensive material away from our kids, and I am very excited about it.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2020 @ 11:36am

    Most media is very statist. Even in factional situation, media says "If gov want it, or my faction want it, so do I."

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2020 @ 11:40am

    Sec. 230—the sweetheart deal that allows tech to censor content without the same consequences as, say, the newspaper industry

    The newspapers equivalent to social media is letters to the editor, and those have always been heavily edited and censored by the newspapers, and with most submissions never seeing the light of day. So that whole sentence is a false equivalence.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2020 @ 3:12pm

      Re:

      The best Letters to the Editor I have read was in the National Lampoon. Hilarious.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 7:02pm

      Re:

      It seems to me that it's even better than that, because assuming for a second that the comparison is valid if they want to argue that someone being able to post but facing the potential for their posts to be taken down after the fact is heinous censorship then their practice of choosing what is and is not allowed to be 'posted' at all comes across as much worse.

      If tech platforms should face consequences for 'censoring' content then the newspapers should be facing those same consequences in vastly larger amounts.

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  • identicon
    TFG, 22 May 2020 @ 12:26pm

    I actually went and submitted a correction to Newsweek on that article (they have a link for doing so, interestinly enough), using my own words for it.

    I look forward to seeing how they ignore it.

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    • icon
      Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 23 May 2020 @ 12:12am

      Re:

      National Review ignored my correction to an article on healthcare where I stated that the NHS does not have a monopoly on healthcare; we have private provision too. Kevin Williamson ignored it, @NRO ignored it, and David French ignored it.

      Ideologues aren't interested in the truth, they only care about getting the message out.

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  • icon
    Tim R (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 12:46pm

    Okay, so let me get this straight, based on a plain reading of Section 230, the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and the fluff piece in question:

    • Section 230, it's plainest possible reading, basically says that only the speaker is liable for their speech, not where they say it
    • 1st Amendment protections only apply to the government impinging on certain rights of the people
    • Facebook, Google, et al are not government organizations or actors (Williby v Zuckerberg)
    • Facebook, Google, et al are not a public forum as defined by 1st Amendment case law, at least for now - Techdirt
    • As private entities, Facebook, Google, et al are allowed to conduct their businesses in whatever manner they see fit, provided that it does not run afoul of the law
    • In terms of moderation, whether involving user accounts, social media posts, search results, or any public facing information, Facebook, Google, et al have broken no laws defined in the US Constitution or any federal statute.
    • The only way that Facebook, Google, et al can be held "accountable" for their actions is to alter the law, or create new law, that makes their legal behavior illegal.
    • Most new tech legislation, or modifications of existing tech legislation, has serious constitutional issues and/or negative side effects. This is why we commonly refer to the editorialized law as Section 230 (one of only a few parts to survive judicial scrutiny), instead of the Communications Decency Act (the entire bill); see CFAA (fraud/abuse), CDA (morality), COPA (children), DMCA (copyright), COPPA (children), CIPA (children), FOSTA (sex trafficking)
    • Most opponents of Section 230 are individuals who can't sue because of lack of cause (Sidney Blumenthal, Sheriff Tom Dart) , companies that have difficulty competing online (IBM, Marriott, Oracle, Disney), or lawmakers stirred into a froth by either or both of them (too many to count).

    Is that it? Did I miss anything.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 12:57pm

    Coincidence I'm sure

    It's funny how to date I've yet to see a good and honest argument against 230, and instead it's just whaling away at strawmen, flat out lies and other dishonest tactics(rather like the anti-network neutrality people that regard).

    Why, it's almost enough to make you think that there are no good arguments against 230 protections and even those attacking it know it.

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  • icon
    Koby (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 1:21pm

    Note how this is framed -- as if removing disinformation or recommendations that will likely lead to people dying due to ignoring health advice regarding COVID-19 is somehow a bad thing.

    Activity that leads to death is still acceptable in most other cases. Should you drive a car? If you do, there are thousands of automobile fatalities in the U.S. every year, and you could be one of them if you get into a vehicle. Same goes with playing sports. Yet we're allowed to talk about these things. Just because an activity might lead to a small percentage of deaths is ordinarily not justification for censorship.

    Our freedom is worth more.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 1:40pm

      Moderation is not censorship and no platform has an obligation — legal, moral, or especially ethical — to host speech that presents a public health risk. If you think the law should force Twitter or Facebook to host ads for “coronavirus-killing bleach” or doctors who can “promise” a cure, you might want to reconsider that position.

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    • identicon
      TFG, 22 May 2020 @ 1:40pm

      Re:

      Your analogy doesn't actually support your statement here. See, reckless driving gets you in trouble with the law because it puts people in danger. That deaths happen anyway doesn't mean people don't try to stop it, via things like requiring training and licensing, outlawing driving while impaired, and the rules of the road that tell you how to drive.

      Similarly, the rules in place to fight the spread of COVID-19 are there to keep people safe.

      In your analogy, the things being removed aren't people saying we shouldn't drive. They are people saying "IGNORING RED LIGHTS AND DRIVING WHILE SMASHED ARE MY RIGHTS, FUCK WHOEVER I KILL WHILE DOING IT"

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 1:43pm

      Re:

      Activity that leads to death is still acceptable in most other cases.

      Yes. But acceptable and "recommended" are two different things. And frankly, I wouldn't want my own platform to be responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths.

      Should you drive a car? If you do, there are thousands of automobile fatalities in the U.S. every year, and you could be one of them if you get into a vehicle.

      True. But, if you can't see the difference between the independent risk of getting into a car accident, and the very, very, very dependent risk of a contagious pandemic spreading... well... it's not a good look.

      Same goes with playing sports.

      Again, I don't see sports injuries being contagious. And I do see platforms taking down recommendations that people engage in truly dangerous activities. So I'm not sure what point you're making.

      Just because an activity might lead to a small percentage of deaths is ordinarily not justification for censorship.

      You are not this stupid. Do not make everyone think you are.

      Our freedom is worth more.

      What "freedom" are you losing here? Take away Section 230 and you'd have a lot less ability to speak online. So I am confused what you think you're arguing for beyond "drrr... the trump people say google bad and i must agree..."

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 1:45pm

        Take away Section 230 and you'd have a lot less ability to speak online.

        …or they’d have a lot more ability to speak online, but have fewer opportunities to be heard above racist propaganda, anti-queer rhetoric, spam, and people calling for the Snyder Cut to come out sooner than it already is.

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        • icon
          Samuel Abram (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 4:14pm

          You get bonus points

          for lumping "people calling for the Snyder Cut to come out sooner than it already is" among the other deplorables. I regret that I have but one funny vote to give to that comment…

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 3:36pm

      'Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.'

      Our freedom is worth more.

      You have the freedom to earn yourself a darwin award, but when the process of doing so puts others at risk then that 'freedom' ceases to exist, and no one has an obligation to assist your attempt at a darwin award.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 11:16pm

      Re:

      "Should you drive a car?"

      "Same goes with playing sports."

      These are... really dumb comparisons. The issue with COVID is not the risk an individual is laced at, but the risk they put others in.

      Telling people to go out and cause a second wave of infections before the numbers are low enough to deal with is not like telling people to drive. It's telling people to get blind drunk and drive without seatbelts or stopping at stop signs. Which, you can hopefully understand would not be acceptable.

      "Our freedom is worth more."

      ...and the freedom of someone to not get infected by an idiot like you is worth more than your ability to go out and infect them.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 May 2020 @ 7:24am

      Re:

      Ah yes, cars, the heavily regulated, licensed, tested, and policed industry. You're just so so bad at arguments that it's hilarious.

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2020 @ 3:13pm

    "disinformation or recommendations that will likely lead to people dying due to ignoring health advice regarding COVID-19"

    What about disinformation or recommendations that will likely lead to people dying due to FOLLOWING health advice regarding COVID-19 ?

    https://www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/safety-availability-biologics/updated-information-blo od-establishments-regarding-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

    'FDA does not recommend using laboratory tests to screen asymptomatic blood donors. "


    Already the FDA has changed its advice because of its own disinformation:

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200513/06192044488/everyone-agrees-that-contact- tracing-apps-are-key-to-bringing-covid-19-under-control-iceland-has-tried-them-isnt-so-sure.shtml

    Th ere was only one search result for this FDA statement, which was on the AABB website. The FDA link did not work before.

    “Laboratory testing to screen asymptomatic blood donors is not recommended by FDA at this time because detection of SARS-CoV-2 is only seen in severely ill patients, not in asymptomatic individuals."

    Now there is still only one search result for this FDA statement, but that result is on Techdirt.

    Now the FDA website is up and running.

    https://www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/safety-availability-biologics/updated-informat ion-blood-establishments-regarding-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

    "FDA does not recommend using laboratory tests to screen asymptomatic blood donors."

    This part of the statement has been removed:

    "detection of SARS-CoV-2 is only seen in severely ill patients, not in asymptomatic individuals."

    So which is it?

    Is the virus found in the blood of asymptomatic individuals or not?

    If it is, then why wouldn't you test a blood donor for the virus before donation?

    If it is not, then why did they take that statement down?

    And why is tossing contaminated blood optional?

    http://www.aabb.org/advocacy/regulatorygovernment/Documents/COVID-19-Toolkit.pdf

    Blood establishments may wish to consider
    retrieval and quarantine of blood and blood
    components

    https://www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/safety-availability-biologics/updated- information-blood-establishments-regarding-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

    Blood establishments may wish to consider updating post-donation instructions provided to all donors of blood and blood components to ask donors to report a subsequent diagnosis of COVID-19 as soon as possible to the blood establishment. Blood establishments may wish to consider retrieval and quarantine of blood and blood components if donors report onset of fever, symptoms or a diagnosis of COVID-19 within 48 hours after their donation.


    "The blood establishment’s responsible physician must evaluate the prospective donor and determine eligibility (21 CFR 630.5). The responsible physician may want to consider the following:..."

    individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 or who are suspected of having COVID-19, and who had symptomatic disease, refrain from donating blood for at least 14 days after complete resolution of symptoms..."

    So a physician MAY of MAY NOT let a donor with a positive diagnosis donate blood, but that same physician is too stupid to give his opinion about masks and social distancing on Youtube ?

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 4:32pm

      Fuck off back to the Holy Church of the Plague, you errant Wakefieldian.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 4:33pm

      Re:

      That's one of the big problems with a new disease, as people try to figure it out what is and is not good advice can change, and then add in the problem when you've got a boss breathing down your neck with a history of going after people who might disagree with him and/or say something that contradicts him and you get a right mess.

      However, what that does show quite nicely is that it's very important for platforms to have wiggle room regarding moderation, because if they were to be penalized for pulling down the 'wrong' stuff then they'd be much more likely to keep anything and everything up, and/or pull down anything that even might be problematic 'just to be safe'.

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    icon
    tz1 (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 3:26pm

    Then they are publishers, not platforms

    The Shipper example - deliver the box without opening it to inspect it, you aren't liable. If you start picking, you better net deliver anything illegal. Yes, we need to ban anything that suggests against the WTO that Covid can be spread by human to human contact, or to wear masks since Dr. Fauci said we shoudn't do so. There are some clear lines to adult or illegal content (copyright, defamation, calls to violence). But we see AntiFa calling for throwing caustic chemical milkshakes and they aren't taken down, but some suggestion that South Dakota was right not to go to full lockdown is intolerable. If there were 100 platforms it woudn't be a problem. Fine. Let the restrictions apply only to 50%+ market monopolies like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook (and their purchased platforms).

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

    • identicon
      TFG, 22 May 2020 @ 3:43pm

      Re: Then they are publishers, not platforms

      The law makes zero distinction between published and platforms. Please try again without this long-since debunked argument.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 3:44pm

      Which wouldn't matter even if they were, but hey...

      Unless I'm thinking of someone else I'm almost dead positive that someone else(likely several) has already explained that the publisher or platform question does not matter for 230, all that matters is who posted a particular piece of content and choosing to moderate does not change that in any way, so at this point all you're doing is showing that you're not willing to engage honestly on the subject.

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

        Re: Which wouldn't matter even if they were, but hey...

        "Unless I'm thinking of someone else I'm almost dead positive that someone else(likely several) has already explained that the publisher or platform question does not matter for 230,"

        I believe Mike has explained this to this articular poster directly, but he insists on lying still.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 4:27pm

      Show me the law, statute, or “common law” court ruling that not only says the platform/publisher distinction exists vis-á-vis Section 230, but that Section 230 applies only to platforms.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 11:20pm

      Re: Then they are publishers, not platforms

      "Let the restrictions apply only to 50%+ market monopolies like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook"

      I love the way you claimed that 3 competing platforms each have over 50% of the market. It takes epic failure to fail that badly.

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  • icon
    ECA (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 3:43pm

    I WOULD LIKE...

    A few of these people to walk into a Large corp and start spouting what ever they want..
    "trespass??" yep.
    THEN tell me Why you would have a right on PRIVATE property that is NOT yours to say anything you wanted.
    (I hope they understand that City parks WERE/used to be, set up for that)

    But 90% of what gets Excised, from the net tends to be Bogus, crap, BS, and just Derogatory F'use(get it? effuse)

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2020 @ 7:30pm

    Literally every single thing in this is outright false. Newsweek's fact checkers apparently are on vacation.

    Mike, mike, calm down. Take a deep breath. You missed the fact that there WAS one thing in the statement that was true:

    Sec. 230—[...] part of the Communications Decency Act, [which was] passed by Congress in 1996

    See? Those blind squirrels they hired for fact checkers have to have some place to keep the nuts. Too bad it was the reporting desk.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2020 @ 10:06pm

    Treatments

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/therapeutic-options.html

    There are no drugs to treat COVID-19.

    https://www.cdc.gov/parainfluenza/about/prevention-treatment.html

    There is no specific antiviral treatment for HPIV illness.

    https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/treatment.htm

    There is no cure for herpes.

    https://www.cdc.gov/smallpox/clinicians/treatment.html

    There is no proven treatment for smallpox disease.

    https://www.cdc.gov/rubella/about/treatment.html

    There is no specific medicine to treat rubella.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_John_F._Kennedy

    Oswald acted entirely alone, and Ruby had acted alone in killing Oswald.

    .

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

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 11:26pm

    "I thought Republicans used to support that kinda thing? What happened?"

    In my experience, they support one thing and one thing only - anything that benefits them. If think that they stand to profit, they will support the opposite of what their claimed position is.

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

  • icon
    btr1701 (profile), 17 Jun 2020 @ 11:41am

    Note how this is framed -- as if removing disinformation or recommendations that will likely lead to people dying due to ignoring health advice regarding COVID-19 is somehow a bad thing.

    Fast-forward several weeks and suddenly Facebook isn't concerned at all about removing protest information anymore, even though the Floyd protests are 1000 times the disease-spreading vectors that the anti-lockdown protests were.

    The difference? Facebook likes the Floyd protests. They're woke and righteous, so they get to stay up despite being much more dangerous to public health than the anti-lockdown protests were.

    Facebook can legally do this, of course, but stop pretending they don't have a bias and that their censorship of the lockdown protest info was all based on a genuine concern for public health. 'Cause that's a lie.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 18 Jun 2020 @ 3:19am

      Re:

      Meh, stop with the martyr complex.

      Protests against the lockdown were largely based on ignorance, the spread of which risked lives. They were telling people not to wear masks, not to obey social distancing and their stated aim was to get other people to get back to work to service them before it was safe to do so.

      The current protests seem to have a lot of people obeying those rules as much as possible, and is for a far higher cause than getting a hair cut. Also there's a lot more people involved in them than there were in the idiot one.

      You can whine about bias all you want, but from where I sit it's a simple case of not supporting dangerous misinformation in one case and not having to fight against it in another. I say that as someone in an economy that is successfully opening up without having had idiots demand the right to infect others.

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

      • icon
        btr1701 (profile), 18 Jun 2020 @ 3:29pm

        Re: Re:

        people obeying those rules as much as possible

        3000 people jammed into Hollywood & Highland, both masked and unmasked, is by definition, not obeying the rules at all.

        Or L.A. Mayor Garcetti, whose authoritarian streak seems to have completely evaporated. Three weeks ago, he was johnny-on-the-spot to send in the cops to arrest a dad for playing softball with his six-year-old daughter, or a guy for paddle-boarding in the ocean, or to shut down a church that was daring to engage in worship. This is a guy who acted like a few people sunning themselves on a wide-open beach was the equivalent of a WMD. Now, when half his city is smashed, looted, and burned, and thousands of disease vectors are smashed shoulder-to-shoulder in the streets, he muzzles the cops and says restraint is the word of the day.

        Garcetti knelt and exchanged hugs with hundreds of protesters-- most unmasked-- after outlawing church congregations from praying together, even outdoors and/or inside their cars. The media says nothing about it other than to rhapsodize over how 'moving' it was. We now conclusively know that the government and media hysterics of the past three months were a giant sham.

        The media were calling a couple hundred people protesting on the strand in Huntington Beach "terrorists" and the CA nurses association said they were "grandma killers".

        No one in the media called the Floyd crowds terrorists-- despite a not insignificant number of them actually terrorizing people. And the nurses association? Were they appalled at all the grandma-killers flooding the streets? Nope. They cheered them on and endorsed them.

        Apparently grandma isn't as important as we were led to believe.

        and is for a far higher cause

        'Cause a virus knows how righteous and woke you are.

        Also there's a lot more people involved in them than there were in the idiot one.

        Which is exactly why they were far more dangerous to public health.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 19 Jun 2020 @ 6:22am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You clearly have specific incidents in mind, which I can't really speak to. What I'm saying is that from where I am, there are massive fundamental differences between the protests that can be dealt with without diving into partisan both sides bullshit.

          "No one in the media called the Floyd crowds terrorists"

          The orange idiot did.

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


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