Ron Wyden Explains Why President Trump (And Many Others) Are Totally Wrong About Section 230

from the not-how-it-works-guys dept

A few years back, at a Santa Clara University event about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, I remember (then) 9th Circuit chief judge Alex Kozinski noting with some amount of pleasure that he was relieved to hear from one of the two authors of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (former Rep. Chris Cox, who was in attendance at the event) that his opinions on 230 were exactly what Cox intended. Paraphrasing (just slightly) Kozinski's comments, he noted that having the author of the bill that he needed to interpret comment on that interpretation was the equivalent of having God come down from Heaven to tell biblical scholars whether or not they had gotten things right.

And, as so many people seem to want to debate Section 230, often with blatantly incorrect explanations of what the law is intended to do, it's important to remember that the two co-authors of 230 are both still around and happy to talk about it. A few years ago, Cox filed an amicus brief explaining the intent behind 230 (tragically, in that case, the court decided to mostly ignore Cox's point).

And, of course, Ron Wyden is now a Senator (at the time of 230 he was in the House) and he's now written quite the op-ed for CNN about how wrong the President and many of the President's fans are about the point of Section 230. A key point is that contrary to what many claim, 230 itself creates incentives for free speech in removing much of the liability sites might otherwise have for hosting contested speech.

Without Section 230, sites would have strong incentives to go one of two ways: either sharply limit what users can post, so as to avoid being sued, or to stop moderating entirely, something like 8chan — now operating under the name 8kun — where anonymous users can post just about anything and speech supporting racism and sexism is common.

I think we would be vastly worse off in either scenario. Just look at Black Lives Matter and the protests against police violence over the past week as an example. The cellphone video that captured the officer kneeling on George Floyd's neck spread across social media platforms — and it's the reason Americans learned about his unjust killing in the first place. So many of these cases of unconscionable use of force against black Americans have come to light as a result of videos posted to social media.

In a world without 230, I cannot imagine that Facebook or Twitter would allow posts about police violence that could possibly be defamatory. These horrible injustices would never get the public attention they deserve. And accountability would be even less likely.

And then, of course, there's the flipside. This weird belief by many, including the President, that sites shouldn't be able to moderate content in a way that they dislike. But that would do damage to internet speech as well, though in a different way:

Now what it seems Trump would like is the other scenario — for platforms to be "neutral." Let's not kid ourselves. Trump's attempt to abolish Section 230 is essentially a way of bullying social media companies so that he may post what he wants without any challenge.

And so without 230, I think that a lot of sites would choose not to moderate at all, and thus avoid responsibility for anything their users post. It goes without saying that there would be a lot more false, dangerous content out there, from revenge porn to posts supporting white supremacy. The internet would become the cesspool that anti-230 activists claim it is today.

But the key point that Wyden makes is at the end of the post: President Trump doesn't need Section 230. If websites block him, he has no shortage of ways to get his message out there. Indeed, the press seems to fall over itself to over cover his every nonsensical statement. The real problem is how it would silence so many other people.

If Twitter banned Trump tomorrow, he wouldn't have any trouble spreading his message to every corner of the world.

But without 230, the people without power — people leading movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter — would find it far harder to challenge the big corporations and powerful institutions. Without 230, I believe that not a single #MeToo post would have been allowed on moderated sites.

As Wyden notes, a world without 230 is one in which the speech police rule, and controversial statements, especially from those outside the halls of power, get suppressed and stymied.

For the President and his supporters to insist that we need to get rid of Section 230 to encourage more speech is exactly wrong. And thankfully we have people who truly know the point of the law to explain it to him. The question is whether or not anyone will listen.

Filed Under: cda 230, ron wyden, section 230


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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 8:57am

    Bad example in a good explanation

    I just wish Senator Wyden had use a different example than #MeToo as there are many examples of facts optional rhetoric within that group. There is probably some truth as well, but it is difficult to discern without actual evidence.

    For me, §230 is about bringing truth to the surface despite the volume or multitude of falsehoods, without liability for the platforms from those who don't like the discourse. The cure for bad speech is more speech, but using an example of a group that uses bad speech as a standard to support their position doesn't make the case as well as another example might.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 9:44am

      §230 is about bringing truth to the surface

      Your moral stance, while laudable, is ultimately irrelevant. The people who wrote 47 U.S.C. § 230 made clear (in actual, on-the-record Congressional testimony, no less!) that the purpose of Section 230 was to allow legal moderation of speech for practically any reason. The people who own Gab, for example, can legally moderate pro–Black Lives Matter speech off their service because such speech is an uncomfortable truth to them.

      Yes, we should strive for truth. Yes, we should strive for better, possibly more personally considerate speech (and radical forgiveness for those who fail at using it…at first). But don’t kid yourself into thinking Section 230 is about the righteous moral search for truth, justice, and all that other stuff. 230 is about the legal right to moderate speech on an interactive computer service — nothing more or less.

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      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 10:19am

        Re:

        Well put. But without §230 other platforms could be sued out of existence if they don't comport to the will of the unduly passionate. Without §230 the truth might be quashed. Yes some platform might decide to moderate actual truth for their version, but others will allow it, or for that matter disallow the reverse.

        Without §230 there would be unending lawsuits where each side declaims the other for real or imagined defamation. Not that we don't have that now, to some extent, but §230 allows platforms to escape with minimal (though very expensive) harm.

        §230 removes the platforms liability so that their users can speak and the platform can set standards for the speech as they wish. The detractors for §230 wish to control speech they don't like, including the truth, whether they control the platform or not. Therefore the truth is saved, with the aid of §230.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 10:18am

      Re: Bad example in a good explanation

      For me, §230 is about bringing truth to the surface despite the volume or multitude of falsehoods,

      No, its about allowing a site moderate as they see fit, and not as you see fit. Don't like their moderation, go elsewhere.

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  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 12 Jun 2020 @ 9:52am

    Maybe Instagram/Facebook/etc can demonstrate for a day or a few hours what their systems would be like without 230.

    Lock all the accounts.

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  • icon
    Celyxise (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 10:13am

    The idea that BLM and other would be hampered without section 230 is what I expect the whole appeal of dismantling it is. Trump-era conservatives are totally fine with chilled speech, as long as it's speech they disagree with.

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    icon
    Koby (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 10:13am

    For the President and his supporters to insist that we need to get rid of Section 230 to encourage more speech is exactly wrong.

    I am confident that if the corporate employees of social media platforms were (ab)using their moderation abilities to actively supress meetoo and BLM, that it would be the left wing of the nation which would be calling for section 230 reform. (And rightfully so!)

    I think we know the intent of section 230. However, there are unforeseen consequences of allowing interactive computer services to act as both a platform and a publisher simultaneously, and while enjoying certain legal immunities. Identifying a problem and wanting reform doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the law's intent.

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    • identicon
      teka, 12 Jun 2020 @ 10:21am

      Re:

      It's like he didn't even read anything, just looked at the sets of squiggly lines until recognizing "230" tripped a reflex that vomited up the greasy old "sooo oppressed" and the "platform/publisher" memes through the keyboard..

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 10:54am

      Re:

      that it would be the left wing of the nation which would be calling for section 230 reform. (And rightfully so!)

      They would make such complaints (and already have in regards to eg sex work), but not "rightfully so"...

      However, there are unforeseen consequences of allowing interactive computer services to act as both a platform and a publisher simultaneously

      Entities whose main activity is publishing maintain such immunities (see this comment section), and entities whose main activity is not publishing maintain such immunities. So what "publishing" activity are you complaining about exactly, and what are the consequences?

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 10:54am

      Re:

      However, there are unforeseen consequences of allowing interactive computer services to act as both a platform and a publisher simultaneously, and while enjoying certain legal immunities.

      How many times are you going to repeat this myth, despite every time you do so everyone explaining to you why you're wrong?

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        icon
        Koby (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 11:03am

        Re: Re:

        How many times are you going to repeat this myth, despite every time you do so everyone explaining to you why you're wrong?

        It is truth, not myth. Social media corporations create a platform, at first with the promise of free speech for everyone. Then they begin censoring viewpoints with which they disagree. By publishing only the agreement, the platforms become a defacto publisher. The corporation most certainly endorses a viewpoint.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 11:37am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If you are having difficulties finding somewhere to express your views, the problem is that your views are not popular, and platforms do not want you driving their users away,

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        • icon
          Toom1275 (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 11:39am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Nope.

          The "moderation creates speech the platform becomes liable for" lie didn't dupe the judge when Pustule Nickleback McHitler tried it.

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

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

          And the "promise of free speech but also moderates" lie failed in court in Prager Uwu v Youtube:

          Shifting gears slightly, PragerU posits that a private entity can be converted into a public forum if its property is opened up for public discourse. This theory finds no support in our precedent. As the Supreme Court has explained, to create a public forum, the government must intentionally open up the property to public discourse.... That YouTube is not owned, leased, or otherwise controlled by the government undermines PragerU’s public forum theory

          PragerU’s attempt to foist a “public forum” label on YouTube by claiming that YouTube declared itself a public forum also fails. YouTube’s representation that it is committed to freedom of expression, or a single statement made by its executive before a congressional committee that she considers YouTube to be a “neutral public fora,” cannot somehow convert private property into a public forum. Whether a property is a public forum is not a matter of election by a private entity. We decline to subscribe to PragerU’s novel opt-in theory of the First Amendment.

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            icon
            Koby (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:24pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The "moderation creates speech the platform becomes liable for" lie didn't dupe the judge when Pustule Nickleback McHitler tried it.

            There's no duping involved. Section 230 gives the platforms immunity because that's the law. But the platform is nonetheless acting as a publisher. Being immune to liability does not mean they cannot behave as such. And those who want 230 reform are very much concerned about this behavior.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:33pm

              But the platform is nonetheless acting as a publisher. Being immune to liability does not mean they cannot behave as such.

              Actually, it does. A site like Twitter is only liable for speech it creates. If a Twitter admin had a hand in helping someone craft a defamatory tweet, Twitter is on the hook for that shit — but if someone made the tweet with no prior knowledge from anyone at Twitter, even if you want to argue that Twitter is the “publisher” of that tweet, the site remains immune from legal liability because of a lack of foreknowledge.

              I get that you’re upset that the government can’t force Twitter to host White supremacists and their propaganda, but that’s no reason to get your shit wrong every goddamn time you post about 230.

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                icon
                Koby (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:55pm

                Re:

                I guess you are unable to view anything outside of a legal liability. That a corporation is involved in publishing, but is immune from the consequences, you seem unable to grasp that both can be true at the same time.

                As for your slanderous comments about my motivation regarding hosting, yours is false, and I desire to keep power and editorial control out of the hands of corporations. I could give 2 cents about white supremacists. Your desire to demonize others merely for disagreeing with you is a hateful path to take in life.

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                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 1:03pm

                  That a corporation is involved in publishing, but is immune from the consequences, you seem unable to grasp that both can be true at the same time.

                  Twitter isn’t immune from liability for any speech Twitter itself publishes. It is immune from liability for any speech anyone else publishes through Twitter. I get that you’re being intentionally ignorant on this issue, but even you have to understand that point by now.

                  As for your slanderous comments about my motivation regarding hosting, yours is false,

                  You have two options, then:

                  1. Answer the question I posed to you with a simple yes-or-no and clear all this up right now.

                  2. Sue me into oblivion.

                  Good luck.

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                • icon
                  bhull242 (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 1:04pm

                  Re: Re:

                  The fact you called those comments slanderous only demonstrates that you don’t know what words mean.

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                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 1:09pm

                    You’ll have to forgive him. His entire role here in the comments is “intentionally ignorant troll”, and although we’d likely prefer he stop that, his identity here demands that he continue.

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                • identicon
                  TFG, 12 Jun 2020 @ 3:09pm

                  Re: Re:

                  Koby:

                  If you put up a bulletin board on your front lawn, for everyone to see and use, do you believe you should be held liable for someone you don't know putting up damned lies about your neighbor?

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                  • icon
                    That One Guy (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 3:41pm

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    Expanding upon that idea, if for whatever reason that board becomes used by so many people in the area that some people start calling it 'the public square' as the way to communicate with others should the government be able to demand that you(Koby) allow posts that you would really rather not have on your property?

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                    • icon
                      Toom1275 (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 3:50pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      A building owner does not become guilty of burglary on the property just because they put up a fence.

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                    • icon
                      Toom1275 (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 3:53pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      The courts say no:

                      Shifting gears slightly, PragerU posits that a private entity can be converted into a public forum if its property is opened up for public discourse. This theory finds no support in our precedent. As the Supreme Court has explained, to create a public forum, the government must intentionally open up the property to public discourse.... That YouTube is not owned, leased, or otherwise controlled by the government undermines PragerU’s public forum theory

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                    • icon
                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 3:46am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "...should the government be able to demand that you(Koby) allow posts that you would really rather not have on your property?"

                      Koby has indeed delivered all the arguments that sufficient popularity should mandate the nationalization of private property. Every time we inform him that this is what his logic unavoidably means he either backs off or pretends we said something completely different, only to come back with the exact same argument a few comments down in the thread, or the next one where section 230 is discussed.

                      It's pretty obvious "Koby" has a vested interest in seeing section 230 gone, or why else would he keep up the by now incredibly obvious astroturf rhetoric?

                      There are, sadly, too many obvious stakeholders when it comes to effectively rendering US-based interactive social platforms inoperable - from Putin to the MPAA - for us to guess for whom Koby keeps pushing that disingenious rhetoric.

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                • icon
                  That One Guy (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 3:35pm

                  Re: Re:

                  As for your slanderous comments about my motivation regarding hosting, yours is false

                  You were asked a very simple question multiple times, and rather than answer it you twisted yourself in knots convoluted enough to make a contortionist proud.

                  If you don't want people to come to 'incorrect' conclusions as to your position then all you have to do is make clear what your position is, because until you do that then people are naturally going to judge you based upon what you say and refuse to say, and that's entirely on you.

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        • identicon
          Rocky, 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:03pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Social media corporations create a platform, at first with the promise of free speech for everyone.

          Which social media corporation has promised free speech for everyone on their platform? To make it simpler for you, you only have to name one.

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          • icon
            Miles (profile), 13 Jun 2020 @ 12:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Maybe 4chan. Maybe 8chan. Maybe Gab. But I'm not wading into those cesspools to try and answer that question.

            230 allows those cesspools to exist along side Twitter, Facebook and this site.So Koby, go to Gab since you clearly enjoy that sort of thing and leave us alone.

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            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 13 Jun 2020 @ 12:31pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Oh they've already been presented with that challenge, and hypocritically decided that they would rather not subject themselves to what they would subject everyone else to.

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              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 3:49am

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

                I think it's pretty obvious by now that Koby has little to no interest in actual free speech. What he wants and keeps trying to push for is a situation where the internet goes right back to being the playground of enthusiasts and trolls rather than an interactive channel usable by the population as a whole.

                Why he'd want that is another story, but I'm guessing he's being paid decent money to keep presenting the marketing material while deflecting all the questions around the consequences of his logic.

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                • icon
                  That One Guy (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 12:29pm

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

                  Why he'd want that is another story, but I'm guessing he's being paid decent money to keep presenting the marketing material while deflecting all the questions around the consequences of his logic.

                  Based upon a previous comment where they mentioned how platforms should be 'politically neutral' or some such while it's possible they're being paid to throw out garbage arguments that have repeatedly been shot down it could be as simple as 'Social media keeps kicking me/those that I agree with off for totally unjustified reasons, the government should make them stop that.'

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        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:08pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The thing is that that has nothing to do with the CDA. What you have a problem with is the promise of free speech and them not fulfilling that promise (in your view at least). That’s an issue involving contract and deceptive-advertising laws vs the 1st Amendment. Even excluding CDA §230, judges have explicitly ruled that there’s no cause of action there as a matter of law.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:34pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          1. No,you're still packed with bullshit and leaking.
          2. It doesn't matter what they choose to curate or moderate in the first place, it's perfectly fine.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:35pm

          It is truth, not myth.

          Back up your myth with actual facts instead of your ignorant interpretation of a law that practically everyone else who comments here regularly understands. Until you can do that, your assertion means nothing.

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        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 4:34pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          It is truth, not myth

          You can repeat lies many times over. It does not make them true. At best, you are making it clear that you are a useful idiot.

          Social media corporations create a platform, at first with the promise of free speech for everyone.

          This is false. Every social media platform has always had something in their terms saying that they reserve the right to remove you or your content for whatever reason. Every social media platform has always had a legal obligation to remove certain content. Every social media platform has always moved to remove spam and abusive content. You're simply making shit up to fit your false narrative. Stop it.

          Then they begin censoring viewpoints with which they disagree.

          This is false on multiple levels. First, there remains NO EVIDENCE that they are censoring viewpoints they disagree with. There is plenty of evidence that they have ramped up their efforts to stop abuse, harassment and misinformation. The fact that you appear to populate a bubble where that happens a lot is not viewpoint discrimination. It's that you hang out with ignorant fools. You should stop that or people might conclude that you are one too.

          Second, it's false in that you continue to assume that these platforms have some obligation to host all viewpoints. They do not. So even if they were limiting certain viewpoints (which, again, the evidence does not show), that would not matter, NOR COULD IT MATTER under the 1st Amendment.

          By publishing only the agreement

          Oh fuck off. You can go on any social media platform and find just about any viewpoint you want and tons of disagreement with it. Now I'm really beginning to think you're not just uninformed, but you're deliberately making shit up.

          the platforms become a defacto publisher

          First of all, if it were true that they were only showing one side (which again, they are not), that wouldn't make them a defacto publisher. It would still be an interactive computer service that moderates away certain content. Second, even if it did make them "the publisher" so fucking what? What they're publishing is still protected by the 1st Amendment.

          The corporation most certainly endorses a viewpoint.

          Again, all of your assumptions are wrong, as is your conclusion. What would be illegal about having a viewpoint. Think carefully Koby. Think carefully. If you can.

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    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 11:09am

      Re:

      I believe that those weren’t exactly unintended consequences. Indeed, the whole point was that different sites can enforce different rules as they see fit without fear of liability for doing so, especially liability for the speech that they didn’t create themselves or for removing what they consider objectionable speech.

      IOW, your problem isn’t with unintended consequences but the law working as intended and expected or with things that either have nothing to do with §230 or don’t actually happen. That you don’t personally like those consequences (or believe without nonanecdotal evidence that they occur) doesn’t make them unintended consequences. Basically, what you see as a problem we don’t see as one.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:29pm

      I think we know the intent of section 230.

      Yes, we do. You don’t, but we do. For your education (which you sorely need on this issue), 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.

      Also, as an FYI: 230 says nothing about the platform/publisher dichotomy, so stop acting like that’s a “gotcha” when it isn’t.

      Then again, why the bloody hell are we even listening to you on this subject anyway? You’re the one who heavily implied without outright saying (because you’re an ignorant coward who refused to answer a simple yes-or-no question) that you’d be more than happy to let the government force you into hosting White supremacist propaganda on a platform you own, even if you didn’t really want to host/be associated with that speech in the first place.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 10:49am

    Section 230 is about allowing any website to Moderate as to they wish as to what content they want to block or remove , without fear of legal threats or the ability to remove harmful content. Which might include spam, fake news, conspiracy theory's, racist or violent content. If its gone or limited it will be a great blow to freedom of speech
    especially to minority groups who represent black and Latino minoritys , it. ll make it harder to expose
    injustice and maltreatment of blacks by police
    as we have seen in the last few weeks with the posting of videos of police brutality towards protestors and attacks on journalists covering
    the Blm protests

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  • icon
    ECA (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:08pm

    What if'

    What could happen if it was removed?
    Lets see how deep/stupid we cold get..
    A person makes a comment.
    The site, it appeared on, has to defend it/it self, probably remove it.
    But, couldnt the site Blame the ISP? That gave Access to the internet? For Both parties? The one who wrote it and the one who didnnt like reading it.

    So, then we come to PRIVATE sites. Where you get Vetted, and sign a contract, before you can even TRY to see whats inside. Cant they do that already?
    Why Lock up communication unless you dont want OTHERS to read your BS. Politicians have learned 1 BIG thing. Written words can Lock you into a position, Its a contract. Where a Verbal contract is very hard to debate, unless you have 2-3 witnesses..

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  • identicon
    bobob, 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:51pm

    What I would like to know is, how the fuck does one decide if a platform is "neutral?" Who gets to be the arbiter? Is there some sort of standard that would provide a definition of "neutral" that everyone would agree with because it's so obvious? How about at least 50% of those with an opinion?

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:54pm

      Re:

      I would say that 'must allow all viewpoints to be posted' could be one way to qualify as 'neutral', but as several stories have shown those pushing to gut 230 have no problem removing speech they don't like, so it would probably boil down to 'hosts our speech and/or speech we agree with, and to hell with anything else'.

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

      • identicon
        bobob, 12 Jun 2020 @ 1:03pm

        Re: Re:

        Yup and god forbid anyone post something that offends evangelicals or denigrates whatever deity one worships and insists that death is the only remedy for sacrilege. I'm pretty sure that religious nuts would have a lot of difficulty understanding how anyone could oppose forbidding such speech.

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

      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 3:58pm

        Re: Re:

        It's like those pushing for "every place must be forced to allow everything" pretend, against all evidence to the contrary, that the free market of ideas isn't being protected by 230's "Anyone can make their own space for their own opinions without being censored."

        They want to put their fingers on the market scales, to have the government pick winners and losers, rather than acknowledge that their bullying and bigotry aren't mainstream civilized society.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2020 @ 6:12am

      Re:

      "Neutral" means "take some particular population segment's ideology, opinions, and made-up shit and treat that equal to facts". This is what it really means.

      What it really, really means is everyone else shut up and defer to the authority of authoritarians who make blah-blah noises about freedom of various sorts in which the do not really believe.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:51pm

    'Sorry, when are you going to bring up a negatives?'

    But without 230, the people without power — people leading movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter — would find it far harder to challenge the big corporations and powerful institutions. Without 230, I believe that not a single #MeToo post would have been allowed on moderated sites.

    I have little doubt that that, along with the ability to post even on sites that don't want them, is/would be seen as a feature, not a bug. Can't have the peons causing 'social unrest' by speaking up against their betters after all.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 2:09pm

      Can't have the peons causing 'social unrest' by speaking up against their betters after all.

      See also: Donald Trump, who earlier today referred to the ongoing protests against police brutality as “riots” and “unnecessary”.

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


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